I thank you Madame Moderator.
Mr. Secretary General, Director General Vitorino, Hon’ble Ministers, my good friend Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests – good afternoon.
I thank the UN Network on Migration for inviting me. I am delighted and honoured to join the Secretary General and other distinguished panelists for the launch of SG’s first biennial report on the Global Compact for Migration.
Bangladesh was closely involved in the adoption of the Global Compact; and we remain fully committed to its implementation.
Along with Spain, Bangladesh co-facilitated the modalities for the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in 2019. And we were among the first few countries to adopt policies and strategies to implement the Compact. And it was from that commitment, that we joined the “Champions” initiative. If anything, the pandemic makes us realize even more the critical need for enhanced collaboration for migration management and of the potentials of the Compact. We also acknowledge the critical role that the Network is playing in this regard.
Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Bangladesh co-led an initiative with other members of the Group of Friends on Migration to launch a Joint Statement on the ‘Impact of Covid-19 on Migrants’. This was in support of SG’s policy brief on “People on the Move”. And the statement received broad based support and endorsement from 103 Member States. I thank the SG for recognizing the impact of the Joint Statement in his report.
SG’s report rightly highlights the contribution of the migrants to the socio-economic progress of their host countries as well as their countries of origin. It is sobering however, to note the daunting challenges faced by the migrants in the pandemic situation due to job losses, salary cuts, and lack of access to social security. A particular cause of concern for many countries, including my own country Bangladesh, is the added challenge of managing the return of migrant workers, over and above, falling remittances and a shrinking overseas labour market.
The SG’s report touches upon many of these issues and provides some practical recommendations. Building on those, I would like to share some specific thoughts:
First, we must enhance international cooperation for effective implementation of the Compact, especially now to build back better from the pandemic. And I fully endorse the call for a comprehensive 360-degree approach to benefit from the knowledge and experiences from all relevant stakeholders, at the national, regional, and global levels.
To that end the initiative led by the SG, Canada, and Jamaica on Financing for Development in the era of Covid-19 and beyond is very timely. Bangladesh co-led the discussion group on external financing and remittances that identified some bold policy options to help migrants and their family members cope up with the current crisis and beyond.
Second, we need strong political will to ensure the rights, well-being, and dignity of migrants during this unprecedented crisis facing us. It is imperative to foster global solidarity to combat rising xenophobia and intolerance, and discrimination against migrants.
Third, for harnessing the development potentials of migration, we must endeavor to further integrate migration issues with the 2030 Agenda. National efforts must be supported by the UN and other international development partners and stakeholders. UNCTs can play an important role in this regard at the national level.
Fourth, we need to adopt a holistic approach looking at the post-pandemic situation, especially to help the migrant workers integrate with the ‘new normal’ of the post-COVID job market. And this should be done through imparting new skills, providing capital for small businesses, etc. Inter-agency collaboration, as well as partnership with the private sector would be critical.
Finally, we need to tap into innovative approaches of international cooperation in migration governance. Focus should be given on strengthening pathways for enhanced regular migration, skills development, and institutional capacity building, as well as safeguarding decent work of migrants.
Let me conclude by reaffirming Bangladesh’s commitment to the GCM; and we stand ready to work with all for its effective implementation.
I thank you all.