Inter-agency perspectives on migration and development
The 2013 High-level Dialogue offers a timely opportunity to take stock of the mandates and work of the United Nations and its partners in the migration (and development) field since the first HLD. It also marks an important occasion to discuss how migration may be integrated into the post-2015 United Nations development agenda.
To prepare their proposed recommendations and outcomes on migration for the 2013 HLD, as requested by the CEB, the relevant international entities were asked to complete a questionnaire covering the following areas:
(a) Their activities to promote the development aspects of international migration, undertaken since the 2006 HLD;
(b) The support they provided to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD);
(c) Good practices identified in the organizations’ respective fields;
(d) Challenges in carrying out their work;
(e) Perceived gaps in the field of migration and development;
(f) Recommendations for the 2013 HLD.
The summary of responses to the questionnaire formed the basis of the recommendations and outcomes on migration submitted to the CEB in early 2013 in preparation for the HLD. In their more detailed form, the agency responses provided the substance for the chapters in this book, which are structured in line with the areas surveyed, as listed above.
In their responses to the questionnaire, the contributing agencies pointed to the urgency of concerted action by all stakeholders in a world where migration and development interconnect in complex, ever-widening and evolving ways. As policymakers increasingly understand and seek to strengthen these connections, they are looking to factor migration into other areas of public policy relevant to development. This, in turn, requires better coordinated support from the United Nations and related international entities with relevant mandates in these areas.
In the “Recommendations and Outcomes” paper, the agencies represented in this book agreed on the following key elements for improved policies and practices at the international, regional and local levels to enhance the development outcomes of migration for migrants and societies:5
(a) Facilitating orderly and safe mobility, recognizing that greater mobility is inevitable and indeed necessary in the twenty-first century;
(b) Aspiring to make migration a genuine choice, instead of a desperate necessity;
(c) Prioritizing the protection of migrants and their human rights – including labour rights; access to asylum, health and decent work; considerations of social protection and well-being; and the rights of all children in the context of migration – in rights-based and gender-sensitive policies and practices;
(d) Focusing on the human development potential of migration, including the potential to improve the lives of individuals and families, as well as migration’s contribution to the economic growth and development of countries;
(e) Addressing public perceptions of migrants and migration to counter anti-migrant sentiment, xenophobia and discrimination, and raise awareness of migrants’ overwhelmingly positive contributions to societies of origin and destination;
(f) Recognizing that forced and voluntary forms of migration are not always easily distinguishable, and ensuring protection and assistance for the most vulnerable;
(g) Committing to cooperation with all partners involved in and affected by migration, while recognizing the sovereign prerogative of States to determine the entry into and stay of non-nationals on their territories, within the limits set by States’ international legal obligations;
(h) Finding balanced measures to combat harmful forms and effects of migration, including cross-border trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, while protecting human rights.
This ad hoc collaboration among 28 entities in formulating a common set of recommendations and outcomes on migration for the 2013 HLD marked a new stage in the evolution of a more coherent and broad-based framework for dialogue and cooperation on migration, which started with the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).
5 These key elements were cited verbatim from the Executive Summary of the proposed Recommendations and Outcomes for the 2013 UN General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, considered and endorsed by the CEB at its first regular session for 2013 on 5 April 2013.