Annan proposes open dialogue to tackle international migration in 2006

With migrants worldwide numbering more than 175 million – more than the population of any other country except for the biggest four, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is proposing that United Nations Member States open a free-flowing dialogue ahead of next year’s General Assembly debate to tackle issues from human trafficking to money remittances.“The high-level dialogue on international migration and development will provide a unique opportunity for the international community to set the foundation for enhanced international cooperation in addressing the multifaceted issues raised by the international movement of people,” he says in a report to the General Assembly. Mr. Annan is recommending that Member States speak from their seats without prepared statements about the effects of migration on economic and social development, the migration of highly skilled persons, actions to improve the remittances on development, and international cooperation to combat the trafficking in persons. The Secretary-General’s proposed format is meant to encourage an interactive, free-flowing debate so that innovative ideas are not stifled. He also calls for ministerial level participation by Member States, and for stakeholders to be present at the “highest” level, in a discussion that will precede the 2006 Assembly general debate on migration.The session should be subsequently broken into round tables that will focus on specific topics, says the report.As of 2000, 175 million people around the world were living away from their home countries, more than double the number four decades ago. According to the World Bank, migrant workers make up about 3 per cent of the world population, and sent remittances home worth $110 billion in 2004, 52 per cent more than in 2001. In 1960, only about 75 million, or 2.5 per cent of the world’s population, were international migrants. read more