First of all I would like to thank the organisers for this very timely event and for the invitation to co-Chair this session.
Migration has always been a priority issue for the European Union and its Member States and we remain firmly committed to ensure a successful HLD, to which we attach great importance. Maximising the positive impact of migration on the economic and social development of partner countries remains a key policy priority for us. Since 2005 migration and development is recognised as one of the four operational priorities of the Global Approach to Migration & Mobility, which provides the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy. Migration has also been included as a specific priority of the new EU development policy, the Agenda for Change.
As noted in the EU statement delivered during the Second Committee General Debate last October, the EU and its Member States believe that the HLD should contribute to ‘broadening the current development and migration agenda, notably by recognising changing migration patterns… and by better addressing South-South migration and the role that can be played in economic and social development’. We also called for the HLD to explore possibilities to be considered ‘for ensuring that the important links between migration and development are adequately recognised in the post-2015 development framework.
We look forward to engaging with partners at the HLD to further work towards realising these objectives, notably through Roundtable 1, which is the focus of this meeting.
Though it is mentioned in the UN Millenium Declaration, migration does not currently feature in the objectives or indicators of the MDGs. Nevertheless, thanks in part to the first HLD and the GFMD, recognition has grown at international level of the impact of migration on the MDGs. Indeed, the relevance of migration for the MDGs has been mentioned in UN Resolutions on Migration and Development (e.g. 63/225 of 2009).
As recognised by the UN Task Team report on the post-2015 development agenda, migration can exert both positive and negative impacts on development. It is therefore both a development challenge and an opportunity for all affected countries and for migrants themselves.
The EU therefore looks forward to further reflecting on the evidence on the complex links between migration and development, and to considering how these could be recognised into the post-2015 framework. Little attention has so far been given to the issue of the development impacts of migration – including forced migration – to destination countries of the South. Therefore, we would like to encourage that sufficient attention is given to this issue during the forthcoming discussions on the post-2015 framework.
Let me also note that a clear sign of the importance of today’s topic for the EU is the fact that the European Commission is organising a roundtable with a very similar focus early next week in Brussels (30 Jan). The meeting will be broader in focus, looking at ‘the role of migration in development strategies’, including both national and regional development plans, and the post-2015 framework. I believe that some of the speakers at this event today will also be present inBrusselsnext week.
This roundtable is being organised as part of European Commission preparations of a Communication to prepare the EU position on the HLD, which will also make proposals for broadening the EU’s own action on migration and development. This Communication will be adopted by the Commission in late spring. We hope that these various activities being organised, including today’s event, will provide a valuable contribution to achieving positive results at the HLD.
I wish you a successful meeting.