Dr. Siegel began by stating that all parties must assume and understand that the ability to migrate is good. Much of the anti-migrant sentiment today, said Dr. Swing, is based on irrational fears, and the international community has to work to create an enabling environment for migration.
Dr. Siegel asserted that integration policies in destination countries are very important, and studies have shown that migrants that are more integrated into the fabric of their destination country are also the most engaged in aiding their country of origin. She further stated the need for a whole-of-government approach to incorporate migration into mainstream national agendas. Dr. Siegel believes that policymakers need to focus less on forced return of migrants and more on temporary return for qualified workers and other initiatives that can feed development. Migration-related development benefits should not be thrown out because of poor policy.
Ms. Porras discussed the importance of remittances, explaining that they allow families in origin countries to save, have more disposable income, and invest in their national economies. There needs to be an alleviation of remittance transaction costs as well as reform regarding the taxation of remittances.
Mr. Faal emphasized the need to focus on creating partnerships to factor migration into sustainable development goals. He thinks policymakers need to address the possibility of transforming remittances into serious macroeconomic factors. Further, he believes that mechanisms should be created for transnational social and commercial investment, allowing migrant communities to invest in development in their origin countries.
Meeting: Panel Discussion on Migration in the Post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda.
Date: 17 December 2014
Location: Conference Room 8, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: H.E. Heiko Thoms, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN; H.E. Juan Carlos Mendoza-García; Mr. Gibril Faal, Senior Research Associate at the Foreign Policy Center, Chairman of the Africa Foundation for Development, Director of GK Partners; Dr. Melissa Siegel, Associate Professor/Senior Researcher at Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Head of Migration Studies Training & Research Projects; Ms. Laura Porras Alfaro, Associate of Migration, Remittances and Development, Inter-American Dialogue; Ambassador William Swing, Director-General, International Organization for Migration; Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Ms. Jane Stewart, Special Representative to the UN and Director of the International Labor Organization Office for the UN.
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey