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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
H.E. Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Permanent Representative
Philippine Mission to the United Nations

At the General Debate in the Second Committee
Agenda Items (87a): Globalization and interdependence and
(87b): International migration and sustainable development

59th United Nations General Assembly
New York, 02 November 2004


Mr. Chairman,

May I, at the outset, associate my delegation with the statement of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Migration and the mobility of people stand out as the defining features of the integration of the world economy. Migration, as we have known, is as old as humanity itself. The forces of globalization, brought about by the ease of transport and travel, as well as the advancement in information and communications technology (ICT), have further intensified it.

The increasing movement of peoples across borders, signals the need for an effective international cooperation to managing this aspect of globalization. The United Nations should take the lead. International governance on migration is crucial, in order to minimize the downside risks attendant to ingress of peoples across borders and to optimize the benefits accruing to both countries of destination and origin.

There should first be a comprehensive and holistic study focusing on the linkages between migration, globalization and development. In addition, sufficient empirical data would aid the understanding of the multi-dimensional aspects of migration.

A clearer picture of the reality of migration would equip Member States, the UN system and other international organizations with appropriate and necessary policy mix to dealing with it more effectively. Migration, just like globalization, has to be carefully managed, in view of its impact to many aspects of human activity including poverty, conflicts, refugee issues, HIV/AIDS, and even security. A comprehensive study of the whole migration spectrum would therefore enable us to undertake policies and measures at the national, regional and international levels that would render a smooth flow of people migration.

Mr. Chairman,

The nexus between migration and development has been known to many countries.
Remittances, an offshoot of migration, for instance, help keep the economy of developing countries, like the Philippines, afloat. At the same time, remittances are instrumental in bringing about “development dividends” in terms of generating jobs and employment through small-scale enterprises, providing education, better health and nutrition and are pivotal in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The remittances to most developing nations, which have now reached twice as much as ODA, helps much in the alleviation of the poor, and the overall improvement in the quality of life in the countries of origin.

Mr. Chairman,

Migrants have also been playing an important role in the sustainable development of developed countries. The early tides of migration, for instance, contributed to the economic development of many of today's advanced nations. They also help shape the political, social, cultural and economic landscapes of these countries. In countries of destination, migrants are often seen contributing their knowledge and know-how to their host countries as educators, artisans, builders, artists, and in many other fields – all of which enhance the quality of life of their host countries.

But the movement of about 180 million migrants and refugees from their countries exposes them to many risks such as racism and xenophobia, abuse and inequitable treatment in their host countries. Taking into account their valuable contributions as development resource or as agents for sustainable development, there is therefore a need for international cooperative framework for the management of migration.

The Philippines has always been committed to the protection of its eight million Filipinos overseas in almost all parts of the globe. Based on our experience, the Philippines advocates measures to coordinate and work more closely with other countries and with concerned international organizations to ensure that the promotion and protection of the human dignity of our migrant workers will be observed.

Mr. Chairman,

The task of managing migration is a challenge. In this context, the reports of the Secretary-General contain important inputs we have to ponder upon, to effectively manage migration at various levels.

I wish to thank the Secretary General for his reports on Globalization and interdependence (A/59/312) as well as on International migration and development (A/59/325), both of which, are seminal to our discussions today.

I wish to support the following elements in the Secretary-General’s report to better address migration management. More specifically, the Philippines believes that:

1) The Manila Process organized by the Philippines and the IOM (International Organization for Migration) focusing on exchanges of information on irregular migration and trafficking in persons at the regional level, could be replicated in various other regions in order to achieve a better
global perspective;

2) The UN could learn from the Berne Initiative in "improving the management of international migration at the regional and global levels through cooperation among countries." There is, however, a need to enrich this process by identifying the appropriate mechanisms where cooperation among countries could ensue;

3) The Philippines supports the activities of independent bodies such as Global Commission on International Migration that would complement any inter-governmental action. The Philippines looks forward to the release of the final report of the Commission in mid-2005, which could serve as valuable inputs to the General Assembly High-level dialogue in 2006;

4) We would like to encourage countries that have not done so, to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Ratification of this important convention would pave the way to safeguard the rights of migrant workers and foster the benefits of migration to all countries;

5) We commend UN DESA (Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and other regional commissions for their research work on the various facets of migration and its development nexus. We look forward to the outcome of their work, which would help contribute to hastening the process of forging of an international cooperation on managing migration;

6) We support the UN's convening of regular coordination meetings on migration, in collaboration with agencies, funds and other relevant organizations, to assist Governments in managing migration phenomenon at the national and regional levels; and

7) The Philippines concurs with the Secretary General's observations that the UN would benefit from closer ties with the regional consultative processes in determining issues, which would best be addressed at the global level. Moreover, greater coordination with national governments and regional institutions would be instrumental in forging appropriate partnerships at the global level that would effectively address the multi-dimensional aspects of globalization.

The Secretary General's reports are good, but not enough. A more comprehensive study on the substantial contribution of migrants to all countries concerned – sending, receiving and transit states, the linkages between migration, globalization, and development, and a substantive study on the multi-dimensional aspects of migration as it affects other aspects of human activity is necessary in order for the international community to have an appropriate and coordinated response to migration.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, my delegation looks forward to the convening of the General Assembly High-level Dialogue in 2006, as yet another opportunity to enrich the discussion and formulation of concrete actions and strategies as well as effective international mechanism to address and manage migration at the international level. We are confident, Mr. Chairman, that the Peruvian initiative in hosting a special conference on migration in 2005, which we welcome, will likewise contribute towards this end.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

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