A United Nations-supported meeting opening today in Bangkok is closely looking at the impact of migration in Asia and the Pacific – where the number of international migrants has skyrocketed from 28 million to 53 million in just under half a century – on socio-economic development in the region.
Dozens of government officials from over 20 countries and representatives from international organizations have gathered at the two-day event, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), along with the Thai Government and the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
“In Asia and the Pacific, the issue of international migration is emerging as a priority,” ESCAP Deputy Executive Director Shigeru Mochida said at the start of the meeting. “It is vital to understand the complex inter-linkages of migration and development in the regional context, especially how migration can contribute to poverty reduction.”
He noted that migration in the region is propelled by both real and perceived inequalities in employment opportunity, income, education and health services, and the situation has further been influenced by the growing imbalance of population size and structure among countries.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to over 53 million international migrants and is one of the largest recipients of recorded remittances, totalling over $120 million in 2007.
Philip Guest, Assistant Director of DESA’s Population Division, said that labour migration is “closely linked to economic and social outcomes and crucial questions about those links remain to be addressed or revisited.”