Migration and Sustainable Development
Date: 16 April 2012
Venue: Conference room E (NLB), United Nations Headquarters, New York
Migration has represented historically a strategy to cope with a vast array of issues such as, among others, scarce resources, lack of employment opportunities and/or conflict situations. Despite often stringent migration policies which attempt to reduce migration flows, both internally and internationally, migration has been in the last decades on the rise. There are 214 million of migrants (UN DESA, 2008) in the world in addition to 740 million internal migrants (UNDP, 2009).
The negative effects that may be associated with human mobility trends are often publicly underlined. Migrants may be identified as cause for the unmanageable growth of cities in the South, the increasing unemployment levels registered in industrialized areas as well as for the swelling pressure on health and education systems of many migration receiving countries.
Although migration is often perceived as problematic, it contributes to sustainable development. In poor areas, remittances represent a consistent percentage of national GDP’s and an irreplaceable income source for thousands of families. In developed countries with ageing populations, migrant workers have become an important part of the work force. Further, it may contribute to ease the effects of issues that are increasingly impacting the globe such as intensified climate patterns, environmental degradation and demographic change. In 2010 alone, 42 million individuals were displaced due to the effects of natural hazards compared to 17 million in 2009.
To discuss these issues, in light of the UNCSD/Rio+20 Conference which will take place in June of the current year, the seminar will analyze the role that migration can play in the post-2015 development agenda and how migrants may contribute to support the sustainable development of countries of origin, transit and destination.
UNCSD "Zero" Draft Outcome Document "The Future We Want"
"Rural-Urban Migration and Adaptation Strategy for Environmental Degradation", presentation by Ms. Cecilia Martinez, Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat, NY Office
"Shifting Paradigm: The Phenomenon of Migration for Social and Economic Development" by Ms. Michele Klein Solomon, Permanent Observer, International Organization for Migration
"Climate Change and Environmentally-Induced Migration: Policy Response and Legal Perspective" by Prof. Michael B. Gerrard, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School