Date of Meeting: 12 Jul 2016

ISJC Staff Present: Luke Cozens

Reporter: Luke Cozens

Which SDG does this topic cover? 5, 8, 11, 13, 16

Type of meeting: Side event

Brief summary of presentation of information made


  • It is important to understand the value of migrants and to being to change the narrative around migration.
    • Migrants bring energy, innovation, diversity and support to host economies.
  • There is great positive potential in migration and we must empower women to unleash it.
  • The Secretary General has said that we need to reassert our humanity.
  • Women and girl refugees face particular difficulties and are at particular risk.
  • Policy recommendations based on Agenda 2030 and The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
    • Increase the availability of services for those migrating
    • Mainstream gender-based policy and advocacy, in collaboration with local NGOs.
    • Increase national capacity to respond to the needs of female migrants.

American Civil Liberties Union

  • The Syrian Refugee crisis is only part of the Global Crisis.
  • In the USA, there is a rise in anti-refugee sentiment, refugee scapegoating, and Islamophobia.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

  • Migrant workers are a key demographic; the search for work is soon to become the primary international issue.
  • The ILO are soon to release a set of guiding principles for helping migrants and displaced persons access the job market.

Division for Ocean Affairs

  • There are substantial duties of nations regarding safe migration across the seas according to international maritime law based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
  • The secretary has called for a global compact on migration and the law of the sea should be included in these discussions; the most perilous migrations begin at sea.
  • There is a duty of a shipmaster to render all possible assistance, at all possible speed, to those at risk of being lost at sea and to provide to their medical needs and deliver them to a place of safety. This duty stands regardless of the nationality or circumstances of the people requiring assistance.


  • The composition of people migrating has changed; there have been great increases in the numbers of women and children migrating and particularly numbers of unaccompanied children.
  • People [only] allow their children to leave because of the terrible situations which they are facing in their place of origin.
  • We must think about the human nature of children.

UN Group of Small Island Developing States

  • Migration has been a significant phenomenon across time.
  • Environmental considerations are extremely important. They wash away homes and destroy clean water sources and thereby cause migration.

NGO Committee on Migration

  • There is a need for specific action and concrete examples that go beyond the Sustainable Development Goals.

From Floor

  • There is a gulf between the conversation in this meeting and conversations happening outside.
    • There is an increasing vilification and dehumanisation of migrants.
  • The costs of absorbing new migrants are much less than the benefits gained by a host nation. We need to move past the myths.
  • The meetings in September [for the global compact] will be essential.


  • “Brexit” is causing a lot of uncertainty.

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRCRC)

  • The next step is to prepare for the [global compact] summit in September.
    • It is incredibly important to have clear information. For migrants information is often their top priority, when migrants arrive at IFRCRC centres their first question is “Do you have wifi?”


  • The links between development and humanitarian aid are clearest with migrants.
  • There is significant exploitation of people on the move by criminal networks.
    • Criminal networks thrive where no legal pathways exist and where we turn a blind eye.
    • The distinction between smuggling and trafficking should be emphasised.
  • There are cross-sectoral vulnerabilities.
  • Scrutinising the movement of people overshadows Human Rights.
    • Language of “swarms” and “invasions” leads to so called “solutions” which are actually denials of Human Rights.
    • Every region is seeing links between xenophobia and more punitive policies.
  • Migration is beginning to find its place at the UN table.

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

  • The Secretary-General has called a Global Compact in September to address the issue of migration. The Salvation Army is in a strong and perhaps unique position to offer support given our international structures and systems combined with local level engagement in both origin and host communities and our existing work against human trafficking, which is not unrelated. The Salvation Army may wish to consider the development of an internationally structured response to migration as a whole which is one of the biggest human needs today.
  • There is lots of toxic language and misunderstanding around migration. The Salvation Army may wish to consider how it can work with partners to “change the narrative” around migration. We would be able to support many communications and awareness raising campaigns, not least through our various social media accounts.
  • The Salvation Army may wish to consider its approach to gender-based policy and how it can promote gender equality through its work with migrants.


Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG13: Climate Action