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Chapter X:International migration - A. International migration and development


Basis for action

10.1. International economic, political and cultural interrelations play an important role in the flow of people between countries, whether they are developing, developed or with economies in transition. In its diverse types, international migration is linked to such interrelations and both affects and is affected by the development process. International economic imbalances, poverty and environmental degradation, combined with the absence of peace and security, human rights violations and the varying degrees of development of judicial and democratic institutions are all factors affecting international migration. Although most international migration flows occur between neighbouring countries, interregional migration, particularly that directed to developed countries, has been growing. It is estimated that the number of international migrants in the world, including refugees, is inexcess of 125 million, about half of them in the developing countries. In recent years, the main receiving countries in the developed world registered a net migration intake of approximately 1.4 million persons annually, about two thirds of whom originated in developing countries. Orderly international migration can have positive impacts on both the communities of origin and the communities of destination, providing the former with remittances and the latter with needed human resources. International migration also has the potential of facilitating the transfer of skills and contributing to cultural enrichment. However, international migration entails the loss of human resources formany countries of origin and may give rise to political, economicor social tensions in countries of destination. To be effective, international migration policies need to take into account the economic constraints of the receiving country, the impact of migration on the host society and its effects on countries of origin. The long-term manageability of international migration hinges on making the option to remain in one's country a viable one for all people. Sustainable economic growth with equity and development strategies consistent with this aim are a necessary means to that end. In addition, more effective use can be made ofthe potential contribution that expatriate nationals can make tothe economic development of their countries of origin.

Objectives

10.2. The objectives are:

  1. To address the root causes of migration, especially those related to poverty;
  2. To encourage more cooperation and dialogue between countries of origin and countries of destination in order to maximize the benefits of migration to those concerned and increase the likelihood that migration has positive consequences for the development of both sending and receiving countries;
  3. To facilitate the reintegration process of returning migrants.

Actions

10.3. Governments of countries of origin and of countries of destination should seek to make the option of remaining in one's country viable for all people. To that end, efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social development, ensuring a better economic balance between developed and developing countries and countries with economies in transition, should be strengthened. It is also necessary to increase efforts to defuse international and internal conflicts before they escalate; to ensure that the rights of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, and indigenous people are respected; and to respect the rule of law, promote good governance, strengthen democracy and promote human rights. Furthermore, greater support should be provided for the attainment of national and household food security, for education, nutrition, health and population-related programmes and to ensure effective environmental protection. Such efforts may require national and international financial assistance, reassessment of commercial and tariff relations, increased access to world markets and stepped-up efforts on the part of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to create a domestic framework for sustainable economic growth with an emphasis on job creation. The economic situation in those countries is likely to improve only gradually and, therefore, migration flows from those countries are likely to decline only in the long term; in the interim, the acute problems currently observed will cause migration flows to continue for the short-to-medium term, and Governments are accordingly urged to adopt transparent international migration policies and programmes to manage those flows.

10.4. Governments of countries of origin wishing to foster the inflow of remittances and their productive use for development should adopt sound exchange rate, monetary and economic policies, facilitate the provision of banking facilities that enable the safe and timely transfer of migrants' funds, and promote the conditions necessary to increase domestic savings and channel them into productive investment.

10.5. Governments of countries of destination are invited to consider the use of certain forms of temporary migration, such as short-term and project-related migration, as a means of improving the skills of nationals of countries of origin, especially developing countries and countries with economies in transition. To that end, they should consider, as appropriate, entering into bilateral or multilateral agreements. Appropriate steps should betaken to safeguard the wages and working conditions of both migrantand native workers in the affected sectors. Governments ofcountries of origin are urged to facilitate the return of migrants and their reintegration into their home communities, and to devise ways of using their skills. Governments of countries of origin should consider collaborating with countries of destination and engaging the support of appropriate international organizations in promoting the return on a voluntary basis of qualified migrants whocan play a crucial role in the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology. Countries of destination are encouraged to facilitate return migration by adopting flexible policies, such as the transferability of pensions and other work benefits.

10.6. Governments of countries affected by international migration are invited to cooperate, with a view to integrating the issue into their political and economic agendas and engaging in technical cooperation to aid developing countries and countries with economies in transition in addressing the impact of international migration. Governments are urged to exchange information regarding their international migration policies and the regulations governing the admission and stay of migrants in their territories. States that have not already done so are invited to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

10.7. Governments are encouraged to consider requests for migration from countries whose existence, according to available scientific evidence, is imminently threatened by global warming andclimate change.

10.8. In cooperation with international and non-governmental organizations and research institutions, Governments should support the gathering of data on flows and stocks of international migrants and on factors causing migration, as well as the monitoring of international migration. The identification of strategies toensure that migration contributes to development and international relations should also be supported. The role of international organizations with mandates in the area of migration should be strengthened so that they can deliver adequate technical support to developing countries, advise in the management of international migration flows and promote intergovernmental cooperation through,inter alia, bilateral and multilateral negotiations, as appropriate.

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