Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great sorrow that I take the floor today after the tragedy that took place last night off the shores of my own Country, in the waters surrounding the island of Lampedusa. The shivering figures of this event give us the sense of the magnitude of such a tragedy: roughly 100 people are dead while more than 250 are still missing. Among the victims many children.
It is indeed with the images of horror in mind that we are here today. Our presence tangibly proves the importance the international community attaches to migration as a driver of development.
Today’s Dialogue is the first of a series of international endeavors – including the forthcoming International Conference on Population and Development in 2014 and the definition of the Agenda post-2015 – that collectively hold the promise of a genuine turning point in migration policies and development cooperation.
In this vein, Italy strongly supports the inclusion of migration issues in the post-2015 development agenda. Consistently, at the national level we have adopted a migrant centered strategy focused on the competences, resources and mobility of migrants in a dynamic process. Having in mind the relevant role played by migrants as true enablers of development, Italy has launched a number of bilateral and multilateral initiatives, such as the program “Migration for Development in Africa” which we implement in partnership with the IOM. These programs have been used as showcases by both UNDP and the EU in the context of the Joint Initiative for Migration and Development.
International mobility has always been an issue of key concern to Italy, an origin country of migrants itself, and has been perceived as a decisive factor of social and cultural enrichment. So many are the citizens of Italian origins worldwide that play relevant roles in their residence countries in politics (from the US to Belgium, from Brazil to Panama), as well as in the academia, in the scientific and artistic fields. In our own Country a paradigm of such an osmotic contribution is offered by our Minister for Integration, that deeply regrets no to be here, as well as by many important sport players, researchers, journalists and so on.
International mobility is a multiplier and a booster for economic growth. Not only are the 4 millions of Italian migrants still contributing to the wealth of recipient countries, but the significantly increased foreign community residing in Italy participates with a remarkable 12 % to our GDP. It goes without saying that these economic benefits are two folded: on the one hand for destination countries and on the other hand for origin ones that take advantage of remittances.
Deeply convinced that the economic benefits related to migration should be further enhanced, Italy launched an international initiative to reduce the costs of transfer of migrant remittances from 10% to 5% over a five-year period, the so-called “5 by 5” objective, adopted at the G8 Summit held in L’Aquila in 2009 and extended to the G20 Countries in 2011. We are strongly committed to facilitating the achievement of this goal, which will grant migrants and their families a net income increase of up to 15 billion dollars per year. At the national level, Italy already succeeded in lowering the costs of migrant remittances from 10.2% in 2008 to 7.3% in July 2013.
We invite all Countries to join in this effort.
A migrant centered approach should also be focused on protecting the rights of migrants the priority of our priorities in this field. No integration is possible without a real and effective protection of human rights. Therefore, we must increase our efforts to help migrants at risk – especially women, children and persons with disabilities – and engage vigorously to stop all forms of human trafficking. More cooperation is crucial to this end. Preventing these “journeys of desperation and death”, to quote our Head of State, is THE responsibility of the each and everyone of us: States of origin, transit and destination.
In line with some of the principles enshrined in the Presidential Declaration that was just presented to us, Italy is co-sponsoring and co-hosting two events in the margins of this High-Level Dialogue, dedicated to children on the move and to the ILO Convention on the rights of domestic workers.
Better coordination among all the UN agencies and the other relevant international organizations is essential if we want to achieve an effective global approach to migration and development. In this light we appreciate the activity of the World Forum on Migration and Development, which has contributed to exchanges of best practices and the building of confidence among the stakeholders.
We wish to underline the central role of the IOM as the leading Agency on Migration. The creation of new structures would amount to a duplication of competences that we strongly oppose to.
In closing, it is up to us to clearly blaze the trail for the upcoming years and identify the best instruments of cooperation. The stakes could not be higher: the quality of our collective action, our capacity for action itself, and above all, the greater interest of all migrants.
DISCORSO PRONUNCIATO DAL VICE RAPPRESENTANTE PERMANENTE D’ITALIA PRESSO L’ONU, AMB. ANTONIO BERNARDINI, DURANTE IL DIALOGO DI ALTO LIVELLO DELL’ASSEMBLEA GENERALE SULLA MIGRAZIONE INTERNAZIONALE E LO SVILUPPO (4 ottobre 2013)