UN forum examines role partnerships play in tackling global migration challenge

26 March 2018

Partnerships at local, national, regional and international levels are crucial to ensuring global migration is better managed, the United Nations migration agency chief said Monday in New York.

“Partnerships must include all stakeholders: Government, international organizations and civil society,” William Lacy Swing, Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM), told the International Dialogue on Migration, a two-day forum that is part the year-long UN-led effort to craft a Global Compact to cover all dimensions of international migration.  

“Partnerships are not just about working together but about working together to find new and creative ways of conducting our migration business,” he added.

Partnership and cooperation are cornerstones of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 17 calls for the revitalization and enhancement of the global partnership for sustainable development in all areas, including migration.

Moreover, the Secretary-General’s recent migration report states that “Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time.”

The central importance of partnerships on migration was a key takeaway from the stock-taking meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in December 2017 and one of the key messages of last year’s International Dialogue on Migration.

Calling “partnership” a key word in migration, Mr. Swing emphasized, “No single government, international organization or civil society stakeholder can expect to reap migrations benefits or address its challenges by going it alone.”

“The focus right now is on global cooperation,” he continued. “The Global Compact for Migration is a project that deserves close, concerted action from the international community as a whole; not just to conclude negotiations but, beyond that stage, to ensure successful review implementation and follow up.”

Migration needs to recognize the obligations and commitments of all actors in the field of international migration.

Henrietta Holsman Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), spoke of the challenges facing the world today in supporting people “to move safely and by choice, to help them to make the most of the opportunities and support available to them – especially children and young people.”

Pointing out that “no group of migrants is more at risk,” she elaborated that there are more than million children on the move – more than of half of whom have been driven from their homes by conflict.”

“No single State or Organization can manage migration alone,” she said, stressing the need for everyone to lend “their resources, energies and ideas.”

For his part, Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), called for fair recruitment, skills development, social protection, decent work and respect for labour rights.

“Migration is about work,” he said, emphasizing his office’s mandate “to protect those who are working in countries that are not their own.”

Also speaking, Louise Arbour, Special Representative for International Migration, made clear that in the lead up to the UN’s 2018 International Migration Conference in Morocco later this year, the world’s “collective focus should remain firmly fixed on how to address the daily realities of migrants and their communities of origin and destination.”

Ms. Arbour believes that for safe, orderly migration to succeed, policies must be enacted – based on an sound appreciation of the complex interplay of demographic and economic factors.

“This is a very tall order,” she acknowledged. “Bureaucrats can make the rational arguments. Demagogues can make the publicly appealing ones. Only great political leaders can make both.”

Mr. Swing assured that IOM would strive to expand existing partnerships and build new ones and that “migrants social, economic and health needs are properly addressed, with the collaboration of all relevant actors.” 

“Together, we can achieve our common purpose of reaping the benefits of migration for migrants, and destination and origin societies,” he concluded.

 

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