Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Thomas Mathew Kadavil
Sunday, January 8, 2017

"Safe orderly, regular and responsible migration” the notion of migration governance has received a great deal of attention during the discussions on the 9th Global Forum of Migration and Development 2016 at Dhaka. Shaikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh in her inaugural address made the categorical statement that "A migrant is just not a labour. Each migrant has a unique story to tell. A migrant makes so much of sacrifice as he leaves his family and country. Migrants contribute their ideas, labour and resources in the development of the host societies. They also spend their best part of life for others. Often we ignore their human stories, their inalienable rights as human beings."

GFMD Common days welcome Address was done by Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and Nurul Islam, Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment of Bangladesh, Mr. Colin Rajah, Chair of Ninth GFMD Civil Society Days, Francois Fouinat, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women Chair of the Global Migration Group (GMG), Guy Ryder, Director General, ILO, Ambassador William Lacy Swing IOM, and H. E. Wu Hongbo, Under Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, representing the Secretary General of the United Nations addressed the inauguration function.

Migration should be by choice not a necessity. This should be the thump rule. Unfortunately it is not. " Lead us to green pastures" is the prayer of humanity from time immemorial and in the coming years world will find people movement internally and across boarders double or triple the size what we experience the present day, esp in a globalized world. As estimated by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA ) 244 million economic migrants of which almost half are women and children. According to recent ILO estimates, 150 million were international labour migrants, out of which approximately 44% were women.

The present day Migration largely governed by "push" pull "factors ". Globalization and Neo-liberal economic polices followed by many governments since 1990 had created large scale national, regional and sub-regional economic inequalities, throughout the world and given greater impetus to migration. In coming years world will witness mass exodus of people due to economic and ecological push factors of poverty, unemployment, drought, floods desalination, deforestation, soil erosion etc which make agriculture no longer a profitable occupation and people will tend move internally and externally to cities and metropolis to find a living. The unbridled so called economic growth had its catastrophic impact on the environment and the Climate change is becoming a major driver of migratory movement.

The demographic imbalances with an aging North in need of workers and a younger South in need of jobs the world will eventually see south to north migration. We have a digital revolution with instant access to information where the distance reducing technologies and other drivers will ensure that many people will be migrating by either choice or necessity.

GFMD is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process open to all states members and observers of the United Nations, to advance understanding and cooperation on the mutually reinforcing relationship between migration and development and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes.

500 delegates including 300 government officials including ministers from about 125 countries and over 30 UN agencies, international organizations, global civil society, grass root level workers, trade unions, academic institutions, media and business participated in the three-day GFMD summit. In the buildup of migrant governance policies, for the last few years a new perspective of hearing the grass-root level migrant worker had emerged and about 30 gras-root level workers were invited as delegates to this GFMD. I had the pleasure to attend the GFMD on the invitation of the GFMD Steering Committee as a delegate.

The summit slated intergovernmental negotiations to adopt two compacts for migrants and refugees, and the responsibility of the civil society is to push for a comprehensive Global Compact of Migrants and Refugees that is to be adopted in 2018 at the UN. The broad consensus was that the upcoming Compact should aim for protecting the rights of all migrants, regardless of migratory status. Open channels for the safe and regular movement of migrant workers at all skill levels to meet labour market needs. Maintains the integrity of national borders. Addresses irregular migration and combats migrant smuggling and trafficking. Provides effective protection for migrants in vulnerable situations by ensuring inclusion of migrants in host societies through nondiscrimination and access to health, education and the labour market. Enhance the development impacts of migration Etc.

M J Akbar, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs speech at the opening session of the plenary well received. The highlight of his speech was India's declaration of 9-point protocol in respect of migration process. To keep migrant at the core of agenda while maintaining policy space. Focus on economic dimension of migration and eliminating barriers to economic migration. To create an environment for safe, orderly, regular, open and legal migration. Recognize skills of migrants. It should be gender sensitive. Take care of people in vulnerable situations and inclusion of differently-abled persons. Protect the human rights and stop exploitation and abuses. Reduce incidents of irregular migration including human trafficking and Respond to man made and natural disasters

For greater transparency and cohesiveness of the process all stake holders of migration should be on the same platform and this is the first time business community has been involved with the process and their opinions are also taken into account.

In the 8th GFMD 2015 at Istanbul was Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 UN agenda specific deliberations were held. The governance of labour migration thus needs to be given attention within broader deliberations international migration and it is crucial to define in precise terms the contribution that migration can make to development, including specific SDGs, so as to enable the formulation of human rights-based and gender-sensitive policies that will help realize the full potential of migration for sustainable development.

Thomas Mathew Kadavil

Express your comment on this article

Jyothidas P Narayanan
Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Great job Kadavilji... highly appreciated.

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