UN, Parliamentarians Call for Data to Inform Global Migration Compact
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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At an annual parliamentary hearing, parliamentarians acknowledged their respective roles in ensuring the implementation of the global compact after it is adopted, and in reducing xenophobia in their own countries.

At DESA's 16th coordination meeting on international migration, population data specialists highlighted that evidence is needed to change negative perspectives on migration.

23 February 2018: Parliamentarians, specialists in population data, and other stakeholders took part in several meetings in February 2018 on the topics of migration and migration data. The meetings highlighted the process toward negotiating a UN global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration, which is due to be adopted by the international community in Morocco in December 2018. Participants stressed the need to counteract negative perceptions of migration through solid evidence, and they highlighted the positive aspects of migration as a contributor to sustainable development.

The Annual Parliamentary Hearing of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) took place from 22-23 February, in New York, US. UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak warned that multilateralism is under threat, especially in the realm of migration policy. He urged parliamentarians to strengthen the links between the UN and their constituencies, and enable better two-way communication. Parliamentarians acknowledged their respective roles in ensuring the implementation of the global compact after it is adopted, and in reducing xenophobia in their own countries. Delegates also heard from UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the two co-facilitators for the global compact, Juan José Gómez Camacho (Mexico) and Jürg Lauber (Switzerland).

On the eve of the hearing, a multi-stakeholder event on migration took place at UN Headquarters, on 21 February. Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, stressed that the benefits of migration greatly outweigh the challenges. Titled ‘Facts Instead of Perceptions: Promoting an Evidence-Based Discussion on Migration,’ the event highlighted the need for an evidence base to inform negotiations around the compact. The UN reports that 3.4% of the world’s population are international migrants, an increase from 2.8% in the year 2000. Lajcak affirmed the UN’s role in promoting an evidence-based approach to migration to fight the rising incidence of hate speech.

On 20 February, the UN observed World Day for Social Justice, which this year took up the theme of ‘Workers on the Move: The quest for social justice.’ Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), highlighted the influence that global compact could have on the governance of labor migration. He stressed that the fair treatment of migrant workers contributes to sustainable development, and called on governments to observe international labor standards enshrined in the ILO’s Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration and the General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment, among other agreements.

Prior to these events, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) held its 16th Coordination Meeting on International Migration, from 15-16 February. The organizers highlighted “global skills mobility” as an important contributor to global development, as migrants from developing countries send US$413 billion in remittances to their home countries. The meeting discussed data needs and pilot studies, the results of which will inform negotiations around the global compact. Population data specialists highlighted that evidence is needed to change negative perspectives on migration.

Earlier in the month, on 6 February, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that US data shows that far fewer migrants are now entering the US via its border with Mexico. However, despite a smaller number of total migrants, IOM reported a greater number of migrant deaths, which increased from 398 in 2016 to 412 in 2017. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has expressed concern over the increase in deaths, and suggests that an increased likelihood of arrest has driven migrants to seek out more difficult routes, resulting in exposure to very high temperatures.

The IOM has previously highlighted that migration is relevant to many SDGs, including those on health (SDG 3), education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), decent work (SDG 8), sustainable cities (SDG 11) and peaceful societies (SDG 16). [IPU Press Release on Annual Parliamentary Hearing] [UNGA President’s Statement to Annual Parliamentary Hearing] [UN Press Release on Multi-stakeholder Event] [DESA Press Release] [Webpage of 16th Coordination Meeting on International Migration] [UN Press Release on ILO Statement] [IOM Press Release on Migrant Deaths in US] [IOM Brochure on Migration in SDGs] [SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of global compact process]


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