DEBATE ON THE FEASIBILITY AND POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF FREE HUMAN MOBILITY
Dear Mr. Pezzini,
I would like to start by thanking you for giving me the opportunity to chair this important debate.
I welcome all the participants present here today and believe that we will have an enlightening and fruitful discussion on the feasibility and potential impacts of free human mobility.
Before giving the floor to Professor Lant Pritchett, let me briefly share with you my views on the topic.
Free human mobility and migration are fairly dynamic fields of international politics with the potential to have serious political, economic and social implications on countries and societies. As such, they must be addressed in a holistic manner. We need to search for new avenues for international cooperation in this field.
My country, Turkey is located on a major and historical migration route and has traditionally been a transit and source country for many years. Due to its impressive economic growth and social development, particularly in recent years, it has also emerged as an attractive target country for migrants.
In this vein, it is safe to say that we have accumulated a wealth of experience on the challenges and opportunities posed by migration and are committed to addressing common issues on migration management.
Accordingly, Turkey assumed the Chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) on 1 July 2014.
The Turkish Chairmanship of the GFMD draws on its own experience along with the experience of other interested countries and stakeholders to develop pragmatic policy approaches to strengthen partnerships on human mobility for sustainable development.
The theme we have chosen for our Chairmanship is “Strengthening Partnerships: Human Mobility for Sustainable Development.”
We recognize that without cooperation with international organizations, civil society and the private sector, international migration cannot be managed effectively by a single country alone.
During our Chairmanship, we are guided by 3 main objectives:
Firstly, we aim to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants in the context of mobility through cooperation among states and other stakeholders. Cooperative approaches to fair recruitment practices and lower remittance fees associated with mobility are needed. Migrants often pay high fees to recruitment agencies to gain access to a job abroad. In some cases, the job turns out to be much less rewarding or more dangerous than was promised, or does not exist at all. Recruitment processes have been analyzed in many parts of the world and principles have been articulated. In other words, the issue is ripe for policy development. The GFMD may also give new impetus to efforts to reduce the costs to migrants of sending remittances to their countries of origin, through emphasizing the need for stronger partnerships between states, regulatory bodies and the private sector. All these partners need to work together to promote greater transparency and competition among money transfer agencies as well as the use of new technologies.
Secondly, we would like to promote the development impact of migration on public policies, particularly regarding the post-2015 UN Development agenda. With this understanding, we have recently organized the first thematic meeting of the Turkish Chairmanship on migration in the post-2015 UN development agenda. The meeting with the participation of over 150 experts has provided a useful platform to exchange views on the inclusion of migration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in practice. It highlighted ongoing national examples of initiatives that serve two of the migration-related targets proposed in the UN Open Working Group (OWG) report.
Our third objective is to enhance international cooperation on emerging issues on migration and mobility and to engage all stakeholders in strengthening the linkages between migration and development.
Turkey’s commitment to strengthen partnerships that promote the benefits of human mobility for sustainable development is not limited to the GFMD. We are also developing and leading other initiatives in the international arena. It is with this sense of responsibility that we have assumed the Presidency of the G-20 in 2015 and will host the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul should also address the topic of migration as a cross-cutting issue.
Before concluding, I believe it would be a remiss if I do not touch upon the current state of affairs in our southern borders with Syria and Iraq.
Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Turkey has provided shelter for more than 1.6 million Syrians, of whom some 240,000 live in temporary protection centers. The Turkish Government has so far spent more than 5 billion USD for the care of these people. This figure does not include the amount spent by NGOs and other civilian organizations.
We urgently need to find sustainable, long-term arrangements to take care of Syrians and other forced migrants. This will require innovative policies as well as traditional humanitarian approaches.
I would like to emphasize once again that Turkey is determined to strengthen international cooperation with a view to better managing migration and protecting human lives.
Lastly, I wish this meeting a great success and look forward to hosting you in Turkey at the 8th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in Istanbul on 14-16 October 2015.
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