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ECLAC’S Executive Secretary Calls on the UN System to Address the Fundamental Causes of Migration

26 February 2019|News

Alicia Bárcena moderated a high-level panel during an expert symposium on migration and development in New York.


Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary, during the meeting held in New York
Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary, during the meeting held in New York.
Photo: UN Web TV

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, called today on the international community, and the agencies of the United Nations system in particular, to address the roots and fundamental causes of migration in order to confront the problem posed by people’s displacement in diverse parts of the world.

The senior UN official moderated a high-level panel on migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the framework of an expert symposium on international migration and development, held this Tuesday, February 26, at the United Nations central headquarters in New York. This event was organized by the international organization’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), with support from the office of the Presidency of the UN General Assembly and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Participants on the panel included António Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira Vitorino, Director General of the IOM; Santiago Javier Chavez Pareja, Vice Minister for Human Mobility of Ecuador and designated Chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2019; Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants; and Richard Blewitt, Head of Delegation and Permanent Representative to the United Nations of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

In her remarks, Alicia Bárcena emphasized the connection existing between migration and the 2030 Agenda. “There’s an urgent need to close gaps of migration. In this regard, the 2030 Agenda allows us to make progress on structural gaps and address the causes at the root of displacement,” she indicated. She also stressed the importance of the regional dimension of migration issues and the need to have standardized and reliable data that allow all the stakeholders involved to correctly assess the magnitude of this reality.

ECLAC’s Executive Secretary explained that international migration is an increasingly complex phenomenon since today there are 258 million migrants in the world living outside their countries of origin. In addition, many countries have become countries of origin, transit and destination, and intraregional and South-South migration flows have intensified in recent years, with different drivers, opportunities and legal regimes both in the countries of origin and destination.

Bárcena also highlighted the important example set by Latin America on migration issues with the comprehensive development plan achieved recently in the northern triangle of Central America between Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Furthermore, she stressed that with proper management, migration can be a driver of economic development and innovation, an opportunity for exchanging knowledge and ideas across countries and cultures, and a path for individuals and their families to build better lives for themselves and their loved ones.

“The UN Regional Commissions, of which ECLAC is one, can provide support on data and on getting to the heart of the problem in terms of inequality and economic opportunities,” she added. “We have the possibility of helping with follow-up and monitoring of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, approved in Marrakech a few months ago, and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to migration.”

Finally, Alicia Bárcena underscored the importance of strengthening regional cooperation on migration matters and the production of reliable data disaggregated not just by gender but also by other relevant population groups (such as indigenous peoples, for example), along with the creation of partnerships to address the problem, both with the private sector as well as governments, non-governmental organizations and other groups that are involved.