Date of Meeting: 25 to 26 Feb 2016

Meeting Organizer: Population Division of Economic and Social Affairs

ISJC Staff Present: Captain Kathy Crombie, Robert Docter

Reporter: Captain Kathy Crombie, Robert Docter

Which SDG does this topic cover? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17

Type of meeting: High Level Briefing

Brief summary of presentation of information made

Day One: 25 February 2016

Mr Thomas Gass - Assistant Secretary-general, UN/DESA

Global number of international migrants has risen to 244 million, increased from 71 million in 2014. Action must be taken to facilitate mobility and address the issue of forced migration. Currently migration is unsafe and disorderly because of a lack of policy that helps to manage global migration. Well managed global policies are urgently needed that will facilitate safe and
orderly migration, address the need to benefit the migration workers, reduce migration costs, and address human rights of migrants including economic despair, abuse of human rights, absence of security for migrants and lack of work opportunities for newly arrived migrants.

Mr. Peter Sutherland - Special Representative of Secretary General for Migration, “UN Migration Agenda one year from now, Challenges and Opportunities”

Currently a political and humanitarian crisis exists regarding international migration at a level we have never seen before. The crisis is a disaster because we can no longer assume a global societal reaction that is constructive. 60 million people are displaced, 20 million refugees are subjected to abuse, discrimination which is an indictment to the world we live in. The crisis in the Mediterranean has become a social point because it has provided a cause to ignore events in other parts of the world and this shouldn’t be the case.

People smuggling reaps $10.6 billion per annum, half a million people have died attempting to flee Syria, and thousands have died along the way of their journey, including thousands of children. There have been some momentary political reactions in the world, but generally a blind eye has been turned by politicians because of a fear of stirring up xenophobia. The political damage is devastating in Europe as there has been a collective failure by most Member States as they have generally been inactive in attempting to assist in this crisis. There has been much rhetoric but rhetoric now must be turned into full scale change at a multi lateral level –

  • It is not acceptable that 10 countries share the main load of taking 60% of world’s refugees – 86% of these are by developing countries
  • There remains a legal and moral obligation to refugees but this must be extended now to migrants escaping from persecution
  • There needs to be a commitment to a shared responsibility to a system that will provide legal pathways and policies that will protect refugees and migrants
  • Strategic planning at global level must take place to ensure plans, money and avoid last minute fix it foil able strategies. To have Greece as an over-crowded camp surrounded by wire and the people have no options except to go back via the sea route they came is unacceptable.
  • Member States must be able to exercise control over their borders but must not be blind to circumstances of arriving migrants. For countries to block their borders in isolation to stop flow of migrants is not a suitable answer – every member state has a role to play in solving this crisis. Individual Member states need to accept a collaborative approach and not continue to build own individual approaches in isolation.
  • Migrants must have a voice in the UN house

High level Debate on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants: Karen AbuZayd - Special Advisor to Secretary General

General Assembly is calling for a summit for discussion of this crisis on September 19th, 2016. The aim of the summit is to gain commitment to address the challenges migration poses. The positive impact of refugees and migrants needs to be maximized. Member states can no longer work in isolation – all countries including countries of origin, transition and destination must co-operate to working towards achieving the goals of 2030 Agenda.

A negative global discourse around discrimination towards refugees and migrants currently exists. This discourse focuses on threats to security, identity, job security, and fear of outsiders. These threats are not based on evidence and need to be challenged.

The root causes and reasons for migration, the dangers of travel, and uncertainty around reception on arrival all need to be examined and member States need to develop a collaborative global approach to take concrete steps to make it better. Ad hoc responses by individual member States will no longer work.

  •  Civil societies, trade unions and IOM must be included
  •  Must get a robust process to strengthen international co-operation using International law and human rights law to ensure protection and human rights of migrants.

Priorities of Global Migration Group for 2016: Lakshmi Puri – Deputy Executive Director UN Women

A historic opportunity currently exists to ensure migration is seen as a positive force.
Gender parity is evident in migration issue – half of 244 million migrants are women, yet the migrant women’s experience is different from men in recruitment, risk and vulnerability. Existing policy neglects migrant gender and age perspectives. This leaves migrant women at risk of trafficking and slavery.

Global Migration Group (GMG) is committed to

  • ensuring females and male migrants are equally impacted positively by the work of UN through policy making and keeping the focus of women in migrant debate
  • engaging in advocacy in inter-government processes for migrants
  • strengthening co-operation with stakeholders to monitor indicators, progress and evaluation with vulnerable groups to ensure SDGs are achieved and no migrants are left behind.


  • Job creation must be a consideration of the Summit - ILO expressed a need for employment aspects of migration to be addressed – ie need to integrate needs of migrants into international labour markets so they can have access to good job opportunities.
  • Migrant voice must be introduced – especially vulnerable migrants. This will help to change the current negative discourse and discrimination, perceptions, stereo types, and migrants’ experience. Civil society must represent the migrant voice.
  • This is no longer a time for platitudes and good intentions. Time is crucial – an agenda and policies that make a difference and is deliverable must be shaped now or more time will be wasted. Good governance is crucial between civil society member states and international organizations to jointly manage human mobility and include participation of people on the move.

Day Two: 26 February 2016

Panel I: Measuring SDGs and Targets Related to Migration

Michelle Leighton, UNDESA “Targets focusing on Migrant Workers”

  • 73% of working-age migrants are “migrant workers”, along with 11.5 million migrant domestic workers – these populations are highly vulnerable to trafficking, inhumane working practices, and human rights violations.
  • Most of migrant domestic working peoples are women.
  • Targets under SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals) deals with migrant workers.
  • 8.8: “protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers, particularly women migrants, and those in precarious employment” (Sustainable Development Goals)
  • International Labour Organisation is working towards labor market research to link rights and development.

Martin Fowke, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, “Measuring Human Trafficking”

  • Targets under SDG 5, 8, 16, and 10 specifically detail with human trafficking. These deal with slave labor, violence against women, abuse and harming of children.
  • Today’s statistics on Human Trafficking are still largely hidden and only reveals a portion of the problem. It’s still hard to give an accurate figure to rely upon.
  • Last global report in 2014 on human trafficking reported that 70% of those trafficked are women.
  • There’s been a steady increase of female trafficked victims being under 18
  • UNODC GLOTIP – (Global Report on Trafficking in Persons) is the UNODCs work in compiling data on trafficked peoples. [link to info below]

Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General – Presents on “The Secretary General’s roadmap to address the large movements of refugees and migrants

  • There’s clear association of environmental change, conflict, and poverty in relation to migration. These along with other triggers and root causes need to be tackled and understood when looking at this topic.
  • Xenophobia and hostility are current consequences and reactions to migrants, especially in the large developed countries. Tackling this is also a priority.

There are 5 focus areas that the Secretary-General is looking on:

  1. Root causes
  2. Better management of person flow
  3. Protection of human rights in all processes
  4. Dependable, stable financing towards this issue.
  5. calling/expecting global partnership and resources.
  • Ensuring the human rights of migrants is a global effort – it’s not just the work of original, traveling, and destination countries. Global effort on migration can significantly cut poverty.

Panel II: Preparing the 19 September summit on the General Assembly: The Secretary-General’s report

Elizabeth Farris, Georgetown University “Reporting on the Sec Gen HA on September Summit on Migration”

The Secretary General of the United Nations requests for a comprehensive report on migration by May 2016 – and to hold a September summit in September. This report will consult states, civil society, refugee and migrants themselves, international organizations/NGOs on the ground in order to make a comprehensive and accurate report.

Ninette Kelley, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Addressing large refugee movements: A global compact on responsibility-sharing

  • There’s been a 45% increase in refugees that are of concern to UNHCR’s work (2010 – 10.5 million people, 2015 – 15 million)
  • 86% of these migrants come from developing world.
  • Driver of displacement: primarily it’s conflict-driven
  • Voluntary repatriation is at a lowest point: this refers to voluntary return of refugee to the country of origin.
  • There is also a crisis of insufficient humanitarian aid for helping migrants and refugees. For instance – UNHCR’s work in Africa is at a 67% deficit.
  • New statistics coming in regarding child victims of human trafficking while migrants/refugees – it’s steadily rising. Most of it’s for sex, and forced labor is close behind. (53% of trafficked victims come in form of sex trafficking, whereas 40% is forced labor).
  • There’s also the task of measuring non-detected cases. Targeting hidden populations (sex workers, homeless) is essential for better data. Field studies are needed along with household surveys. Still there is a huge discrepancy when measuring human trafficking.

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

  • This is a major issue and a major coordinated global response with partners is required. The Salvation Army (TSA) may be able to bring a significant contribution because of our international footprint, our existing capacity and the call throughout Scripture to care for the foreigner.

  • One particular area of importance is research and learning lessons from the migrants. There are currently discrepancies when studying refugees and migrants, especially in relation to trafficking. TSA may be able to provide information and field study information to those working on this issue.

  • The development of the Army’s international anti-human trafficking work is an important development. We need to be able to understand the prevalence and growth of human trafficking in migrants and refugees is important when establishing plans and services in countries where refugees and migrants are prevalent.

  • There’s a need for a consolidated effort in working with migration and refugees. TSA can work with other NGOs and governments in destination, home, and travelling countries of migrants and refugees. We need to be alert to opportunities to forge new partnerships.

Web links for more information

UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons


UNHCR Statistics and Operational Data

Meeting Agenda

Resources, papers, information on Migration (From the United Nations)

Tags: United Nations, SDG10: Reduced Inequalities, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, SDG1: No Poverty, SDG4: Quality Education, SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being, SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals