Delegates discussing the question of globalization and interdependence in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today called for a better understanding of migration issues, amid fears expressed by some that unjustified restrictions on the movement of migrants could jeopardize the future of countries that depended heavily on overseas employment.
The representative of Bangladesh pointed out the subtle differences in the types of people who moved from one country to another, noting that some, like the traditional migrants of the past, left their countries of origin permanently in search of a better life elsewhere. But others, like 10 per cent of Bangladeshis, were simply reacting to the force of supply and demand, moving overseas in search of jobs, rather than to “migrate” in the old-fashioned sense. “Very quietly, many developed and developing countries have created elaborate structures, under bilateral agreements, for meeting the short-term demand for labour. We must find a more transparent, inclusive and structured approach,” he added.
Pointing out that demographic changes in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had dramatically increased the burden on younger groups to support the rest of the population, he noted also that given the falling populations in most labour-sending countries, the world could expect the unusual scenario of demand chasing scarce supply in the next few decades. The Global Commission on International Migration had failed last year to deal with the reality that the movement of peoples was no longer just a North-South issue, since South-South movements had also become much more important.
Ghana’s delegate noted that, despite the fact that people had always moved from place to place, not much thought had been given to that phenomenon. Until the recent General Assembly High-level Dialogue on Migration and Development, most discussions about migration had focused on smugglers and traffickers in human beings. More evidence-based migration policies were needed to counter the tendency towards sensationalism. The world must understand that increasing migration was the result of growing connectivity in the world, which was fuelled by improved communications and the declining cost of transportation. Ironically, increased migration was taking place amid restrictions on the flow of goods, services and capital.
Indeed, during their day-long discussion, speakers wrestled with the question of whether or not to create a special forum to discuss the sensitive issues of border control, illegal trafficking of persons, the rights of migrants and remittances. A senior official in the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs recalled, while introducing a report of the Secretary-General, that nearly all participants in September’s High-level Dialogue had expressed a wish to continue some form of international dialogue, and noted that Belgium had offered to host a follow-up meeting in 2007.
The representative of the United States, however, questioned whether such a forum would result in any practical outcome, hinting that it might be wasteful or counter-productive to the good work carried out at the regional level. Member States should focus instead on improving already existing forums, such as the International Organization for Migration, established more than 50 years ago. The United States would continue working with that agency and others to protect and assist migrants. It would also work with other States to punish smugglers and traffickers. The United Nations had an excellent capacity to address migration issues.
Colombia’s representative emphasized the regional approach, noting that her country had taken part in a South American regional consultation process where participants had agreed to fight the illicit smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and other related crimes in the spirit of shared responsibility. Brazil’s delegate reinforced that point when, speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), he said that many South American countries had focused on raising awareness of such crimes. However, they hesitated to make irregular migration punishable by law, because doing so might open an avenue to unjustified deportations and illegal detentions.
As the Committee took up a separate report of the Secretary-General on the role of innovation, science and technology in development, a senior official in the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, stressed the need for new alliances and partnerships in South-South cooperation in order to better leverage technical knowledge. Since three quarters of the world’s poor laboured in under-capitalized agricultural sectors using only rudimentary equipment, it was imperative to foster agricultural research and technological innovations that would enable them to overcome poverty and participate in the global economy.
Finland’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, echoed the views of other speakers in saying that the digital divide was both a consequence, and a cause of income inequalities. The role of information and communication technology in promoting freedom of expression, democracy and transparency deserved serious consideration, she said, noting, however, that the Secretary-General’s report did not make sufficient reference to the broad policy reforms needed to create the right environment for innovation.
Also speaking today were the representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Iceland, Russian Federation, Bahrain, India, Colombia, Algeria, China, Indonesia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of the Caribbean Community, or CARICOM), Zimbabwe (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community, or SADC), Pakistan, Sudan, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Iran, San Marino, Israel, Australia, Gabon, Haiti, Uganda, Croatia, Belarus, Switzerland, Ukraine, Mali, Malta, Serbia, Belgium and Armenia.
The Permanent Observer for the International Organization for Migration also made a statement.
Introducing other reports under consideration by the Committee were the Assistant-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs as well as senior officials from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and the Development Policy and Analysis Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, 20 October, to conclude its debate on globalization and interdependence. It is also expected to take up the permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.
As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met to discuss globalization and interdependence today, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the role of innovation, science and technology in pursuing development in the context of globalization (document A/61/286), which stresses the importance of building the scientific and technological capacity of developing countries with the help of a wide variety of stakeholders.
The report recalls that General Assembly resolution 60/204 emphasized the crucial role of innovation, science and technology in economic well-being, while resolution 60/1, adopted at the 2005 World Summit stressed their role in achieving internationally agreed development goals. In addition, the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society highlighted the need to create an inclusive and development-oriented information society, where everyone could create, gain access to, use and share information.
Yet the growing gulf in technological and scientific capabilities between developed and developing countries, a continuing concern for decades, hinders many developing countries from participating fully in the global economy, the report notes. Poorer countries need a sound scientific base in terms of human talent as well as infrastructure to encourage the use of scientific solutions to their domestic development concerns. At the international level, global rules governing scientific knowledge must be flexible so as to foster scientific learning and application. Some recommendations at the national level include beginning scientific and technological education at the primary level; engaging the private sector and promoting business activities through fiscal incentives, direct public credit and subsidies that lower the cost of innovative investment; and creating links between technology-based industry, academia and Governments.
At the international level, the report recommends the creation of an international database on knowledge and research information from publicly funded research and development projects to help developing countries access technologies; the creation of a network of major research and development institutions and industrial enterprises that can meet human resource training needs and other demands of the industrial sector; ensuring farmers’ rights and protection of traditional knowledge for the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources; and ensuring that the United Nations plays an increasingly active role in helping developing countries to meet their goals in this area.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on international migration and development (document A/60/871), which discusses migration trends as well as policies to increase its positive effects and improve its management. With 191 million migrants in 2005, more than half of them living in developed countries, national and international migration policies do not reflect the increasing importance of migration to the global economy, and there is a weak understanding of the interplay between international migration and development. A major challenge is to prevent irregular or unauthorized migration -- the United States has an estimated 11 to 12 million irregular migrants at the moment; the Republic of Korea 140,000; Japan 221,000; Australia 60,000; and New Zealand 20,000. For Europe and most developing countries, the estimates are less well-founded, highlighting the need for better ways to gather relevant information in order to carry out policy analyses.
The report is divided into 11 parts: main findings (on migration and development, remittances, “transnational” communities, return migrants and highly skilled migration, among others); the policy agenda (promoting migrant entrepreneurship, formation and mobility of human capital and portability of pensions, among others); the geography of migration; types of migrants; impact on destination countries; impact on origin countries; skill creation and improving the distribution of skills; migration as a development tool; the role of human rights, gender, integration and entitlements; combating trafficking in persons; and intergovernmental cooperation.
According to the report, economic theory states that migration should either reduce wages or increase unemployment in the destination country. However, evidence shows that such effects are small, mainly because migrants are complements to, rather than substitutes for, the large majority of workers in receiving countries. While the inflow of low-skilled migrants may affect the wages of that particular segment, the downward pressure on overall wages is small because the number of those workers is declining in the mostly high-income destination countries. Of particular interest to destination countries is the need to promote labour market integration and to legislate against discriminatory practices.
Some policy recommendations listed in the report include: removing regulatory barriers preventing migrant entrepreneurship; accelerating the impact of remittances on poor households and expanding remittance services at banks; and mitigating the impact of emigration by skilled persons from low-income countries. Regarding pension portability, one recommendation involves granting retirees full access to the health-care systems of the country of residence through the reimbursement of average health-care costs for retirees from the country paying pension benefits. Countries must also develop national mechanisms to ensure implementation of bilateral agreements on migration, alongside regional and global initiatives.
The Committee also had before it a note by the General Assembly President containing the summary of informal interactive hearings of the General Assembly with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector (document A/61/187) on international migration, held prior to the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in September.
Listed in the summary are 22 key findings of participants, including their call for better use of the United Nations human rights machinery to prevent or redress violations of the rights of migrants. The importance of remittances to the development process was also recognized by participants, who said that financial institutions should lower the costs of transferring remittances and offer more microfinance products to developing countries. Participants underscored that remittances were private money and should not be viewed as a substitute for official development assistance (ODA). On protecting migrant rights, participants singled out women victims of trafficking as being in particular need of protection, as are migrant women engaged in domestic service.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of origin (document A/61/177), which provides a background on the entry into force (on 14 December 2005) of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and highlights the effective coordination of anti-corruption initiatives. A review of that instrument’s implementation mechanism is scheduled for December 2006.
The report states that corruption, while found in all countries, is most destructive in the developing world, where it is inimical to development. It disproportionately hurts the poor by diverting funds earmarked for development and undermines a Government’s ability to provide basic services while feeding inequality and justice. The African Union, for example, estimates that about 25 per cent, or $148 billion, of Africa’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) is lost to corruption.
Another common consequence of corruption is the diversion of illicitly obtained assets outside the country, the report says. According to the Nairobi Declaration on International Obligations and on the Recovery and Repatriation of Africa’s Stolen Wealth, adopted by Transparency International in Nairobi on 6 and 7 April 2006, about $140 billion was misappropriated and transferred abroad over the past decades. Recognizing that the recovery of assets is complex and very costly, article 52 of the Convention includes elements intended to detect and prevent the illicit transfer of assets as well as provisions against money-laundering, contained in articles 14, 23 and 24. An overview of global efforts to estimate the scale of corruption and its impact on development and economic growth includes a summary of prominent issues related to asset recovery and reflects on the findings of two case studies conducted in Kenya and Nigeria.
A report of the Secretary-General on the integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (document A/61/269) reviews progress made during 2004-2005 in integrating those countries’ economies through trade in goods and services, capital flows and labour migration. Particular attention is paid to how the European Union’s expansion affects them and their progress in restructuring their markets. Countries with economies in transition include those in Central Europe, the Baltic States, South-Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The report concludes that transition economies have moved ahead in integrating their markets into the global economy, a trend helped by favourable conditions like growing world trade, higher commodity prices and the low cost of international finance. Other factors include transfers from the European Union as well as the creation of legal and regulatory systems that promote competition, intellectual and other property rights, the rule of law, good governance and financial services.
By contrast, countries that lag in economic governance and restructuring have been less successful in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and diversifying their economies, according to the report. They need to improve their business environments and make institutional reforms as they restructure their economies to benefit fully from integration into the world economy. Some south-western and CIS countries, in particular, need reforms to diversify their economies and shift to a sustainable development path. The United Nations should support them.
The report states that the pace of integration varies widely among the countries, with resource-rich nations, particularly in the CIS region, now benefiting from high commodity prices, but their growth remains vulnerable to price volatility. Regarding the growing role of remittances as a vehicle of external financing, the downside risks associated with this trend include vulnerability to economic downturns in the receiving counties and the impact of brain drain on the origin countries.
Also before the Committee was a note by the President of the General Assembly titled Summary of the High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (document A/61/515).
Introduction of Reports
Patrizio Civili, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-agency Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the role of innovation, science and technology in pursuing development in the context of globalization (document A/61/286), noting that while many countries had benefited from globalization, others had been marginalized. Information and technology had brought the world closer.
He said the report highlighted some of the pressing concerns of developing countries, stressing that there was no “one-size-fits-all” model. Policies that enabled countries to tap the benefits of science and apply them to their own development concerns must be devised by the countries themselves. The report proposed the creation of an international database on knowledge and research resulting from publicly funded research and development projects.
Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on international migration and development (document A/61/871) and summarized the outcome of the High-Level Dialogue on that issue, which took place from 14 to 15 September.
She said the Dialogue had affirmed that international migration was a growing phenomenon and a key component of development in both developing and developed countries; that international migration could be a positive force for development in both origin and destination countries, provided it was supported by the right policies; and that it was important to strengthen international cooperation on migration. Respect for human rights was considered crucial.
Delegates had stressed the need for decent work in origin countries to ensure that people migrated out of choice and not necessity, and there had been widespread support for integrating migration issues into national development strategies, including poverty reduction strategies, she said. Concern had been expressed about the emigration of skilled personnel from low-income countries, severely affecting crucial sectors like health and education. It had been recognized that migrant communities could assist in the transfer of technology, know-how and capital, and that return migration, whether permanent or temporary, could bring back the skills needed at home.
She said nearly all delegates had expressed a wish to continue an international dialogue in some form, to further discuss those and other related issues, such as protecting victims of trafficking -- who tended to be women and children -- collecting better data on migration and supporting inter-Governmental cooperation to improve policy-making. Belgium had offered to host such a meeting in 2007.
Sarah Tichen, Programme Specialist for Culture, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), provided an oral report on culture and development, as a written report had not been prepared for the sixty-first session of the Second Committee.
She said UNESCO had worked hard to respond to the double challenge of: ensuring the harmonious co-existence of various cultures to live together peacefully; and defending the multiplicity of cultural expressions, cultural goods and services. That had been done by promoting respect for human rights, particularly those of minorities and indigenous people. In 2001, UNESCO Member States had adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the first international legal instrument devoted to cultural diversity. Three other legal instruments constituted the pillars for the preservation and promotion of diversity: the 1972 Convention the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage; the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention; and the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which, for the first time, established the link between culture and development in international law.
In addition, she said, a number of actions had been taken to strengthen policies governing sustainable tourism, to collect more statistics that could be used as “cultural indicators” and to mainstream the concept of sustainable development in the education system. The next issue of the UNESCO World Report would be published in May 2008.
Lucie Hrbkova, Programme Officer at the New York Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), introduced the report of the Secretary-General on preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets to the countries of the origin, (document A/61/177), which outlined the need to coordinate anti-corruption initiatives, especially in the context of technical assistance, and summarized the work done in that respect by the inter-agency anti-corruption coordination initiative (GAC). It provided information on ongoing attempts and methodologies used to estimate the scale of corruption and its impact on development and economic growth. It also summarized current efforts to recover assets derived form corruption and suggested ways to implement the Anti-corruption Convention’s chapter on asset recovery and how it could impact the return of those assets in practice.
Rob Vos, Director of the Development Policy and Analysis Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report on the integration of the economies in transition into the world economy (document A/61/269) saying that the strong economic growth, coupled with prudent fiscal and monetary policies and deepening economic reforms, had improved the environment for business investment in recent years. Transition economies had made up for income losses suffered in the initial years of the transition, pushing per capita GDP above pre-transition levels. That was particularly true in the new European Union member States, but not in the transition economies of South-Eastern Europe and the CIS. Nonetheless, poverty had fallen in all those countries, though it was still widespread in some CIS countries.
He said the report emphasized the important role of the European Union in bringing about institutional and market reforms through the establishment of legal and regulatory systems promoting competition, intellectual and other property rights, the rule of law, good governance and financial services in Central Europe and the Baltic States. But growing uncertainty about further European Union enlargement could affect the pace of economic reforms.
However, there were important differences in trade dependence and external vulnerabilities across countries, he said. Most new European Union members had the advantage of integrating into producer-driven trade networks in high value-added sectors, such as the automotive industry, electronics and information technology, which were associated with longer-term investment projects, research and development, and less volatile FDI flows. At the other end of the spectrum, CIS countries rich in oil, gas, aluminium, gold and cotton currently benefited from high commodity prices but were vulnerable to price changes. The policy challenge in those countries was how to diversify their economies by building up human capital and moving their trade structures to higher value-added sectors.
He said strong growth had also attracted large inflows of speculative capital in transition economies and was posing new macroeconomic challenges. Bank loans to corporations and households had increased sharply during 2004-2005, and, more specifically, the share of loans in foreign currency had gone up, reaching 75 per cent of total outstanding loans in some countries. The growing currency mismatch between borrowing and earnings entailed risks for countries with fixed exchange-rates.
The new European Union members were anchored to adopt the Euro as a further step of economic integration, which might lead to a slowdown in growth in the short-run, he said. As a counteraction, those countries would have to adopt austerity measures, including cuts in social spending and public investments. Inflation must be contained through a tightening of monetary policy (interest rates) and by accommodating an early fixing of the exchange rate. There was also the limited mobility of labour to consider. Commitment and support from international organizations, including the United Nations, had been important in fostering the transformation process, however, and further international cooperation would be needed in the coming years.
Harriet Schmidt, Director in the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, made a statement on behalf of Under Secretary-General and High Representative Anwarul K. Chowdhury, saying that the issue for the world’s most vulnerable countries was finding ways to benefit from globalization. Three quarters of the world’s poor lived in rural areas where the agricultural sector was under-capitalized and had only rudimentary equipment. Consequently, it was imperative to foster agricultural research and technological innovations to enable the rural poor to overcome poverty and participate in the global economy.
A particularly important aspect to least developed countries of the Secretary-General’s report on the role of innovation, science and technology was the need for new alliances and partnerships in South-South cooperation, she said. Those alliances should be designed to leverage technical knowledge from wherever it was located and applied to wherever it was needed. Migration was another item of great interest to the poorest countries, which were more exposed to its negative impact and benefited less from its positive impact. Brain drain had a disastrous effect on their ability to build productive capacities for sustained economic growth and sustainable development. The “silver lining” of skilled migration from least developed countries were remittances sent back home, which had had almost doubled, having surpassed FDI since 2000.
Andries Oosthuizen(South Africa), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that, compared to developed countries, many in the developing world faced great difficulty in using science and technology for development due to the lack of infrastructure and the scarcity of resources. That international technology gap was a main contributor to the rapidly expanding socio-economic divide between rich and poor nations. As such, a special effort must be made to increase the allocation of resources, the diffusion of technology and the building of partnerships to bring science-based solutions to developing countries.
He said that in the spirit of South-South cooperation, ministers of science and technology from the Group of 77 and China had recently approved a decision to create a Consortium of Science, Technology and Innovation for the South, to replace the Third World Network of Scientific Organization. Meanwhile, the agreement reached by the Economic and Social Council to increase the number of seats on the Commission on Science and Technology for Development had also met with the Group’s satisfaction.
To combat the negative effects of migration, he said, the Group of 77 supported a continuation to the dialogue begun at the High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in September. That was particularly relevant given the complex relationship linking underdevelopment, poverty, social exclusion and migration in developing countries. Remittances, an important aspect of the migration debate, should be highlighted, especially in terms of promoting conditions for cheaper, faster and safer transfers. However, they should not be considered a substitute for investment, trade, foreign aid or debt relief.
Tarja Fernandez (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the digital divide was both a consequence and a cause of inequalities. The role of information and communication technology in promoting freedom of expression, democracy and transparency deserved serious consideration, but the Secretary-General’s report on innovation, science and technology did not make sufficient reference to the need for innovation policies to be accompanied by broader policy reforms that would create the right environment for innovation. Regarding intellectual property rights, it was important that all developing countries be able to take advantage of the flexibility within the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) accord.
She said the Secretary-General’s report on corruption showed it was a major obstacle to development and took a toll on the most vulnerable. Increased international cooperation was needed in the global fight against corruption, particularly in strengthening the identification, seizure and repatriation of assets. The European Union urged countries that had not yet signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption to do so. Regarding migration, the European Union stressed that it was vital to integrate migration concerns and issues, including the benefits of remittances, into poverty reduction strategies and the development agenda. Also, development aspects should be included in national and regional immigration policies.
Hjalmar W. Hannesson (Iceland) said that 10 years ago, his country had very few residents of foreign origin. Today, however, 7 per cent of the labour force had come from 100 other countries and their contribution to Icelandic society was highly valuable. Migration could benefit not just the destination country, but also the migrants themselves, if migration was appropriately regulated and controlled. But, in reducing the negative effects of migration, the human rights of migrants must be protected. For instance, gender equality perspectives were highly important in that gender inequality could be both a cause and consequence of international migration. It was also important to bear in mind that the loss of formal contracts, social security and protection could pose different consequences for men and women.
He said cross-border movement of persons had become a major vehicle for greater participation by women in the export services of developing countries. However, lower wages for women and the worrying deterioration in the terms and conditions of employment had been brought about by their involvement in the informal economy. The rapid growth of human trafficking was also worrisome, and Iceland had taken steps to combat that activity, especially since it was sometimes used as a transit country. The country had signed the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Suppress Trafficking of Persons.
Nikolay V. Chulkov (Russian Federation) said the international community must neutralize the negative consequences of globalization and strengthen the positive aspects in order to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. That would only be possible with a comprehensive approach by the international community. Member States understood the complex nature of migration and its link with development and human rights, issues that also required more cooperation at the global, regional and local levels to mitigate negative consequence. More international data on that topic was also needed.
Turning to corruption, he said his country advocated an international view of efforts to limit corruption and money laundering. That would include coordination with international financial centres to limit money laundering and other illicit activities. In addition, the low-income States of the CIS needed assistance to grow, reduce poverty and fight AIDS.
Bader Abbas Al-Hulaibi (Bahrain), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said science and technology know-how was essential for dealing effectively with the changes taking place in the world today. They were also necessary for meeting development goals more quickly, including reducing infant mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. The Secretary-General’s emphasis on science and technology was laudable, as was his call for Member States to bridge the digital divide.
He noted that the Geneva and Tunis legs of the World Summit on the Information Society had stressed the need for joint commitment from both developed and developing countries to create a human-centred global information society. New partnerships and cooperative measures were needed, involving Government, the private sector, civil society and international organizations to achieve the ambitious objective of bridging the digital divide and achieving fair development for all. For its part, Bahrain had revamped its schools, in line with international advances in science and technology. It was also striving to change the mentality of its people to enhance their ability to deal with twenty-first century problems. Because the technology revolution had happened so quickly, it was imperative to act just as quickly to provide everyone in the world with access to technological innovations.
Anil Basu (India) said the deepening of global imbalances continued to pose a major risk to global growth and stability and the international community must consider an appropriate balance between national policy and international disciplines and commitments as well as the implementation of existing commitments. It was important to address systemic issues and undertake a comprehensive reform of the international financial architecture in a time-bound manner. The international community must find ways to contract the circle of exclusion.
Ongoing efforts to reform the United Nations must address the question of restoring development to the Organization’s agenda, he said. The international community needed an equitable and rules-based regime to manage global trade, investment flows, technology transfer and the movement of services. The role of science and technology in development could not be overemphasized. Intellectual property rights regimes were often used to restrict, control and deny technology instead of easing its transfer to developing countries. International migration presented challenges and opportunities and the increased demand for specialists in developed countries could be matched by their availability in developing countries. There must be greater receptivity among developed countries to the request made to them for enhanced market access.
Claudia Blum (Colombia), aligning herself with the Group of 77, said that after having held a high-level dialogue on migration and development, follow-up activities were of the utmost priority. The follow-up mechanism should make use of the Global Migration Group as a source of technical support. The United Nations, with its ability to compile statistics and other data relating to migration, was in a prime position to direct a wide-ranging analysis of the relationship between migration and development. The Organization’s leadership was also essential in promoting partnerships on migration, where politics should go further than national interests.
She said the Global Migration Group could, in turn, help coordinate the work of United Nations agencies, funds and other entities with that of other international organizations, and be a channel for exchanging best practices. The United Nations could help Governments develop policies and draft laws on migration, as well as assist them in managing migratory flows. For its part, Colombia had participated actively in the regional consultation processes, including the South American Conference on Migrations. In a joint declaration, participants had agreed to reject the “criminalization of migratory irregularity” and the treatment of such irregularities as acts punishable under criminal law. Participants had also agreed to respect the principle of shared responsibility in fighting the illicit smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and other related crimes. While smuggling was a crime, migration was not. Likewise, irregular migrants and undocumented migrants were not criminals.
Mohamed Sophiane Berrah (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the recent High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development provided an opportunity to discuss the issue, while the report of the Secretary-General contributed positively regarding the impact of migration on developing countries. The consideration of migration and better ways to create a balanced framework to deal with it was crucial in today’s world.
Reaffirming that migration policies should be based on linkages and take human rights into consideration, he noted that there was a reflex of fear in the North, particularly against people of the Muslim faith. Terrorism contributed to that fear whereas a calm dialogue would bring together different viewpoints and create the necessary framework of international cooperation. There must be solidarity among different peoples, and the African community wished to promote solutions with the North.
Toufiq Ali (Bangladesh), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the characterization of all movements across political boundaries as “migration” ignored basic economic forces of supply and demand. In fact, an overwhelming majority of people moving from country to country in search of work were not “migrants” but people responding to real or perceived demand for work in the destination countries. They moved for limited, short-term periods and unless a distinction was drawn between real migrants and short-term movements of labour, any analysis on the subject -- and subsequent prescriptions -- would be wrong. In Bangladesh, the short-term movement of people was described as “overseas employment” and with improved organization, it would be possible for larger numbers of such people to go abroad and return home on completion of their work. In recent years, up to 250,000 people, or 10 per cent of the Bangladeshi workforce, had engaged in overseas employment. Upon their return, they constituted an engine of growth, having acquired technology, capital and management expertise.
He said demographic changes in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries had dramatically increased the burden on younger groups to support the rest of the population. Maintaining the standard of living or running industries profitably likewise required increasingly larger workforces. Given the falling populations in most labour-sending countries, the world could expect to see an unusual scenario of demand chasing scarce supply in the next few decades. The Global Commission on International Migration had failed last year to deal with the reality that the movement of peoples was no longer just a North-South issue, since South-South movements had also become much more important.
Many developed and developing countries had very quietly been creating elaborate structures, under bilateral agreements, to meet the short-term demand for labour, he said. The world needed a more transparent, inclusive and structured approach to the issue. The private sector, which demanded labour, must be brought into the debate. Indeed, the World Trade Organization was examining multilateral approaches to the movement of persons.
Miriam Hugues (United States) said hers was a country of immigrants, with 20 per cent of the world’s migrants residing there. In 2005, it had welcomed 1 million legal permanent residents. The hard work of immigrants, most of whom arrived unskilled and who adhered to a variety of religious faiths, helped make the nation culturally rich and prosperous. But immigrants also played an important role in their countries of origin. Recognizing the impact of remittances, the United States was committed to increasing their access to formal banking structures and reducing the cost of transferring remittances. As a strong supporter of legal, orderly and humane migration, the United States welcomed an exchange of ideas on that subject.
She expressed concern over illegal migration, especially that which involved migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. The United States would continue working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and others to protect and assist migrants, and was working with other States to punish those who committed those heinous crimes. Regional dialogue was the most effective way to advance solutions and to develop more orderly and humane migration policies.
The United States had participated in the recent High-level Dialogue with interest, she said, noting that the Secretary-General and some Member States had expressed interest in a global forum. However, States had expressed very different views on what such a forum would look like. What practical outcome such a forum would achieve remained unclear, and it might even be counter-productive to the good work done at the regional level. It might not be the best way to put the United Nations resources to use. Instead of creating new structures, Member States should focus on improving what already existed, such as the IOM. The United Nations had an excellent capacity to address migration issues.
Liu Zhenmin (China) said the gap between North and South continued to widen, with increased adjustments among the interests and conflicts of different parties. As the weakest link in the economic globalization process, developing countries were faced with special risks and difficulties. To help seize the opportunities of economic globalization and respond to its challenges, China offered several concepts. Globalization should be based on universal participation and be aimed at common development. In that regard, the international community should resume the Doha Round as early as possible and oppose trade protectionism. Other concepts supported by China included maintaining the world’s diversity by respecting the development road chosen independently by countries. Another view was that globalization should be based on science and technology innovations.
He said his country had achieved sustained and rapid growth by finding a development road that linked its own development with the globalization process, which integrated domestic development with opening up its economy. Regarding corruption, the United Nations Convention had greatly bolstered anti-corruption efforts. China had ratified the Convention on 27 October 2005 and become a signatory State. The country attached great importance to anti-corruption cooperation.
Tri Tharyat (Indonesia) said his country had strengthened its political and legal basis to fight corrupt practices by ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 19 September 2006, and welcomed its entry into force on 14 December 2005. Prevention could bring about more long-lasting solutions, beginning with the strengthening of institutions. Indonesia encouraged all countries to ratify or accede to the Convention and commended the work of the UNODC in preparing the legislative guide designed to facilitate the ratification and subsequent implementation of the Convention. Member States should not forget the importance of maintaining the integrity of judiciary bodies and were urged to create codes of conduct for members of the judiciary.
Siuaji Raja (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77, said solutions to international migration and development required greater cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries. Protection of the human rights of migrants was very important and the Indonesian Government was committed to strengthening dialogue and cooperation with other States through a memorandum of understanding. The Secretary-General’s proposal to create a global consultative forum on international migration and development was the logical evolutionary phase for the United Nations’ dialogue on the issue, the main goal of which should be to gain a clear understanding of the root causes of international migration and its impact on development.
Damptey Bediako Asare (Ghana) said more evidence-based migration policies were needed to counter the tendency towards sensationalism. The world must understand that migration was the result of increasing connectivity in the world, fuelled by improved communications and the declining cost of transportation. Ironically, increased migration was taking place amid restrictions on the flow of goods, services and capital. Migration was also increasingly being linked to exploitation and abuse by smugglers and traffickers. Those and many others were among the intricate, multifaceted aspects of migration that must be understood better if policies were to be improved.
He said destination countries should help to replenish the “stock of brains” in origin countries, by supporting education and training programmes in those places. Ghana already benefited from the financial support of the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development, IOM, Italy, the European Union and the Netherlands, through which it had initiated a programme to harness the expertise of the Ghanaian diaspora in the country’s development. Ghana also supported calls for gender-sensitive international migration policies.
Margaret Hugues Ferrari (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the benefits of migration could be better harnessed through cooperation between origin and receiving countries to create a mutually beneficial environment for migrants. The CARICOM countries were major exporters of highly qualified labour, particularly teachers, nurses and other health care professionals. They were also among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest emigration rates of tertiary-level graduates, and for that reason, CARICOM supported the call for continued global dialogue to address migration issues, and welcomed the Secretary-General’s suggestion to develop a global consultative process on migration within the United Nations.
She condemned all forms of corrupt practices, saying that CARICOM saw the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption as an important step. Some members of CARICOM had already ratified the treaty and others had begun preparations to do so.
Boniface Chidyausiku (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the subregion still found it difficult to attract foreign direct investment, which was key to sustainable economic development and employment creation. Robust measures were needed to address supply-side constraints in the form of increased aid flows and increased FDI could help developing countries integrate into the global economy. For many SADC countries, trade liberalization alone was not a panacea leading to economic growth and development. They needed assistance to build up trading capacity.
Turning to technology, he called on the global community to support the Southern Africa subregion’s efforts to invest in science and technology-related education and training. With respect to migration, the SADC countries had lost much vital skilled labour and faced a shortage of doctors, nurses and teachers as they left to work in the developed countries. There was a need to find ways to mitigate the loss of those skilled and professional personnel.
Rozina Tufail, Member of Pakistan ’s National Assembly, said that, throughout human history, migration had been a courageous expression of individuals’ will to overcome adverse conditions, to explore new horizons and live a better life. The desire and capacity to move to other places had been amplified by the phenomenon of globalization, and today, migration was an important part of the development debate, particularly since it impacted populations, economies and countries as a whole. Ensuring efficiency in migrants’ remittance processes was a basic necessity, and therefore, there was an obvious need for regulatory frameworks to facilitate low-cost remittances.
She added that, while there was no doubt that remittances were helpful, their overall impact had not been substantiated. Therefore, the flows should continue to supplement -- but not supplant -– development assistance. Diasporas must be more actively engaged and the expertise that migrants gained while abroad must be put to better use in order to counter the impact of brain drain. While recognizing migration’s development potential, it was also necessary to recognize the need to establish an adequate and transparent mechanism to channel population flows in a legal, safe, humane and orderly manner. That would counter irregular migration as well as criminal exploitation of migrants.
Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said the Santiago Declaration on migration, signed in 2004 by the MERCOSUR countries as well as Bolivia, Chile and Peru, said that States had a right to control their borders but did not make irregular migration punishable by law because doing so was thought to open an avenue to unjustified group deportations and illegal mass detentions. Instead, Governments focused on raising awareness of the dangers posed by trafficking in persons and rousing civil society to work against it. States were further urged to implement machinery to assist victims. A South American conference on migration in Asuncion, Paraguay, had adopted a declaration emphasizing the need to respect the rights of migrants, and recognizing that remittances were private flows.
Nothing that MERCOSUR was committed to regularizing migration, he said a programme allowing the verification of entry and exit documentation for minors would make greater control possible and improve their safety. Such actions demonstrated that it was possible to arrive at joint solutions to migration-related problems through national laws.
On corruption, he said Brazil was an active member of the most important association against money laundering -- the signatories of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. But corruption should not be equated with lack of governance for there were numerous cases of corruption in solid democracies. It would be unwise to hold up all development cooperation until the fight against corruption had been won, for it might lead to added instability, or more repressive Governments. The focus should be on making sure that international aid reached the intended destination and was not diverted for illicit purposes, keeping in mind that various global financial institutions, banks and tax havens provided secure places to invest the proceeds of corruption.
Magdi Mofadal (Sudan), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the recent High-level Dialogue was a historic turning point which showed that the links between immigration and development were of great interest to the international community. The Sudan hoped that appropriate machinery would be created as a follow-up to the Dialogue, and that it would not be limited to economic concepts, but also promote human communications and bring civilizations together. Global efforts on that issue should link origin and destination countries for the benefit of all. It was a complex issue and the rights of migrants should be protected.
He noted the surge in violence against migrants that had taken place and the increasing restrictions against them as well as people seeking asylum, saying that efforts in that area must be redoubled. The Sudan was a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that enjoyed diversity.
Luca Dall’Oglio, Permanent Observer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said migration was the defining phenomenon of modern times. In 2006, it had attracted growing worldwide political attention, thanks in large part to the High-level Dialogue. While the IOM welcomed that successful event and had been pleased by the outcome, which could be helpful in identifying proposals for future action, there were several areas that had received particularly well-deserved attention, namely stepped measures to make migration work for development, inter-agency cooperation and intergovernmental cooperation.
He recalled that during the Dialogue, many delegations had highlighted innovative ways to make migration work for development, and the IOM believed that a few warranted special mention, including mainstreaming development into development planning agendas, and building capacities to deal more effectively with the global labour market. On that specific point, the agency had presented a conceptual “International Migration and Development Initiative” during the Dialogue, which was a mechanism to facilitate capacity-building for safe, legal and orderly participation in the global labour market. The IOM had since begun working with several partners so as to better define that concept and pursue it with interested organizations and Member States.
On inter-agency cooperation, he said that while the IOM might be the only intergovernmental body with an across-the-board migration mandate, it nevertheless recognized that partnership was needed among many relevant agencies and organizations according to their areas of expertise. With that in mind, the IOM had been one of six relevant agencies that had co-founded the Geneva Migration Group in 2003. That panel had been expanded and renamed the Global Migration Group in 2006, and the IOM was convinced that it could play an important role in enhancing policy coherence and optimizing programming to support the beneficial aspects of migration. On intergovernmental cooperation, the IOM stood ready to contribute to the success of the proposed global forum on migration, should it be established.
Tae-Woo Lee (Republic of Korea) said the world’s 200 million migrants had the potential to reshape the basic structures of societies and to inject new ideas into both origin, and destination, countries. Remittances were among the several ways in which migration contributed to development, and means must be found to reduce transnational transaction fees. To enhance productivity in countries of origin, the appropriate financial systems must be introduced.
Migration could also generate social tensions and security challenges, he said. The recently established Global Migration Group should enhance coordination and cooperation among international organizations working to devise comprehensive migration policies, and regional efforts like the Bali Process should be embraced.
On corruption, he said his country was preparing to ratify the United Nations Convention, in addition to signing a Korean pact on anti-corruption and transparency with key figures in the political, public, business and civil sectors, who had pledged to make voluntary efforts to fight corruption. The circle was further expanded to include academics as well as the pharmaceutical, construction and financial industries.
Salihu Ahmed-Sambo (Nigeria) said more attention should be paid to coherence and consistency within the United Nations system as a way to ensure that globalization’s benefits reached everybody. The international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes must be reformed to give developing countries more of a voice and greater participation. Regarding migration, the international community must protect the human rights of migrants and resist the temptation to build thick walls of exclusion, or resort to xenophobia and discrimination under the guise of measures to ensure national security.
On the issue of culture and development, he said his country agreed that a culture-sensitive approach to development was more likely to yield desired results than an approach based on the “one-size-fits-all” concept. Regarding corruption, Nigeria appealed to all countries and international organizations that had not yet done so to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Nigeria had made strenuous efforts to implement the treaty and needed technical support and capacity-building to further sharpen its anti-corruption efforts.
Muditha Halliyadde (Sri Lank) said that safeguarding the rights of migrants, regardless of their migrating status, was the most pressing issue in international migration and development. In that context, it was important to establish legal protections, and for destination countries to address demands for public services, education, health care and housing, with origin countries increasingly sharing responsibility. Protection of women migrants was particularly important.
She said international cooperation was also urgently needed to prevent brain drain and loss of skilled workers from developing countries. For progress in all areas, all States should ratify and implement the relevant international instruments. To maximize the benefits and contain the social disruption caused by migration, comprehensive and coherent policies were needed in all the countries concerned, with due consideration of the specific situation of each. The Global Migration Group should serve to enhance coordination in that area.
Jimmy D. Blas (Philippines), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said his country, with a sizeable portion of its population working overseas, shared many of the Secretary-General’s views on global migration, particularly his call for intergovernmental cooperation. The Philippines agreed with other countries that a process of consultations between sending and receiving countries was needed to maintain the momentum built in recent times. The ideal mechanism for such a consultative process should be under the auspices of the United Nations. If prospects for that mechanism were stalled, a more feasible option would be an open-ended global forum that could eventually be mainstreamed into the Organization.
He stressed the importance of ensuring human rights for migrants and called on all member States to affirm the importance of migration and development by acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families.
Hossein Halizadeh (Iran), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the High-level Dialogue on Migration had been a turning point for Member States, where the need to address the link between migration and development had been made clear. It was an issue that affected almost all countries in the world, whether as destination, transit or origin countries. Further, it was not just a South-North issue; migration also took place between countries of the South. No country could manage the phenomenon without bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
He said support must be given to developing countries to help them build the necessary infrastructure, laws and national strategies to deal with migration through the exchange of best practices and resources. Indeed, migrants played an important role in the development process of all countries, especially if they were able to provide technical knowledge as well as capital to their countries of origin. More should be done to remove obstacles faced by migrants in destination countries so that they could transfer knowledge and remittances more easily to origin countries. For its part, Iran had adopted a law against human trafficking and had participated in a ministerial meeting with Greece, Pakistan and Turkey on fighting illegal migration and trafficking in persons.
Daniele D. Bodini (San Marino) said his country viewed globalization as a unique opportunity for economic and social growth in the twenty-first century, but was aware of its short- and long-term difficulties, such as the risk of economic marginalization. San Marino was keen on creating cultural and economic agreements with all Member States to help promote open markets, financial resources for investment and increased productivity.
Protectionism, in areas like agriculture, or by the semi-monopolistic interests of some multinational companies, would not be helpful for international growth, he said, adding that his country strongly supported the transfer of knowledge and technology as suggested by the Secretary-General’s report on the role of innovation in science and technology. San Marino also welcomed stronger United Nations planning in the areas of trade, capital flows and intellectual property rights regimes.
Uzi Manor (Israel) said the mission of his country’s Center for International Migration and Integration was to share the extensive experience that Israel had accumulated in immigrant integration and diaspora partnerships, as well as to draw upon international expertise in addressing the challenges of international migration. In September 2005, an important international women’s leaders’ conference had been held in Haifa to help in understanding changing trends in the feminization of migration in the twenty-first century, and to explore other migration issues. That conference had ended in the Haifa Declaration, which called on the United Nations Special Adviser on Gender Affairs and the Advancement of Women to bring its recommendations to the High-level Dialogue on Migration. Some of its recommendations included active partnerships between origin and destination countries to engage women diaspora leaders in developing programmes, he said. Another action would be research studies to examine the impact on family and society of changes in gender roles resulting from female migration. As a country that had absorbed immigrants from all over the world and committed extensive resources to their integration, Israel had a wealth of experience to offer others facing the same challenge. Such international sharing of experiences and best practices could be adapted to the needs of any country.
Bruce Baird, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Australia, said his country’s development owed much to its success in harnessing the benefits of migration. Since 1945, around 6 million migrants had settled in Australia and helped to build the nation. Australia’s experience had convinced the Government that, for both sending and receiving countries, the benefits of migration were maximized when the flows were well managed. In that way, both temporary and permanent migration should be legal, safe and orderly.
While border control was one facet of migration management, he said, facilitating legal migration also served to protect migrants’ human rights, including by reducing opportunities for their exploitation by smugglers, traffickers and unscrupulous employers. But migration management, which led to the enhancement of development benefits, was not easy and therefore required well-designed national migration policies backed by effective administrative capacity. That was why boosting national capacities was central to maximizing the benefits of migration, including its development potential for both sending and receiving countries.
He said the international community should support the efforts of States to formulate and implement national migration policies by contributing resources, appropriate expertise and training. Policies to improve migration could be integrated into national development strategies, including Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. Regional approaches -– focusing on areas of common interest -- were the most effective form of international cooperation on migration, including by dealing with migration’s development nexus. Finally, if the global forum on migration were to be established, Australia believed that such a panel should focus on capacity-building in migration management, and build on the contributions of existing regional consultative processes.
Grégoire Lomba (Gabon), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said migration had always been a part of human history and affected different social groups. For example, out of the 191 million migrants in the world, close to half were women, alongside a large number of young people. Africa had adopted a unified position on migration and development, and was developing a single migration strategy. Meanwhile, the high-level Dialogue on Migration had itself suggested some possible policies that the world could consider regarding migration.
When well channelled, migration could make a real contribution to development, but the dearth of statistics presented an obstacle to its management, he said. In view of the increasing number of migrants, and in light of their significant contributions to development, Member States must accord the same emphasis to the phenomenon, as it did to other pressing concerns.
Astride Nazaire (Haiti) said the link between migration and development was very important, and her country had benefited from migration through the receipt of remittances, which provided resources for poor families and sometimes gave their children an education. Migration also had had a less positive impact on Haiti’s development as the brain drain of professionals hindered its economic advancement. More than 70 per cent of the best educated Haitians lived in OECD countries.
She welcomed the Secretary-General’s report that recommended the use of bilateral accords to clarify issues of importance between sending and receiving countries. As a way to maximize the positive synergies between migration and development, Haiti recommended several actions, such as facilitating the migration of temporary labour, protecting the rights of migrants, and working to retain highly qualified nationals.
Benedict L. Lukwiya (Uganda), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said countries with access to technology had the means to do things better, faster and more efficiently, while developing countries, especially least developed countries, lacked the necessary capacity to access and use technology. International partnerships must be forged to bring the benefits of information and communication technology to developing countries and reduce the digital divide. Uganda now had a deliberate policy at the post-secondary level to promote science and technology.
Turning to migration, he said the challenge for the global community was to adopt policies and measures that tailored migration to the needs of origin and destination countries while respecting the rights of migrants. Such policies should react to short-term and unilateral needs as they set long-term sustainable development principles. To counteract brain drain, poor countries should promote contacts between diaspora communities and their countries of origin, improve working conditions at home and inform everyone about the possibilities of legal migration.
Irena Zubcevic (Croatia), aligning herself with the European Union, said that, if not supported by structural and institutional reforms, economic growth would not take place at sufficient levels in transition economies. Croatia was an example of how insufficient levels of education, inadequate use of scientific innovation, an inflexible labour market, unevenly developed economic infrastructure and weak macroeconomic underpinnings could impede the transition process. Nevertheless, the country was working hard to improve its credit rating and attract more FDI, as well as developing a fiscal policy that could withstand adjustments in the business cycle. Croatia was also nurturing good relations with international financial institutions, and had used stand-by arrangements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase financial market confidence. The World Bank, in turn, was supporting its European integration projects. Meanwhile, Croatia would continue to advocate increased participation by transition economies in international financial institutions.
Uladzimir A. Gerus (Belarus) said that despite the number of eastern Europeans holding senior posts in the United Nations, their needs were not well reflected within the Organization. There was a need for concrete improvements in the activities of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) so that the needs of transition economies were not neglected. Few people knew, for instance, that millions of people from the CIS countries lived in poverty, or that their infant and maternal mortality rates were higher than those in Latin America and Asia. School attendance was falling, and economic infrastructure was virtually absent.
To make matters worse, 10 CIS countries were still awaiting entry into the World Trade Organization because the entry criteria were more stringent now than before. Furthermore, the current multilateral trading system made it hard to secure their entry into the world economy. Financial and technical cooperation with economies in transition must be better organized and become larger in scale. A draft resolution on the situation in transition economies would soon be tabled, and Belarus appealed to other countries to support it.
Rascha Osman (Switzerland) said the United Nations was the ideal forum for the review of certain important aspects of migration, especially its links with development. The High-Level Dialogue had strengthened cooperation, but was only one stage in a process. Greater attention should be paid to the integration of migration into development policies, and migration should find its place in appropriate frameworks, such as national poverty reduction strategies.
Efforts to combat human trafficking were also needed, she said, voicing the hope that future discussions would be pursued with the same intensity as the High-level Dialogue. Hopefully, future sessions, such as the Forum to be held in Belgium next year, would provide many fruitful exchanges. Regarding corruption, the accumulation abroad of illegal funds frustrated the efforts of international bodies to combat financial crime and money laundering. However, true progress had been made in restoring illicit funds with the help of the Convention against Corruption.
Andriy Nikitov (Ukraine), associating himself with the European Union, said the monitoring of migration processes and possible participation in preventing illegal migration were priorities for relevant Government institutions. Ukraine was working with the European Union, international organizations and individual States on the issue. On corruption, Ukraine was taking active measures to combat corruption and its programme included strict public control over budget expenditures and governmental structures as well as the creation of decent labour conditions for civil servants and increased oversight and enforcement functions. The United Nations and other institutions must keep their attention on providing assistance to the transition economies to ensure their integration into the world economy.
N’Golo Fomba (Mali), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the phenomenon of migration was not new. It was only after the birth of the nation State, and the need to control national borders, that migration had acquired a new dimension. With new developments in transport and communication, migration had become even more of a force for development. Participants in the High-level Dialogue had agreed that States must cooperate in dealing with the issue, while respecting the rights of migrants.
Indeed, out of a population of nearly 12 million, 4 million Malians lived abroad, he said. To manage that diaspora, which contributed around $225 million to the country’s economy, Mali had developed banking facilities in their countries of residence. With the support of partners like France, it had also developed programmes to promote their return home and to establish a framework for exchanges between members of the diaspora and their countries of origin. They could also turn migrants into a tool for development.
For countries like Mali, immigration was a willy-nilly method of exporting labour, he said, asking if it would not be better to adjust the global trading system, for example by reducing barriers to the cotton trade, so that peasants could opt to stay at home, rather than be forced to run away from poverty at any price, including that of losing their lives. Along similar lines, Mali appealed for the humane treatment of migrants in receiving countries, though that should not be interpreted as support for clandestine immigration, which the country was combating through awareness-raising.
Albert Ghigo (Malta), associating himself with the European Union, said the unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants into his small European country had generated many humanitarian, economic and social repercussions that affected migrants and the daily lives of the local population. Malta agreed that there was no single solution to address the complex issues of irregular migration, but it stressed that illegal immigration constituted the unacceptable face of international migration, not the other way around. It was hoped that the Dialogue started last month would provide more opportunities to discuss that issue.
Slavko Kruljevic (Serbia) aligned himself with the European Union’s statement and agreed with the Secretary-General that more efforts were needed to broaden and deepen institutional reforms to diversify economies in transition and shift them to a sustainable development path. The strengthening of regional cooperation and the creation of a free trade zone in the region was very important to Serbia, which would continue to create a favourable investment climate and improve its legislation. However, it needed further United Nations involvement in the field of policy advice and technical assistance.
Christine Detaille (Belgium), aligning herself with the European Union, expressed support for the High-level Dialogue and voiced the hope that the upcoming Global Forum would also be successful. Preparations in Belgium were under way as the country took care of logistical matters. The month of July was being considered and the preparatory work would be transparent.
Dziunik Aghajanian (Armenia) said that, as a transition economy, her country’s biggest challenge was to reduce poverty in rural areas, especially the border regions. Armenia’s improved economic performance had helped to slow down migration flows, and even reversed them, in the last two years. Before 2001, the number of migrants had stood at 50,000-60,000 annually, but it was not as high today.
She said Armenia was no different from other countries with economies in transition as it registered huge emigration numbers because of the economic hardships resulting from the total collapse of its economy and the blockade imposed on it. However, there was increased understanding of the possibility of turning labour migration into a double-sided shield instead of a double-edged sword.