Speeches and Talk
Date Publish

Forty-fourth Session of the Commission for Social Development, United Nations: Review of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006)

Madam Chairperson,

First of all, allow me to congratulate you and the other members
of the Bureau on your election.

Madam Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and

On behalf of the International Organization for Migration (IOM),
I would like to convey our appreciation for the opportunity to
address the forty-fourth session of the Commission for Social
Development on the priority theme: Review of the First UN Decade
for the Eradication of Poverty. In my statement, I will focus on
three issues: first, I will refer to the link between poverty and
migration; I will then turn to the related issue of migrants’
integration; and finally I will briefly refer to the upcoming
High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development to be held later
this year in the General Assembly.

Regarding the first issue: Migration by itself is not a
development strategy, but it does have a number of direct impacts
on development and poverty reduction.  Migration, therefore
rightly needs to be considered as one of many factors to be
included in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and other national
development strategies to achieve the MDGs.

So far, however, there has been little systematic assessment of
the extent to which states are currently considering migration in
order to achieve positive development outcomes and to address
poverty.  Remittances are an important financial inflow to
developing countries where they have alleviated poverty by
improving the standard of living through essential resources for
food, housing, health and education.

To further explore the poverty-reducing potential of
remittances, right today in Cotonou, the Government of Benin in
cooperation with IOM and the Office of the High Representative for
the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and
the Small Island Developing States, and with the support of UNDP
and others, has timely organized a two-day Ministerial Conference
of the Least Developed Countries on Enhancing the Development
Impact of Remittances.  This ministerial-level conference is
also bringing together experts from the private sector, diaspora
associations and international organizations, along with other
government officials.  This conference represents a unique
opportunity to explore the ways in which remittances can be
enhanced for the purpose of poverty reduction and will conclude
with the adoption of a series of recommendations to optimize the
development benefits of remittances and to mobilize support for
their implementation.  These recommendations may provide a
timely input for the upcoming High-Level Dialogue and for the
mid-term comprehensive global review on the implementation of the
Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the
Decade 2001-2010 this September.

Madam Chairperson,

Regarding the second issue, viz. “integration of
migrants”: As the Report of the Secretary-General recalls,
during the Decade there has been a progressive broadening of the
definition of poverty, which now also encompasses concerns about
vulnerability and social exclusion, concepts which often apply to
migrants. In addition, the Commission has recognized at its
forty-third session that the attainment of the MDGs and the
implementation of the Copenhagen commitments are mutually
reinforcing. It is worth recalling that those commitments
explicitly recognize the special situation of international
migrants, and underscore the need to promote equitable
opportunities and integration, particularly for documented migrant
workers and members of their families. Much progress has been made
since Copenhagen to translate this social integration agenda into
action, in what has become an extremely dynamic “migration
environment”. Similarly the patterns of human mobility have
continued to evolve and adjust to new circumstances, making the
public perception of migrants a highly debated and frequently
divisive topic, where misinformed assumptions and negative
stereotypes often prevail.

In sum, while many of the objectives set forth a decade ago
remain the goals of today, our collective appreciation of their
relevance and complexity has increased and sharpened, along with a
prevailing recognition that migration is an essential, inevitable
and potentially beneficial component of the economic and social
life of every state and every region. This realization has
stimulated a call for constructive dialogue to channel migration
into safe, humane, socially cohesive and productive avenues which
benefit both individuals and societies.

To take stock of recent trends and explore future developments,
IOM’s Council will hold an international workshop on the
Integration of Migrants, in Geneva on July 12-13. In preparing for
this important meeting, we have identified a certain number of
themes as particularly relevant, including:

  • the meaning of integration today and a possible new definition
    of the term, taking into account multidirectional paths of
    migration, transnational migration, temporary and permanent
    approaches, multiple generations of migrants and the practicalities
    in dealing with irregular migrants;
  • integration in different domains such as employment, religion,
    health care and welfare;
  • the security aspects of integration;
  • the rights and obligations of migrants and societies in the
    integration process, such as the role of countries of origin,
    diasporas and the media and public opinion;
  • the role and contributions of business and civil society.

We believe that the themes of this workshop are of interest to
the Commission, and I am therefore pleased to extend an invitation
to the Bureau of the Commission to attend the meeting.

Madam Chairperson,

Regarding the third issue: Migration managed effectively to best
foster the integration of migrants and the contribution of
migration in fighting poverty both constitute important topics to
be discussed at the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration
and Development, which will take place on September 14-15. IOM
attaches the greatest importance to a successful High-Level
Dialogue, and is actively engaged in its preparation, together with
Member States and relevant UN entities. We are convinced that the
High-Level Dialogue offers a unique opportunity to together find
new avenues for concerted action on these and other crucial aspects
of migration. IOM stands ready to support any activity that the
Commission on Social Development would recommend to adopt as its
contribution to the High-Level Dialogue and would support the
Commission’s potential consideration of the integration of
migrants as an emerging issue into the future review of its

Thank you.