Migration as an opportunity for development

Geneva. High-ranking figures and representatives from some 160 countries are meeting today and tomorrow in a conference in Geneva to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by migration. The event was opened by Federal Councillor and head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) Simonetta Sommaruga. The meeting marks the end of Switzerland's presidency of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

In her opening speech, Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga emphasised that it is in Switzerland’s national interest to make a global commitment. She called for global partnerships and a dialogue on an equal footing to meet the challenges of migration more effectively and noted that the Global Forum on Migration and Development is an ideal vehicle for this. Because migration should be undertaken by choice, not by necessity, people should have prospects in their home countries. Mrs Sommaruga also drew attention to the central importance of migration for Switzerland’s past and present development.

Switzerland chaired the GFMD this year under the direction of Eduard Gnesa, Special Ambassador for International Cooperation on Migration Issues.  In close collaboration with various States, Switzerland organised 14 regional working meetings around the world under the motto "Taking Action on Migration and Development – Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation". The final conference was prepared during these regional meetings.  Switzerland’s presidency of the GFMD focused on three themes: labour mobility and its potential for development, the fight against irregular migration, and the integration of migration issues in development policies at national and multilateral levels. The challenge now, said Ambassador Gnesa, is to deepen the knowledge and experience we have gained and subsequently to integrate it in a consistent way in national and global migration and development policies.

As its presidency of the GFMD—which was funded by the Federal Office for Migration, the Political Affairs Directorate of the FDFA and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)—draws to a close, Switzerland shows a positive balance sheet: among other things, the presidency afforded it an extraordinary opportunity to play a major role in shaping the multilateral dialogue on migration and development. It was able to strengthen cooperation with States that are of particular of interest to it in the field of migration and development policy. Switzerland distinguished itself with innovative approaches and proven measures.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is the only international forum that invites States and representatives of international organisations at a global level to reflect jointly about migration and development issues and to share experiences. The GFMD addresses issues of concern to countries of migration origin, transit and destination, and searches constructive solutions. The Forum was established in 2006 by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.



Last modification 01.12.2011

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