Statement of His Excellency Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations on behalf of LDCs in the Second Committee on International Migration and Development under Agenda item no. 21 (b)
UN Headquarters, New York, 18 October 2016
Thank you, Mr. Chair
1. I deliver this statement on behalf of the 48 least developed countries. We align ourselves with the statement made by Thailand on behalf of the G77 and China. However, we would like to highlight some key issues that are highly pertinent to LDCs.
2. A variety of factors spanning over demographic, economic, environmental and geopolitical forces increasingly driving international migration flows. Rapid population ageing is creating labour market imbalances and fiscal pressures in high-income countries. The devastating impacts of climate change and disasters have also emerged as another important driver of migration. According to a recent World Bank report, increased drought and desertification, rising sea levels, repeated crop failures, and more intense and frequent storms are likely to increase internal migration and, to a lesser extent, international migration. However, such movement would rise with further escalation of disasters and crises. A recent study finds that “in areas affected by climate change, climate factors account for one-tenth to one-fifth of today’s migration”.
3. Migration is a multi-dimensional reality and is of considerable relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination. Interrelationship between international migration and development is a complex one and poses both opportunities and challenges that require our collective attention. Migration facilitates movement of goods, entrepreneurial skills, capital and addresses information asymmetries. Migration also involves costs, such as brain drain, especially associated with the migration of professionals including doctors, engineers, scientists, teachers and other high-skilled labours. The transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the importance of migration in furthering development and includes a number of targets on migration and related issues.
4. We live in an increasingly globalized world. Yet, social mobility remains limited and subject to high protectionism. In an increasingly inter-connected world, goods, services and all factors of production need to move unhindered. Spread and speed of knowledge and technology make it even more compelling across economies and societies. Let me underline a few aspects that need to be considered to promote safe, orderly and regular migration and to derive increased benefits out of it:
First: migration and mobility need to be placed at the center of the global development discussions. There must be strong synergies between international migration and development at all levels, including the global, regional, national and local levels. In this regard, we express our satisfaction over the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted at the high level plenary meeting of the General Assembly on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants on 19 September 2016.
Second: Illiberal ideology and protectionist policies often lead to human trafficking and illegal migration. It is astonishing that more than 4,300 migrants have died this year trying to reach
their destinations. This figure compels us to act collectively to address this challenge. Free and liberalized labour market, especially in the developed countries, could address these challenges to a greater extent. We also need to consider circular migration of highly skilled persons, especially in the health, social and engineering sectors. Both home and host countries should provide continued skills development and vibrant entrepreneurial thinking. There is also a treaty-bound obligation for the WTO Members. We call for the implementation of the Bali Ministerial decision to grant preferential treatment to services and service suppliers from LDC members without further delay. There should be internationally agreed norms to set the costs related to migration. Public private-partnerships are vitally important. The UN system should play a major role in this regard.
Third: Protection of migrants in their countries of origin, transit and destination is an enduring challenge for decades. Ensuring all human rights of the migrants, irrespective of their status, should be binding guidelines for all countries, in full compliance with all relevant UN conventions, treaties as well as its Charter and standards. Appropriate recognition, equal rights and privileges, social integration, access to health and education and mutual recognition of the educational and professional qualifications and competencies of migrants are essential to exploit the full benefits of migration.
Fourth: The absence of a strong global governance mechanism of the international migration provides a safe heaven for unscrupulous actors such as smugglers, traffickers and criminals to foster illegal migration. Thus, countries, migrants, and host communities all lose out the benefits and only bear the exorbitant costs of migration. Therefore, time has come to design a robust migration governance architecture under the auspices of the United Nations. Effective migration governance requires institutional and legal frameworks that can deal with all aspects of migration. The Ninth Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in Dhaka in December 2016 will provide an important platform to deliberate on the governance of international migration.
Finally: Remittances constitute an important source of private capital that complement domestic savings. These are instrumental in improving the well-being of recipients. Remittances cannot be equated to other sources of public finance for development. Cost of remittances is immensely high. Realization of target 10.c of the 2030 Agenda to reduce the transaction costs of migrant remittances to less than 3 per cent would greatly enhance the economic benefits of migration. It is equally important to undertake necessary measures at the country level to ensure productive investment of the remittances. Diaspora bonds can be an important financial instrument for mobilizing diaspora savings to finance specific public and private sector projects. The WBG has set up a Task Force for the Implementation of Diaspora Bonds to provide technical assistance to clients. This is a welcome initiative and should be extended to all LDCs.
The Group of LDCs would like to see all these priorities be duly reflected in the upcoming Global Compact in balanced and flexible manner which would be adopted by the UNGA in 2018.
I thank you for your attention.