At UN Headquarters, IOM hails the contributions of migrants to sustainable development through remittances

Labour Migration

New York – International Day of Family Remittances will be celebrated this Sunday (16 June).

Today, to mark the occasion, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)—together with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and the 2019 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Chairmanship—is hosting a high-level meeting at the UN Headquarters.

Titled “Helping One Billion People Reach Their Own SDGs,” this event is being called to recognize the contributions of migrants globally, and to strengthen current partnerships to promote the development impact of remittances worldwide. In numerical terms, there are more international migrants around the world than at any other period in history, and most of them are migrant workers.

Financial remittances are private transfers of funds by an overseas worker to an individual in his or her country of origin. Financial remittances have been recognized as playing a key role in reducing poverty and improving the lives of both migrants and their families.

“IOM gladly joins partners from UN, governments, broader society and migrants themselves to observe the International Day of Family Remittances. As we meet on 16 June every year, let’s look critically at the progress we are making towards our 2030 remittance targets: cost reduction, increased transparency and ensuring migrants’ equal access to financial education and empowerment, including those offered by digitalization and new forms of finance,” said Marina Manke, Head of IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division welcoming the event participants.

She spoke on behalf of IOM Director General and UN Migration Network Coordinator, Antonio Vitorino.

The World Bank estimates that in 2018, USD 529 billion was transferred in financial remittances to low-and middle-income countries—and forecast this trend to continue upwards. One in every seven people around the world is directly supported by remittances, according to IFAD estimates.

Which is why The United Nations in 2016 designated 16 of June as its “International Day of Family Remittances,” to raise awareness on the transformative impact that migrant remittances have across the Sustainable Development Goals—particularly poverty reduction and access to basic services at the household level.

“I believe that the issue of remittances is at the very heart of the interconnection between human mobility and sustainable development,” said Ambassador Santiago Chávez, Vice Minister for Human Mobility, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador and GFMD 2019 Chair.

“This is why it has figured prominently throughout past GFMD Chairmanships. One of Ecuador’s thematic priorities this year is to shed light on linkages between human mobility and urban, as well as rural, development strategies with remittances playing a central role,” he added.

In recent years, IOM has been scaling up its support to governments and migrants to help reap the development benefits of migration. Launched in September 2018, the iDiaspora platform is an online platform to facilitate contact and collaboration between migrant communities around the world. Currently, IOM is engaged in several remittance-related projects globally, notably through an IOM/Universal Post Union (UPU) and Burundi Post initiative to reduce remittance costs in Burundi and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP)European Union (EU) Migration Action — that provides tailored technical support on remittances to ACP countries and regional organizations.

The goal of SDG target 10.C is to, by 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent. By achieving target 10.C and directly benefitting remittance recipients, it could help to reach SDG targets 3 and 4 related to education, health care and development, among others.   

Remittances can help to increase household incomes. Facilitating cheaper remittances could therefore help to meet poverty eradication targets defined under SDG target 1. Improving remittance flows can also lead to higher household savings and investments, which would help to reach SDG target 1.5 and others. Meeting SDG target 10.C could also encourage investment in specialized initiatives and activities that boost local, national regional development.  However, IOM notes that remittances are private monetary transfers, and senders and recipients are free to decide on their use.

The objective 20 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) promotes faster, safer and cheaper remittances by further developing existing conducive policy and regulatory environments that enable competition, regulation and innovation on the remittance market and by providing gender-responsive programmes and instruments that enhance the financial inclusion of migrants and their families.

For further information, please contact Deepali Fernandes at IOM LHD/Department of Migration Management, Tel: +41 22 7179547, Email:  [email protected] 

Or Olivier Grosjean at IOM RO Brussels/ACP EU Migration Action, Tel: +32 2  287 78 17, Email: [email protected]