independent

Thursday 24 April 2014

Sutherland calls for focus on migration

Governments must focus on increasing migration, United Nations special envoy on migration issues Peter Sutherland, has told a conference.

Issues such as pensions and skills transfers, training opportunities for immigrants, and measures aimed at facilitating legal migration, are all necessary, the former Irish attorney general and present chairman of Goldman Sachs International told the conference in Mauritius.

"With the right policies, migration can promote development," Mr Sutherland said.

With thousands of would-be migrants dying every year as they attempt to sneak into other countries, the UN official called for better systems around migration.

"The benefits of migration are much higher when it occurs in a safe, orderly and legal fashion," he said. "The price of irregular movements is far too high, especially for women and children."

Mr Sutherland has led the UN's global forum on migration and development for the past six years. The forum brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

Developing countries increasingly understand the "power and potential" of their emigrant populations, Mr Sutherland said.

"Last year, more than $350bn (€272bn) was sent to developing countries by migrants," he told the conference, though he complained that the costs of returning funds were "still too high."

Mr Sutherland has previously argued that the ageing populations in many European countries should encourage migration and developing multicultural states in Europe.

The gathering in Mauritius was attended by representatives of around 160 UN member and observer states, as well as more than 30 international organisations.

Irish Independent

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