|Retreat of the Heads of agency of the Global Migration Group on 9 October 2009|
GMG vows active leadership to face challenges of the global recession on the occasion of the Retreat of the Heads of Agency on 9 October 2009
A call for action and “clever” leadership emerged from a one-day retreat of the Global Migration Group, convened last Friday, 9 October, outside of Geneva by UNITAR, the current chair of the Group. The Heads and representatives of all 14 GMG member organizations vowed to play an active role to promote a rights- and evidence-based approach to international migration, and to foster greater inter-agency and policy coherence in this field.
GMG Principals expressed concern about ensuring respect for the human rights of migrants in the context of the global economic crisis and the ensuing recession which has prompted governments to further tighten legal avenues for migration. Job and pay cuts in many sectors and world regions have hit migrant workers particularly hard. In addition, in countries across the globe, migrants have become the victims of xenophobic reactions fueled by high unemployment.
The GMG cautioned that short-term measures adopted in response to the crisis should not overshadow longer-term considerations in shaping migration policies. Incentives for migration will remain high as long as income and opportunity gaps persist between countries. The newly released 2009 Human Development Report entitled "Overcoming barriers"  highlights the human development gains to be reaped from migrating across these divides. For many developing countries and countries in transition, remittances have gained relative importance as a source of foreign income during the current crisis, proving more stable than other financial flows. In addition, demographic imbalances will make future migration inevitable, as many industrialized societies, but also emerging economies such as China, will need to replace their ageing workforce.
GMG Principals thus concurred that migration is part of the solution, not the problem, in overcoming the global recession and fostering development. They called on governments to seek greater coherence in their approach to migration by adopting a clear policy framework at the national level, fostering inter-ministerial collaboration, monitoring the implementation of policies, and by publicly communicating the benefits of migration.
The GMG will send a message of support to governments at the third Global Forum on Migration and Development, to be held in Athens from 4-5 November 2009. The Group will also seek greater engagement in relevant fora at the regional level, and with stakeholders from civil society and migrant associations. A number of joint media messages and other outputs, such as a series of fact sheets providing information and guidance on migration and the economic crisis, are undertaken to enhance the GMG’s visibility. Furthermore, the GMG plans to strengthen its role in public information and education, including through the organization of a joint public conference in 2010.
The work of the GMG was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.