Migration is “a defining feature of humanity and our world”, the UN chief tells the General Assembly, launching his second report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
“Migration is a fact of life” and a “positive phenomenon” that enriches societies and economies, Secretary-General António Guterres said.
However, if poorly managed, it generates huge challenges, he added, “from tragic loss of life, to rights abuses and social tensions”, which is why effectively managing migration and protecting their rights, requires “strengthened international cooperation”.
“The Global Compact reflects the commitment of the international community to make migration work for all – to make it a source of prosperity and solidarity, not a byword for inhumanity”, he stated.
“Large migration flows today are essentially managed by smugglers and human traffickers. This is totally unacceptable”, said Mr. Guterres, stressing the need for safe and regular migration.
He painted a grim picture of “these criminals” robbing people of their fundamental rights, stealing their dreams, and causing serious problems around the world, with “women and girls targeted again and again”.
The only way to break the stranglehold of smugglers and traffickers is to establish pathways for regular migration in close cooperation between countries of origin and destination, according to the UN chief.
“We must better protect migrants in vulnerable situations, including those affected by disasters and the climate crisis…expand and diversify rights-based pathways for regular migration to address labour market shortages, and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
In the last seven years, nearly 50,000 migrant deaths have been recorded across the world, although the actual numbers are higher.
“Behind each number is a human being”, said the UN chief, outlining the priority of preventing loss of life and other tragedies during migration, and ending the exploitation of the vulnerable.
Calling their deaths “a source of collective shame”, the UN chief said it is “a humanitarian imperative and a moral and legal obligation” to eliminate smuggling and human trafficking.
Describing “collaboration and cooperation” across all States as “the cornerstones” of the Global Compact, the Secretary-General drew attention to the UN Network for Migration, which has established a Capacity Building Mechanism – with a Migration Network Hub and Multi-Partner Trust Fund – to help achieve this.
Mr. Guterres expressed hope that during the International Migration Review Forum IMRF – which will kick off tomorrow and run until Friday – his report should help prepare “tangible, ambitious and actionable pledges” for a “strong political outcome” that fosters “global solidarity towards migrants…and build[s] more resilient and inclusive societies.”
Hosting the briefing, General Assembly Abdulla Shahid said the report would play a key role during the IMRF.
“As we anticipate the first review of the Global Compact, we must aspire to far reaching and ambitious outcomes”, he said, adding that the forum must be “a space to discuss common challenges, rectify failures, and explore avenues to strengthen partnerships between States and stakeholders”.
Mr. Shahid called on Member States to take “concrete actions” to foster bilateral and regional cooperation…accelerate the implementation of the selected programmes in the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund and contribute to the dedicated funding window.
As “a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach is vital” for the IMRF, he encouraged the participants to consult with their national counterparts in preparing national strategies and invite local stakeholders to join their delegations.
In view of the progress already made, he also called on Member States to maintain strong momentum going forward by “harnessing the power of multilateralism”, to achieve the Global Compact’s goals and address the needs of “all migrants and host-communities alike”.