UN Discusses Migration in Post-2015 Development Agenda, SDG Targets
story highlights

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica and Germany, held a high-level panel on defining the role of migration in the post-2015 development agenda.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told participants that if human rights are not included in the post-2015 development agenda, it will not meet the "core function" of leaving no one behind.

iomlogo17 December 2014: The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica and Germany, held a high-level panel on defining the role of migration in the post-2015 development agenda. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told participants that if human rights are not included in the post-2015 development agenda, it will not meet the “core function” of leaving no one behind.

The meeting on ‘Defining the Role of Migration in the Post-2015 Agenda’ convened at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 17 December 2014.

Opening the session on migration as a development enabler, Heiko Thoms, Permanent Mission of Germany, welcomed the Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 development agenda, which he said prominently mentions migration and migrants. Melissa Siegel, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, discussed policies in destination countries, and noted the importance of integrating migrants in those countries. She stressed the need for policy coherence and strengthening the interface between research and policy-making. She also said: dignity is important for the post-2015 development agenda; migration is a key inequalities we are facing today; and migrants, refugees and displaced persons need to be treated equally. She called for better data and increased ability to collect data.

Laura Porras Alfaro, Inter-American Dialogue, called for engaging all migrants and diaspora communities in discussions of migration, as well as for upholding the full human and economic rights of migrants. Migrants engage in the development of their home countries in many ways, she explained, including: transport; tourism; telecommunications; trade; and transfers. She stressed that taxing remittances is counter-intuitive, as they help the home country and are necessary for families to be resilient and escape poverty. Gibril Faal, Africa Foundation for Development (AFFORD), Foreign Policy Centre and GK Partners, highlighted the importance of diasporas for supporting migrants, and called for innovative financing and for strengthening the links between the post-2015 development agenda and Financing for Development (FfD) negotiation processes.

Member States and stakeholders asked questions on gaps between reality and scientific studies, the need for policy coherence, and the need for more data about migrants’ effects on destination countries. The EU discussed building on the proposal of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and asked how to reflect migration adequately in the concept of a global partnership for development.

Opening the session on migration across the post-2015 development agenda, Juan Carlos Mendoza-García, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, presented on key components of the UN General Assembly resolution on international migration and development, and outlined the importance of supporting migrants including through social security and financial initiatives. He also called for going beyond policies to consider reality on the ground when discussing migration. William Swing, IOM Director General, said we live in an interconnected world, “with more people in motion than ever in history.” He added that migration has been very positive in various countries, but too many people die along the migratory routes. He called for increased credibility through monitoring and implementing the SDGs, and said one challenge of implementation is to conjugate national security and individual freedom and rights.

In his remarks to the session, Zeid stressed that there is no such thing as “illegal migrants,” for there is no such thing as being an illegal human being. He emphasized that migrants are discriminated against, attacked, and exploited, often with the collusion of their employers or governments. He called for strengthening the protection of labor rights for workers and for planned, well-managed migration policies. Jane Stewart, International Labour Organization (ILO), explained that while half of all migrants move for work, ultimately all migrants must find work opportunities in their new home. Stressing the UN role of upholding global normative frameworks, she called for the expansion of these norms to uphold the human and labor rights of migrants.

In the interactive discussion, a participant asked how to measure the implementation of SDG target 10.7 on facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people. Another one wondered if this target as well as target 8.8 on promoting safe and secure working environments for all, including migrant workers, will survive during the post-2015 negotiations. Others called for: collaborations and partnerships between different actors in managing international migration; protecting labor rights of migrants; and ensuring decent work and social protection. [IISD RS Sources] [Event Programme]

related posts