UNAOC Group of Friends High Level Meeting | 7th Global Forum

Published Date: 
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
IOM Permanent Observer Mr Ashraf El Nour


Full webcast can be viewed here


Thank you Mr High Representative.

It is both an honour and a pleasure for me to represent the Director General of the International Organization for Migration, who couldn’t be with you today here in person. He asked me to convey his deepest regrets to the Government of Azerbaijan and to you personally.

I would like from the outset to express how we highly value the partnership that we have with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, and that we consider your mandate to be today more important than ever before. We all live in an era of unprecedented human mobility. We are confronted with high levels of population displacements, of refugees and IDPs, and we are witnessing large movements of refugees and migrants around the world. All that pushes migration up to the top of the UN and global agenda, and in that respect I would like to make the following three specific points:

 The first point is to welcome the Declaration of Baku – in particular point 9, which makes reference to the positive impact of migration – and to reaffirm our commitment to the promotion of an intercultural and interreligious dialogue. And also to advance the role that the UN Alliance of Civilizations plays in promoting a culture of peace and coexistence, noting that more than ever before we live in societies that are multicultural, and this should come to the forefront of our understanding of how we relate to each other.

The second point that I would like to make is to underscore the importance of managing diversity and tolerance. IOM, as the leading global migration agency, has a strong belief in the theme of the forum on living together in inclusive societies. We are prepared to continue to facilitate orderly mobility and meaningful integration of migrants in order to foster cohesive and participatory societies.

My third point is to underline the importance of the positive contribution of migration. It has been historically and predominantly of great positive contribution to societies but also to civilization, and the role of governments and particularly policymakers should be not just to control migration but to manage it and mange it well to the benefit of migrants and societies, recognizing that migration is inevitable and that both push and pull factors will continue to drive migration around the world. And also to recognize that migration is a necessity for the exchange of goods, skills and services and for the revitalization of knowledge and skills; migration is desirable if well-governed.

In closing, let me again reiterate our support to the UN Alliance of Civilizations mandate and to the work that you do, particularly your pillar on migration which is close to our mandate and focus of work. Reiterating also that both of us will give priority to the promotion of social coherence and interreligious and intercultural understanding, and we have a shared concern and urgent need for action to replace the current toxic and negative discourse on migration with one that is more positive and balanced, that speaks truly to the nature and value of migration throughout history.

And with that, I thank you for your attention.