Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative

National Consultative Workshop on the implications for the implementation of the Global Migration Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Tuesday, November 6, 2018



  • Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr, Minister of State - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
  • Ms. Keisha Livermore, Head - International Organization for Migration in Jamaica
  • Senior Director, PIOJ, Easton Williams
  • Representatives of Government and civil society
  • Distinguished ladies and gentlemen


The United Nations Development Programme is pleased to join you for this national consultative workshop on the implementation of the Global Migration Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, at a critical time for migrants all over the world.  

In fact, approximately one year ago, in November 2017, UNDP participated in a set of stakeholders’ consultations to finetune a national position on this Global Compact, which has been finalised on 13 July at the UN headquarters in New York.

This marks a new era in which we choose to make migration work for development, recognizing that, based on empirical evidence, migrants contribute positively to the development of receiving nations, through their taxes, skills and other resources.  

When the Report of the Secretary-General on International migration and development was published in 2014, and ahead of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Member States had begun to concretize positions on migration as a vastly untapped net contributor to sustainable development. But in order to realise these benefits, we must work on strengthening cooperation, partnerships and responsibility within and among Member States.

The basic challenge before us, according to former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, is to maximize the benefits of migration rather than obsess about minimizing risks. We have a clear body of evidence revealing that, despite many real problems, migration is beneficial both for migrants and host communities in economic and social terms — our overarching task is to broaden the opportunities that migration offers to us all.

As we work together to implement the Global Compact, it will be necessary for governments to ensure that the vulnerabilities of migrants, in particular children, adolescents, youth, women, and persons with disabilities, are taken into account in designing migration policies – so that no one is left behind.  

To do so, policy-makers need to pay special attention to areas in which migrants are particularly vulnerable. For example, we must protect victims of human trafficking, especially women and girls subject to sexual or commercial exploitation. We must work together to eliminate migrant abuse and mistreatment, through bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation. We reiterate the call of the Secretary General to prosecute cross-border criminal networks who hire undocumented migrants to carry their dirty works.

It will also be crucial to have access to timely, reliable and accurate data to guide policy making and monitoring of migration. Unfortunately, many countries have weak capacities to produce basic data on migrant stocks and migration flows or to carry out policy-relevant analyses on ways of reaping the benefits of migration for individuals, communities, and societies.  

As such, UNDP is partnering with the government of Jamaica on a project targeting involuntary returned migrants (IRMs), which aims to develop and strengthen systems to increase their access to adequate social services, jobs and livelihood opportunities. An important part of this project is data collection and monitoring. To date we have completed a framework and protocol for tracking the reintegration of returned migrants. We have also developed Minimum Standard Operating Procedures on reintegration and rehabilitation of returned migrants. This focus on reintegration is expected to ensure positive impacts on sustainable development.


UNDP supports the Migration Outlook Report 2017, which recommends that countries must focus more attention on integrating migrants into their labour markets, as they often bring untapped skills to their new-found countries. A careful comparative analysis based on a needs assessment of the labour markets against an assessment of migrant skills can help to fill gaps where they may exist.  

Like the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, we are not blind to the potentially contentious issues that may arise as we negotiate the sovereignty of the state and the rights of human beings.  She said, and I quote, “Migration raises profound issues: around State sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.” But the note on which she ends provides not only hope but a recipe for managing these tensions. She said: “This compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism: our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration – however complicated and contentious they may be.”

It is my fervent hope that your discussions today not only answer questions you may have, but also offer ample space for operational and pragmatic solutions to transform the lives of migrants in Jamaica and in the world, as they forge a sustainable path to development.

Thank you.

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