United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms Maria Ribeiro has said a more encompassing view of migration leads to more appropriate targets and indicators for the the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She made the remarks at the just-ended capacity development workshop on migration management held for Parliamentarians from 14 to 16 February at the Kadoma Hotel and Conference Centre in Mashonaland West Province. The workshop was held by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with support from the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe.
The United nations senior official underscores the fact that migration is transformative both for those who move and for the places and economies of source and destination, at the same time espousing the sustainable development agenda.
“Within the SDGs, migration is recognised as a “multidimensional reality” that is of “major relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination”. Incorporating the potentially social transformative nature of migration into policy and planning for sustainable development would better reflect the reality of a mobile world. A more encompassing view of migration would, we argue, lead to more appropriate targets and indicators for the SDGs.
“Zimbabwe has a long history with cross border mobility and has also witnessed a significant brain drain in the past two decades. The country has also witnessed increased internal and border migration resulting in an upsurge in irregular migration, human smuggling and mixed migration flows. The flow of migrants from Zimbabwe into neighbouring countries in an irregular fashion continues unabated, and migratory flows from, to, and within Zimbabwe have presented a myriad of challenges to the country’s migration management capacity,” Ms Ribeiro said.
To achieve this, Ms Riberio said, political solutions to migration must respect basic international human rights standards and refugee law. She emphasised that it is also essential that these solutions respond effectively to the push and pull factors of migration, which necessitates effective consultation and cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination.
She reiterated the UN’s encouragement and support of the leadership of Parliament to seek consultative ways to advocate for the ratification of international protocols and conventions that Zimbabwe has not ratified and domesticated.
In doing this, she said steps must also be taken to raise people’s awareness of the realities of migration, including its advantages and disadvantages, and to propose concrete solutions to address their concerns. The UN Resident Coordinator said parliamentarians must be seen to be promoting the common interest and upholding the principles of dialogue, tolerance and non-discrimination.
“I would like to propose several areas for reflection to feed your discussions on parliamentary contribution to migration management: The Parliament Portfolio and Thematic Committees gathered here will consider migration a priority in our parliamentary programmes and develop a coherent strategy adapted to the current situation; focus on education and awareness creation in order to change the narrative on and erroneous perceptions of migration. To this end, it is necessary to conduct public awareness campaigns.
“The need to ensure that the rights of migrants are reflected in our respective national legislations in keeping with relevant international standards and that these rights are fully respected in particular regarding women and minors and unaccompanied children/adolescents,” Ms Ribeiro said.
She emphasised the need for alignment of laws on the acceptance and integration of migrants, as well as on the return of migrants to international standards in force; ensuring that national laws are adapted to international standards on labour and human rights and that they are applied, without exception, to all migrants; setting up an implementation mechanism to ensure that the laws thus adapted are actually applied, in particular by allocating sufficient funds and ensuring regular oversight over their implementation; establishing inter-parliamentary cooperation to facilitate consultations on and the harmonisation of strategies, the exchange of good practices and to support the implementation of multilateral provisions; and furthering establishment of long-term cooperation with regional and international institutions working on migration management.
“Given its engagement in contributing to the management of this issue, I can assure you that the UN Country Team will support all parliamentary initiatives that will work towards achieving SDG 10.7 – facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies,” Ms Ribeiro added.