I would like to thank Amb. Bin Momen and all cosponsors for organizing this event focused on two of the most important aspects of migration: the particular vulnerability of women and girls and their link to Agenda 2030.
Migration is a global and long term phenomenon. Its multiple aspects, causes and consequences should be tackled first by addressing the humanitarian challenges it causes. But this is not enough. We need also to deal with all of the other linkages to the phenomenon and address the root causes of migration, i.e. conflict prevention, climate change, violence, poverty, strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable.
To do so, we have to strengthen cooperation at the regional and international levels between countries of origin, transit and destination of migration, in a global effort against a challenge that leaves no country unaffected. This cooperation should be guided by a positive approach to migration, fighting all negative stereotypes, and raising awareness of migrants’ contribution as a driver for development.
Let’s begin with this last concept. Migration is indeed a development enabler. We have to recognize that, if well managed, migration can have a win-win outcome for the destination countries – whose populations are normally decreasing – and for countries of origin and transit. We need to foster this development drive with initiatives especially focused on young people’s education and women’s empowerment, in order to offer them the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential.
To unleash the positive potential of migration we need to create a conducive climate. Protection of migrants, especially the most vulnerable ones, is key. From the humanitarian perspective, we need to expand “Search and Rescue” operations and protect women and girls, the latter being particularly vulnerable if they are unaccompanied (“children on the move”). We need to address the protection gap they are facing.
But we must protect human dignity beyond saving lives and alleviating human sufferings. To this aim, Italy supports refugees and IDPs by financing cash for work activities, which enable the beneficiaries to earn a small amount of money or a compensation for their work.
A few points that we consider a priority.
Among vulnerable categories of migrants, as I just mentioned, special attention should be paid to unaccompanied minors by precisely mapping and monitoring this phenomenon, and also by addressing cases of enforced disappearance and trafficking of unaccompanied minors.
Trafficking cannot be tolerated and strengthened efforts to fight perpetrators and smugglers are needed, including by helping countries of origin and transit tackle this phenomenon, and by establishing appropriate legislative procedures and providing training to officials working in the field.
Italy, as it faces one of the most difficult refugee crises in its history, has made it a priority to save the lives of those who flee conflict and misery crossing the Mediterranean Sea to seek protection away from their home. We will continue to do so in every area of our international engagement. At the same time, we will encourage common answers to the multiple challenges of the phenomenon of migration.
Let me conclude by stressing how much we believe that a global and comprehensive strategy is of the essence, and that we must share responsibilities and burdens in this unprecedented world challenge. An effective strategy, shared among all Countries and based on an improved coordination between humanitarian, peacebuilding and development actors is possible. We have to work for that, and we will be successful both in facing emergencies and in addressing the root causes of migration (such as conflict prevention, climate change, poverty), and, ultimately, in reaching development objectives.
I am keen to hear the views of the panelists.