IOM DG Highlights Migration Priorities in 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Capacity Building

Seoul - IOM Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) on May 10th co-hosted an event at Yonsei University featuring IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

The event - People on the Move: Global Migration - Our Role in Achieving Sustainable Development – examined the importance of human mobility and the need for the engagement of young people in the pursuit of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.)

IGEE is a leading Korean institution dedicated to promoting sustainable international development and is co-chaired by former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

In his presentation to over 160 mainly young people, Ambassador Swing highlighted the links between global migration and the SDGs. In the spirit of “leave no one behind”, he encouraged the audience to work together to meet the needs of migrants and protect the most vulnerable.

“Migrants cannot remain just a number to be counted. Although we are confronted with a number of challenges in paving a humane way forward, there is some progress. More States have now come together for a constructive discussion on migration. At this critical time, we need to join forces to remove the root causes of displacement and reduce the risks faced by migrants,” he said.

In his speech, Director General Swing noted the importance of forging a global consensus on comprehensive migration governance. The development of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) could result in a whole-of-the international community, whole-of-government and whole-of society approach to address emerging migration challenges, he noted.

“The adoption of the GCM in 2018 will be an opportunity for greater global development and will provide a vital lifeline for many. We will need to ensure follow-up that will make a real difference in the lives of migrants,” he added.

The discussion, moderated by former UN Under Secretary General Wonsoo Kim, identified key principles to enhance inter-state cooperation on migration governance.

Session moderator Seungmi Han, an Associate Professor in Japanese Studies at Yonsei University, encouraged young people to build more inclusive environment for migrants in Korean society.

Director General Swing’s visit to the ROK also included a series of meetings with government ministries, civil society organizations and media.

IOM ROK has organized a series of public awareness raising initiatives on migration since December 2015. These have included International Migrants Day campaigns in collaboration with renowned Korean sculptor Yi Hwan-Kwon and the Seoul Metropolitan Government. In 2017 it also organized two promotional events in Seoul with visiting presenters. Moving Stories attracted an audience of over 400 young people.

For further information, please contact IOM ROK. Miah Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email: Or Jumi Kim, Tel: +82 (0)70 4820 0292,


  • IOM DG Swing (centre), Ambassador Wonsoo Kim (left) and Professor Seungmi Han (right) discuss migration governance at the Yonsei University event. Photo: IOM