"We recognize that migration continues to increase -- driven by the age-old pursuit of a better life, as well as by increasingly understood phenomena such as climate change. And so, we accept that we must take effective action without delay."
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, in his address to the Global Forum on Migration and Development, 10 July 2007
The overall aim of UNESCO's programme on International Migration is to promote the respect for the human rights of migrants, and to contribute to peaceful integration of migrants in society.
In order to fulfil this general goal, the programme wants to achieve the following objectives:
- Increase protection of human rights of migrants
Migrants remain more vulnerable than other groups in society. In 1990, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant workers and Members of their Families -the most comprehensive international instrument to date to provide legal protection for migrants. On July 1st, 2003, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families entered into force, after the threshold of 20 ratifying states was reached in March 2003. UNESCO participates, with IOM, ILO, the OHCHR, and several NGOs, in the Steering Committee for the Global Campaign to co-ordinate activities to promote further accessions to the International Convention.
- contribute to improve policies of Member States, so they ratify the International Convention;
- provide capacity-building to facilitate the implementation of the International Convention;
- increase awareness of the International Convention among policy-makers, the media and the public.
- Improve national policies, in sending, transit, as well as receiving countries, to handle the impact of migration on society
International migration is high on the public agenda of many countries because the phenomenon is considered a source of potential economic, social, political and cultural problems. Politicians are explicitly or implicitly asked to formulate and implement policies to avoid and resolve these problems. UNESCO can support research and provide training on migration policies to decision-makers adding to prevent future policies from being based on ill-defined and misconceptions.
- strengthen the link between research and policy-making on migration issues;
- contribute to advocacy and policy dialogue on migration issues;
- stimulate innovative thinking on migration policies.
- Promote the value and respect of cultural diversity in multicultural societies and improve the balance between policies promoting diversity and policies promoting social integration
As a consequence of cross-border population flows many countries have a growing number of immigrant minority populations that differ from the original population. The increase in xenophobia and racism calls for policies that respect the rights of migrants, underscore the benefits of diversity and at the same time promote social cohesion. Current UNESCO' s initiatives promoting pluralism, tolerance and cultural diversity includes the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (1992) and the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity.
- promote a more balanced view of migrants;
- contribute to better-informed policies concerning social cohesion and cultural diversity;
- increase awareness on international instruments related to migration issues.
The United Nations Secretary General has proposed to create a global consultative forum within the UN on international migration . This would be an open-ended body involving Government representatives active in international migration, which would enable the elaboration of constructive approaches towards international migration and ensure fruitful cooperation between Governments and the UN system, along with the International Organization for Migration, IOM. UNESCO’s mandate to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science, culture and communication is highly relevant to the issue of international migration and development. Based on its mandate and within its areas of competence, the Organization could contribute to the consultative process on international migration and development by addressing:
- the migration-education nexus, for example by anticipating and defining the emerging problems concerning brain-drain in developing countries, or by serving as a central forum for coordinating the ethical, normative and intellectual issues of recognition of qualifications for mobility,
- the migration-development nexus, including the development of knowledge diasporas through the use of information and communication technologies - ICTs,
- the impact of environmental trends on international migration, including the growing importance of climate changes and natural disasters on the movement of people,
- the balance between, on the one hand, social cohesion and the integration of migrants in host societies and, on the other hand, the respect for cultural diversity in multi-ethnic and multicultural societies,
- the research-policy nexus, including ways in which social scientists and policy-makers can cooperate to improve policy development on crucial social transformations brought by migration.
- Contribute to the Global Fight against human trafficking and exploitative migration
Despite increased spending on enforcement measures, the number of migrants in an irregular situation has not declined. By definition, trafficked persons are victims of serious human rights' violations. Further, smuggling and trafficking can undermine security. The need to give special attention to trafficking in persons has been stressed both by the UN Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights and by the Millennium Development Goals.
- improve information and knowledge on exploitative migration;
- contribute to improve policies related to combating exploitative migration.
- Strengthen the capacity, sustainability and effectiveness of Diaspora networks as a means to promote brain gain - as opposed to the current brain drain - through the use of ICT
The brain drain - the migration of skilled and educated human resources from developing to developed nations - affects developing countries in their capacity for development. With the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), this trend can be reversed to brain gain - considering the expatriate skilled population as a potential asset. By facilitating information exchange, technology transfer and business expansion migration can bring new development dynamism and link the country of origin to the global economic system.
- contribute to the promotion of brain gain through the use of ICT;
- develop mechanisms and effective tools to improve co-operation links and knowledge sharing;
- strengthen Diaspora networks;
- improve access to ICT for Diaspora population.
- Promote the social integration of migrants in the city
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