Remarks on UN Secretary General's Report on International Migration and Development to the Second Committee

Teri Robl
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
October 18, 2012




AS DELIVERED

Thank you Mr. Chairman, our statement today addresses Agenda Item 22(b), International Migration and Development. The United States acknowledges with appreciation the UN Secretary General’s Report on International Migration and Development.

International migration is central to the very identity of the United States, and the contributions of immigrants from all over the world have been critical to the economic growth and development of this country. We welcome the Secretary General’s report and especially note its comment that “Respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants is essential for reaping the full benefits of international migration.”

We take great satisfaction in noting some of the important progress that recently has been made along these lines, as cited in the report. We especially welcome the report’s call for additional efforts to address the protection and assistance needs of migrant workers who are caught in situations of natural disasters, civil conflict or war. This is a timely and critical theme, with so many humanitarian crises with migration consequences in recent years—from the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, to last year’s crisis in Libya, and the current crisis in Syria, among others. The international community has been extremely generous in addressing these crises. The United States proudly assists the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other actors in responding to the plight of stranded migrants during these crises. We agree with the report’s observation that the Libya crisis served to “highlight the need for the international community to address the situation of stranded migrants more systematically.” The 2013 High Level Dialogue should provide an excellent opportunity for all UN Member States to reflect seriously on what more might be done in this regard.

Looking to the High Level Dialogue, we also recognize the important contributions that many agencies, including the International Labor Organization , with its longstanding mandate to protect the rights and promote the interests of migrant workers, as well as the World Health Organization, with its voluntary code of practice on the recruitment of health personnel, have made on key substantive issues that will be discussed at the High Level Dialogue.

The United States strongly supports the Global Forum on Migration and Development as an outcome of the first High Level Dialogue and an excellent venue in which to discuss international migration issues, share best practices, and identify potential areas for cooperation. We regard the Forum as a key way to facilitate and encourage collaboration between and among origin, transit and destination countries in addressing contemporary migration and development-related challenges.

Looking to the future, we are keen to see the Global Forum continue as an informal, non-binding, voluntary and government-led process outside the UN. The recent government-led assessment of the Forum demonstrates that the vast majority of countries agree it has been a success. We are, of course, aware of other assessments also underway, including the internal assessment of the Global Migration Group, and the overall assessment of UN efforts on international migration and development since 2006 that is being carried out at the behest of the High Level Committee on Programs. While we certainly are not opposed to having further discussions in the High Level Dialogue bearing on what the Secretary General’s report refers to as “coherence, partnerships, and coordination” in international migration, we urge that the Dialogue focus on critical substantive issues and not get bogged down on questions of institutional mandates. At the same time, we hope that Member States will recognize the need to ensure that the International Organization for Migration  the only international organization with an exclusive mandate for global migration, and which the United States regards as a valuable partner  has a prominent seat at the table.

In sum, we welcome the Secretary General’s report, and look forward to working with other Member States before and during the 2013 High Level Dialogue, in an effort to unite in addressing the critically important issues that affect origin, transit and destination countries.

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PRN: 2012/233