October 4, 10:00 – 1:00
Your Excellency, Mr. Patrick Abba Moro
Minister of Interior in Nigeria,
Your Excellency, Ms. Simonetta Sommaruga
Head of the Federal Department of Justice & Police of Switzerland
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the privilege to be here today and to participate in this ongoing dialogue on International Migration and Development. This dialogue is very timely as it underscores once again the UN support to and deep appreciation for migrants and migration and their contribution to development in countries of origin and destination. In fact, recent tragic incidents involving migrants who lose their lives onboard ships of death while they are on their way to new destinations, can be blunt reminder of how efforts as such, are crucial and relevant to the well-being of migrants.
International migration has grown substantially, in the last two decades. Today, some 3% of the world’s population lives outside of their country of birth.
Additionally, almost 740 million internal migrants and more than 5 million people crossing international borders every year. It is clear, that we truly live in a world that is on the move.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we acknowledge the benefits of international migration, we have to equally acknowledge that the discussion about it has reached a worrying imbalance.
As we are observing carefully at the UNAOC, the fear of the “other” has become more acute since the onset of the world financial and economic crisis. Migrants have become targets of racism, xenophobia and intolerant practices. This is presenting new challenges, particularly to host countries.
In this context, it is important to re-balance the public debate around migration. The solution is not to build walls around nations.
We need a coordinated and coherent approach. We need proactive and coordinated strategies for addressing migration: strategies at the national, regional and international levels to prevent the inhuman treatment of migrant populations.
Governments should participate in the Global Forum on Migration and International Development in order to increase cooperation and develop an integrated approach to migration and development.
As migration is one of 4 pillars of our work at The UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), we were present last year at that forum and will continue to support it. The Forum allows governments to foster a better appreciation of the advantages that migration brings to host countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are truly living in a dynamic moment in history.
The process of globalization is transforming societies, making them increasingly diverse and interconnected. This is a time of unprecedented mobility. Presently, there are 214 million international migrants. That number is expected to grow.
How this dynamic is portrayed in the media, discussed by political and cultural leaders, and managed by governments will determine whether populations view increased diversity as a source of strength or as a threat.
A look at the headlines in the news shows how migration is shaping our world.
By focusing on migration and how news stories about migrants are covered in the media, the UNAOC addresses a critical and timely issue.
The key to improving coverage begins with developing journalists’ knowledge of the subject. This is why the UNAOC regularly invites high level migration experts and journalists to share their ideas on best media practices and ways to support journalists as they turn these practices into habits.
A recent high level meeting taking place in Paris last January with high level experts and editors in chief from 30 countries led to rich debates and concrete outcomes. A Swiss edition took place in May. All these recommendations were shared via a significant social media campaign reach over 5 million people.
Youth can also help ensure that decision-makers have a complete understanding of migration and integration. Through the Plural+ Video Festival that we organize each year, we address the role of migrants in our societies and how they can contribute to development. Youth-produced media focusing on migrant rights and responsibilities in complex environments helps bring fresh visions.
Finally, the UNAOC has worked on Migration and Integration clearinghouse together with the IOM through a network of partner organizations to share good practices on the integration of migrants at the local level.
We hope to pursue these efforts with the IOM and re-launch a website.
I wish you a fruitful discussion.