22 August 2012, New York, USA — The UNITAR New York Office, together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the MacArthur Foundation and in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), organized a Seminar on “Rio+20 Outcome and Migration: including all stakeholders in the future we want”, as part of the 2012 Migration and Development Seminar Series. The seminar aimed to explore the contextual analysis of the Rio+20 Conference Outcome Document and oversee the challenges and opportunities facing migrants especially from an economic, social and environmental perspective. It gathered over fifty participants from the United Nations, international organizations, civil society and the academic field.
H.E. Mr. Eduardo Jose Atienza De Vega, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations, launched the seminar by highlighting the need to overcome misconceptions of the Rio+20 Conference. Far from being a failure, the Outcome Document is a preliminary decision that would need to be implemented by the States. It is an ongoing process where all countries will have to collaborate. Ms. Cecilia Martínez (Director of UN-Habitat New York Office) added that it was time to press countries and local authorities to implement the ideas discussed in the Rio+20 Conference. It is a matter of good will and not of lack of knowledge. By combining top-down and bottom-up policies, needs will be addressed and policies put in place effectively and efficiently. The Rio+20 Conference is a starting point for responses to global challenges, remarked Mr. Daniel Schensul (Population and Development Branch, United Nations Population Fund – UNFPA). Urbanization could provide many opportunities if the right planning is provided. Migration could in fact be an opportunity for livelihoods when the right social policies are there to give support.
Participants also benefited from the experience of Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Coordinator of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, who gave a vivid speech on the positive outcomes of Rio+20 Conference, especially in reference to migration. Mr. Kevin Cassidy (International Labour Organization (ILO), New York Liaison Office), addressed the power of green jobs for migration. He pointed out the important developments that could be found in the Rio+20 Outcome document from an ILO perspective, namely the central role of decent work for sustainable development, accompanied by a much more stronger social perspective in the Outcome document, and a recognized role for social partners. Overall, participants agreed with Ms. Thompson that Rio+20 provided a useful framework to help all stakeholders to get the right policy on every aspect of sustainable development and encouraged them to “make the language of the text live”.