Opening remarks by H.E. Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at HLPF Side Event-VNR Lab on migration , 12 July 2021

I thank you, Madam Moderator.

Excellencies, Director General Vitorino, Distinguished Colleagues – Good evening from Dhaka.

On behalf of the co-chairs of the Friends of Migration—Bangladesh, Benin, Ireland, and Mexico, I have the honour to welcome you all to this VNR Lab on Migration.

We are very pleased to have with us today Mr. Antonio Vittorino, Director General of IOM and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration.  I take this opportunity to commend your leadership, Mr. Director General; and to extend our deep appreciation to all IOM staff on the frontline for their courage and commitment, and their invaluable work during this unprecedented pandemic crisis for migrants globally.  Our deep tribute also to all migrant organizations for their dedicated work.  [Thank you]

The objective of today’s Lab is to highlight the good practices in addressing migration-related issues in VNRs as well as identifying priorities for the first IMRF to be held in 2022.

We are very pleased to have with us a rich panel of experts to share their views.


Excellencies, Dear Colleagues,

The contribution of migrants to the socio-economic progress of their host countries, as well as their countries of origin, is well recognized. The 2030 Agenda has at least 10 targets pertaining to international migration, migrants, and mobility. The Global Compact on Migration and its 23 objectives establish clear interlinkages with the 2030 Agenda.

Yet we are still far from achieving these targets and objectives. The SG’s report this year on SDGs progress, as well as his report on international migration and development, provide a sobering picture. Amid strict COVID-19 mobility restrictions, migrants globally have been particularly hard-hit.  Thousands of migrants have perished along the migratory journey; and they are disproportionately impacted due to a growing trend of discrimination and xenophobia, unemployment, restrictions on movements and the threat of forced return.

Against this backdrop, the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) to be held in 2022 provides us with a good opportunity to take stock of where things stand, and coordinate actions at national and regional levels, as well as among key global stakeholders to chart out an ambitious roadmap in line with the 2030 Agenda and GCM.

Let me share a few specific points in this regard:

First, we must tap into the true potentials of migration while building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. Migrants are not part of the problem; they are part of the solutions to this crisis. During this pandemic, migrants have been the frontline contributors as doctors, health professionals, and caregivers in their communities.

Therefore, we need to ensure more innovative approaches to international cooperation in migration governance to remove barriers to safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Second, it is critical to increase national capacities of major migrant sending countries. We need enhanced partnerships in the areas of skills development, capacity building, facilitating fair and ethical recruitment, safeguarding decent work of migrants, addressing vulnerabilities of migrants, and promoting faster, safer, and cheaper transfer of remittances, among others.

The pandemic has had a drastic impact on migrant workers and global remittances flow. Many remittance receiving households were forced into poverty and economic hardship. It is imperative to support the migrant workers during this crisis and help integrate them better in the post-Covid job market.

We look forward to hearing the expert opinions of some VNR presenting countries in this regard. Bangladesh submitted its last VNR in 2020, where migration issues have been adequately reflected. We are pursuing a whole of society approach for implementing the GCM to help the migrant workers integrate with the post-COVID job market. And this is from this commitment, we also joined the Champions initiative launched by the Network of Migration.

Third, the international community should endeavor to further integrate migrants and mobile populations into the global development discourse.  

We need to narrow down the sharp political divides across different aspects of migration. We appreciate the efforts of the friends of migration, network of migration, and other likeminded groups to put sharper focus on migration issues during the current cycle of negotiations of the HLPF Ministerial declaration.

We are now preparing for the negotiations of the outcome document of the LDC5 conference, which I am co-chairing with the Permanent Representative of Canada.  Migration and remittances remain one of the priority issues for the LDCs. Many of them are highly dependent on remittances as a key source of their external financing. We wish to see strong support from all our partners in this regard.

Finally, it is imperative to foster global solidarity to address gaps in migrants’ protection. The need of the hour is to ensure the access of migrants to vaccines. We need strong political will to ensure the rights, well-being, and dignity of migrants during this unprecedented crisis and beyond.

I thank you all for joining us today and we look forward to a productive session.  The GOF on Migration stands committed to working closely with you all in taking forward our joint endeavours to maximize the full potentials of international migration for the benefit of migrants, their families, their home and host countries.

I shall rest it here.  Over to you, Madame Moderator.