SDGs: an opportunity to strengthen good governance for migration

After several years of work, the World Summit of Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in New York on 25 to 27 September 2015, resulted in the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable Development: “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The Declaration is based on the principle of “leaving no one behind” and officially entered into force on January 1st 2016.

The Agenda established a set of 17 objectives (Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs) with 169 associated universally applicable targets for the next 15 years. Although the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to adopt them and establish national frameworks to ensure reaching the 17 objectives.

IOM Director, William Lacy Swing, highlighted the commitment of the organization to this agenda, as well as the importance of including migration and human mobility in the SDGs during his statement at the WSSD. He furthermore underlined our commitment to support governments in their task of “ensuring the achievement of the migration objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for a dignified and humane migration”.

In addition, ambassador Swing noted the significance of recognizing that well-managed migration is a force which promotes development, and that migrants play an active/crucial role in the achievement of the SDGs that should not be underestimated: “we cannot leave migrants behind”. Likewise, he emphasized that IOM will help in developing the capacities of governments and implementing strategies to create migration policies that lead to achieving the SDGs. As the international community is monitoring the new Agenda, IOM, by virtue of its position, is willing/eager/looking forward to supporting member states in producing information on migration.

Peter Sutherland, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), noted that the 2030 Agenda is based on an inclusive principle for migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons. As a matter of fact, the declaration accompanying SDGs states that:

We are going to cooperate internationally to achieve safe, orderly and regular migration, this implies the full respect of human rights and the humane treatment of migrants, refugees and displaced persons, regardless their migratory status”.

Migration is relevant to all SDGs, but six of them include targets directly related to migration and migrants:

Objective 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Target 4.b. By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries.

Objective 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Target 5.2. Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation

Objective 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.

Target 8.7. Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.

Target 8.8. Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment.

Objective 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Target 10.7. Facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.

Target 10.c. By 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent.

Objective 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Target 16.2. End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

Objective 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Target 17.18. By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.

The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to properly manage migration. It looks at migration from the perspective of sustainable development and highlights the positive role that migrant play within the processes of the Agenda. . Additionally, it represents the opportunity to address the structural causes of forced displacements through the creation of more favorable conditions in the countries of origin.

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be a crucial tool in helping the international community to generate learning processes and experiences to ensure the alignment of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM), which will be adopted in 2018, with migrant protection rights. Lastly, the Agenda will facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration and reduce the frequency and impact of irregular migration.

For further information on migration and SDGs click here.


   About the author:

Marcelo Pisani is the Regional Director of IOM for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. Mr. Pisani has 18 years of experience in project management, development of public policies, and in other areas related to fight poverty and the care of vulnerable populations in emergency situations. Previously he served as IOM's Chief of Mission in Colombia and Zimbabwe, and worked for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). He is an architect of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. 



How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?

How will COVID-19 affect the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda?
Categoria: Migration Governance
Autor: Laura Thompson


There is no doubt that the current pandemic has a broad humanitarian, social and economic impact in the short, medium and long term, which in turn may affect or delay the achievement of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at different levels and in various ways.

The most evident impact, obviously, is on Goal 3, which seeks to guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being. The pandemic has put enormous pressures on health systems not only in relation to the treatment and management of the virus, but also affecting the ability to care for patients who have other diseases and increasing the risk of complications in populations with compromised health states. The pandemic has given greater visibility to the importance of universal access to health systems regardless of people's migratory status. However, the pandemic will also have implications for other aspects of the 2030 Agenda.


Impacts beyond health

COVID-19 is also having a negative impact on the employment, economic and social situation of many households around the world, and on their ability to meet their needs, even the most basic ones. The economic crisis that the countries of the region are facing and the growing unemployment will be decisive in this regard, since apart from the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean reached an unemployment rate of 8.1% at the end of 2019, according to the International Labor Organization. And according to ECLAC projections, labor unemployment will rise to 11.5% in the same region, as a result of the contraction of economic activity by COVID-19.

Unemployment and the loss of purchasing power affect more severely migrant populations, since they are very often employed in the informal sector of the economy and have more precarious contractual working conditions, particularly women migrant workers. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, informal work engages around 50% of the total number of people employed. The increase in unemployment will impact the scope of Goal 8 (on full and productive employment and decent work for all), but also Goal 1 (the fight against poverty), Goal 2 (the eradication of hunger, food security and better nutrition), Goal 5 (gender equality and empowerment of women and girls), and targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2, on trafficking and exploitation of people. ECLAC also emphasizes that Latin America and the Caribbean is already suffering a fall of -5.3% in GDP, the worst in its history.

Likewise, this pandemic could accentuate existing inequalities in societies, as well as the vulnerabilities of certain population groups, and consequently delay the achievement of Goal 10, which seeks to reduce inequalities between and within countries. In this context, migrants are one of those vulnerable groups that have been particularly affected by the pandemic and that are often left behind or forgotten in social protection and economic relaunch plans, or have limited access to them, either because of language barriers or because of their immigration status. All of this despite the enormous contribution that migrant workers make to the operation of essential basic services in many countries, as has become evident during this crisis.

Additionally, a decrease in the amount of international remittances is projected, which, according to the World Bank, would be reduced between 10% and 19.3% by 2020. Remittances are a fundamental component in the economy of some countries in the region, where they can amount to between 5% and 20% of the national Gross Domestic Product. A significant reduction in remittances would jeopardize the ability of many households in those countries to meet their most basic needs and their ability to invest in improving nutrition, education, and reducing child labor, among others, further emphasizing existing inequalities.

Finally, at the state level, due to the economic slowdown we are experiencing and urgent health needs, it is very likely that there will be a decrease in social spending or a reorientation of available resources, potentially at the expense of the more comprehensive vision contained in the Sustainable Development Goals, again affecting the scope of the transversal objectives of the 2030 Agenda.


Recovery and SDGs: the same path

But this should not lead us to pessimism and to think that we have lost the fight to achieve the SDGs. On the contrary, it is essential at this time to work together and forcefully to identify the additional difficulties that the current pandemic presents in achieving the 2030 Agenda. We must redouble our commitment and our efforts to ensure that the impact of the pandemic is incorporated into national plans and international assistance, as well as that the different realities and vulnerabilities of some specific groups are incorporated.

For this we must work from now on to ensure the universal attention of the health and education systems; in reducing remittance transfer costs (a topic included in Goal 10), as El Salvador is already doing, creating more resilient and inclusive cities in line with Goal 11 or strengthening forms of regular migration for migrant workers and decent working conditions (Goal 8).

The time is now: all organizations, governments and individuals have an important role in ensuring that the efforts for our Latin American region and the world to recover from the serious effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are aligned with the 2030 Agenda and that we make sure we do not leave anyone behind.