Dialogue on Migration

The UN loves to talk about “cross-cutting issues,” that is, issues that impact many other issues. It so happens that all the issues on which UNANIMA focuses are really “cross cutting” in that sense. Think of our issues: women, children, poverty, trafficking, migration, environment, water, climate change…they all impact each other and many other issues besides. One of the issues coming to the fore of UN discussion is a cross-cutting issue, migration :

In October the UN General Assembly convened a “High Level Dialogue” (HLD) to address migration; this was only the second one since 2006, when the issue was first brought to the attention of member states. In the interim, a UN initiative called the Global Forum on Migration and Development has fostered continued informal dialogue among governments. At the HLD the General Assembly discussed four themes (found here) with member states, NGOs / civil society. One of the highlights was a five-year plan with the following ideas brought forth by civil society: regulating migrant labor recruitment and guaranteeing their rights, protecting migrants stranded in distress, addressing vulnerabilities of women and children, engaging migrant entrepreneurs in development, and ensuring their international rights and their place on the agenda of the Post 2015 goals that will replace the MDGs.

The message we heard over those two days was that governments should shift away from a defensive stance on migration and view it as productive and beneficial for everyone. Existing policy barriers have instead promoted xenophobia and harsh conditions, separated families, and have failed to uphold human rights. The introduction of voices of NGOs / civil society has been unprecedented in illustrating the plight of migrants to their governments. Watch for the next Global Forum meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on 12-16 May in 2014.

– Morgan Jue