69th Session of the UN General Assembly Agenda Item 19: Sustainable Development

Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer to the United Nations

Madame. Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is pleased to join this discussion on sustainable development, and would like to focus our intervention on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.

The Committee has before it two very important documents: the report of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and that of the Inter-governmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.

Both are vitally important inputs to our ongoing discussions on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, and indeed the General Assembly has made clear that the OWG report in particular will be the main basis of the negotiations beginning early next year.

IOM was pleased to see that migration received a great deal of attention during the OWG’s deliberations, and that it now features amongst the proposed goals and targets. The OWG report contains many important references to migration – on combatting trafficking in persons, protecting migrant worker rights, reducing the transaction costs charged for sending migrant remittances, and facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration. The target to disaggregate data – including by migration status – is also vital to ensure that migrants are afforded their full human rights and have access to health, education, and social safety nets, amongst other important issues.

Including migration in the OWG report marks a critical step towards ensuring a place for migration in the Post-2015 agenda. Its inclusion now will more properly reflect the understanding that has emerged since the MDGs were adopted in 2000, of the fundamental nature of human mobility and the recognition of its contribution to development.

Migration is, and always has been, one of the most powerful and immediate strategies for poverty reduction. It is a vital lifeline for more than one billion people today, offering opportunities to escape poverty and conflict. It has important impacts on households, with studies demonstrating that migration leads to increased incomes, improved health access and higher levels of education enrolment.

At the national level, diaspora groups and transnational communities play an important role in facilitating trade, investment, skills and technology transfers and in building cultural linkages between countries.

Globally, migration is a key factor mediating the supply and demand of labour. It is also integral to global challenges including how to respond to displacement caused by conflict, climate change and environmental degradation. Here, I would like to associate myself with the statement of IFRC regarding the importance of Disaster Risk Reduction and to advocate for reinstitution of a target related to reducing the numbers of displaced persons and refugees, whose situations negatively affect development outcomes and whose rights are too frequently ignored.

We hope that the Second Committee, and through it the General Assembly, will continue to recognise that migration is a key factor in sustainable development, and that it will build on the ambition stated at the 2013 High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, reflected in the OWG’s report, to consider migration in the elaboration of the Post-2015 Agenda.

Madame Chair,

With a global overview and capacity to provide regular updates on the migration and human mobility related policies of States around the world – supported by a field network of some 480 offices – IOM is ideally placed to assist governments to implement the migration-related aspects of the Post-2015 Agenda and to monitor migration related targets and indicators. We also stand ready to continue to provide technical support and guidance to Member States throughout their deliberations, to ensure that the new agenda contains a robust, ambitious, and transformational set of targets and indicators on migration.

Thank you.