The linkages between migration and development

Philippine statement delivered by Ambassador Teddy Locsin Jr. at the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, on July 24, 2017. 

DURING negotiations for the 2030 Agenda, we fought strongly for the recognition of the positive contribution of migrants to inclusive growth and sustainable development and, frankly and flat out, to our consumption driven economy.

The absence of a specific Sustainable Development Goal on migration might be said to highlight the crosscutting nature or wide beneficial ramifications of migration to both home and destination countries. We don’t like to think of it as oversight. We like to think that migration is so deeply embedded in, or linked to all of the 17 SDGs, that there is no need for a category of their own.

At the national level, migrants are also deeply integrated into our development plan. We know we cannot make growth more inclusive, lower poverty incidence, create more jobs, make individuals and communities more resilient, drive innovation and build greater trust in the government and in society1 if we do not address the needs and harness the potentials of our 10 million overseas Filipinos.

And so we have, over the past 40 years, mainstreamed migration. We have developed laws, policies and programs that address all aspects and phases of migration, from labor and economic migration to migration in crises. We have implemented a migrant-centered approach to the entire migration cycle, from pre-employment, transit, on-site employment and eventual return and reintegration programs.

But this is not solely a domestic issue. Bilateral and regional frameworks are essential. In 2015 we advanced the migration agenda with the New York Declaration2.  The Global Compact on Migration needs to do more. It must examine the barriers to maximizing the positive contributions of migrants, lay down actionable commitments, specific targets and put in place a governance and monitoring framework, and address the roles of local authorities. And it must go beyond the perception
that migrants contribute to development only through financial remittances and equally look at their “social” remittances.

We call migrant workers partners in development. They are more. They are drivers of the progress we have achieved. Let us not leave
them behind.

1 From President Duterte’s foreword to the Philippine Development Agenda 2017-2022: “Through this plan, we will empower the poor and marginalized, push for improved transparency and accountability in governance and fuel our economy. Specifically, we intend to make growth more inclusive by lowering poverty incidence in the rural areas, creating more jobs, making individuals and communities more resilient, driving innovation and building greater trust in the government
and in society.”

2 New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees, adopted on September 26, 2015.