UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific convened a three-day regional preparatory meeting of UN agencies, governments and other stakeholders in Bangkok, Thailand, from 6-8 November 2017, the last in the series of regional consultations for the global compact on migration.
The UN hosted an Expert Group Meeting in New York on ‘Integrated Approaches to International Migration’, outlining the challenges for public-sector organizations implementing migration-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda.
8 November 2017: Governments in the Asia-Pacific region discussed ways to make the experience of labor migration fairer for workers. The meeting was part of the regional consultation series in preparation for intergovernmental negotiations on a global compact on migration, which is now concluded.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) convened a three-day regional preparatory meeting of UN agencies, governments and other stakeholders in Bangkok, Thailand, from 6-8 November 2017. Participants called on governments to safeguard the rights of migrants, including low-skilled workers and displaced persons, and ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar noted migrant workers’ vulnerability, despite their valuable economic and social contributions in the workforce. At the close of the meeting, participants adopted a meeting report and reviewed the Chair’s summary (E/ESCAP/GCM/PREP/WP.1), which they agreed reflected the discussions.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Women supported the meeting, which identified regional priorities for the global preparatory stocktaking meeting towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration taking place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in December 2017. Thematic discussions at the meeting addressed: legal and orderly labor migration as a contribution towards all dimensions os sustainable development; addressing the drivers of migration, including the adverse effects of climate change; human smuggling, trafficking and modern forms of slavery; and regional cooperation on migration in all its dimensions.
In tandem with the preparatory meeting, ESCAP released a report titled, ‘Towards Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in the Asia Pacific Region.’ The report notes that the region is ‘an epicenter of international migration, with more than 62 million migrants living in the region, and almost 102 million migrants originating from the region.’ Regional consultations also took place in the ECLAC, ESCWA, UNECA and UNECE regions, between August and November 2017.
Also to feed into Global Compact discussions, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a discussion on the role of merchant vessels in conducting rescue operations, based on their legal obligation to aid persons in distress at sea. At the meeting, held on 30 October, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim stressed that, although governments and the shipping industry will continue rescue operations, safe, legal and alternative pathways to migration must also be developed. To date, almost 150,000 migrants have made the sea crossing to Europe, and merchant vessels have been involved in one out of every ten rescue operations. Organizations represented at the meeting included IOM, UNHCR, UNOHCHR, UNODC and the EU Naval Forces, as well as several trade and commercial bodies.
Among other recent discussions on migration, the UN hosted an Expert Group Meeting that outlined the challenges for public-sector organizations implementing migration-related aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Convening in New York, US, on 1 November, the EGM took stock of countries’ policies and institutional arrangements for managing large-scale migrant and refugee movements. Delegates took part in sessions on: the key challenges for public institutions; lessons learned on various issues related to the SDGs and migration; how national and local governments can work together to respond to the needs of migrants and promote the SDGs; and people’s engagement in integrated approaches. The EGM discussions will feed into preparation of the World Public Sector Report 2017, published by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
On 2 November, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) launched the first-ever atlas showing rural migration patterns in sub-Saharan Africa, titled ‘Rural Africa in motion: Dynamics and drivers of migration south of the Sahara.’ Through maps and case studies, the atlas highlights migration not only among countries but also within national borders. FAO notes the high rate of population increase in the region: sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where the rural population will continue to grow after 2050. Kostas Stamoulis, FAO, argued that investing in agriculture and rural development in sub-Saharan Africa should be part of any response to large migratory movements. [ESCAP Press Release on Regional Preparatory Meeting] [‘Towards Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in the Asia-Pacific Region’] [Report of ESCAP Meeting] [Regional Consultations on Global Compact] [IMO Press Release] [DESA EGM Webpage] [Call for Contributions to World Public Sector Report 2017] [Press Release on Rural Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa] [Rural Africa in Motion: Dynamics and Drivers of Migration South of the Sahara]