Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the Follow-up to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development

Published Date: 
Monday, September 22, 2014
Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer to the United Nations

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

One of the most significant contributions made by the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) was that it outlined, through its Programme of Action (POA), the most comprehensive internationally agreed text on migration of its time.

Chapters IX and X of the PoA address comprehensively issues related to both internal and international migration, and the POA was in many ways a catalyst for the substantial global debates and action on migration that have transpired since the Cairo Conference. Indeed, while our collective appreciation of the links between migration and development have become more sophisticated and evidence-based since 1994 as was demonstrated at last year’s High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, it is clear that many of the principles and objectives set forth in the PoA regarding migration remain vitally relevant to today’s efforts to achieve sustainable development.

While in the early 1990s the number of international migrants was estimated to be 154 million, today there are some 232 million international migrants; a figure that is expected to grow well into the foreseeable future. At the same time, contemporary migration patterns are significantly more complex than in the 1990s, a function of both the sheer number of migrants, of increasingly global migration flows and of migrants’ more diverse economic, social and cultural backgrounds.

As the principal intergovernmental organization on migration globally, IOM fully supports the report of the Commission on Population and Development this year in its acknowledgement that migration has increased in volume, scope, complexity and impact since the adoption of the Programme of Action, that there is an link between migration and development, and that it is the responsibility of States to promote and protect the human rights of all migrants.

IOM also supports its call on all States (of origin, transit, and destination) to (1) promote and protect effectively the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status; and (2) to address international migration through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue.

The PoA’s objectives on migration take on new salience and urgency today, and provide important lessons as we transition to a post-2015 UN Development Agenda. In this context, objectives such as ensuring migrants’ social and economic integration; eliminating discriminatory practices and ensuring protection against racism; preventing migrant trafficking and exploitation; and providing adequate health, education and social services for migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, could all be important means to implement the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals’ target of facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration. IOM is working with its partners, including the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Development, partner agencies of the Global Migration Group and civil society representatives, to identify concrete indicators to help measure and monitor the development unlocking potential of migration and to ensure that the human and labour rights of migrants, displaced persons and refugees are fully realized, as a means of ensuring the universality of the new development agenda and that no one is left behind.

We hope that the ICPD’s important contribution to this discourse will continue to stimulate dialogue and action on these issues from 2014 and beyond.

Thank you.