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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 2 October 2013

Historic UN meeting on migration and development on 3-4 October in New York

On 3-4 October the UN High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development will convene in New York. For the second time in history, it will bring together policy makers and practitioners from around the world to reflect on a bolder approach to migration and development. European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, will represent the EU at this meeting and give a keynote speech on migration and the post-2015 development framework and on how global efforts can be better suited to new realities, with ever-growing international mobility.

"The High-level Dialogue will focus on how to enhance the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries alike and on how to strengthen global cooperation in this area. We have to redefine our approach to migration and mobility in order to reap all the benefits it can bring to our economies and societies. Unleashing the full potential of migration for economic development is one of the great challenges for the 21st century. We have to promote concrete measures which make a meaningful contribution to the lives of migrants and protect their rights", stated Cecilia Malmström.

New UN data show that the number of international migrants has grown from 175 million in 2000 to 232 million today, with Asia accounting for much of the increase. And the total is projected to reach 400 million by 2040. Europe remains the most popular destination region with 72 million international migrants in 2013. Within Europe, Germany and France hosts the largest immigrant communities.

The HLD should make an effort to create an action-oriented agenda that contains tangible targets In particular to:

  1. Ensure that development strategies recognise migration and mobility as 'enabling factors' for development.

  2. Respect the dignity and uphold the human rights of migrants, regardless of the migrants’ legal status.

  3. Recognise the opportunities and challenges that increasing urbanisation and migration bring for cities and urban regions.

  4. Strengthen migration governance through bilateral and regional cooperation, including by engaging with civil society.

  5. Foster international and regional labour mobility.


  1. Key figures on international migration

More people than ever are living abroad. In 2013, 232 million people (3.2 per cent of the world’s population) were international migrants, compared with 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990.

According to the latest figures by the UN1 Europe and Asia host nearly two-thirds of all international migrants worldwide. Europe remains the most popular destination region with 72 million international migrants in 2013. Within Europe, Germany and France hosts the largest immigrant communities.

The findings also show that South-South migration is as common as South-North migration. Most international migrants originate in developing country but in recent years they have been settling in almost equal number in developed and developing regions.

This increasing regional and global mobility creates opportunities; contributing for instance to poverty reduction and innovation. But it also requires effective governance in order to address challenges such as ‘brain drain’ (outward migration of educated people), migrant exploitation and the effects of migration on urbanisation.

  1. Discussions at the UN High-level Dialogue will focus on:

  1. Measures to ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of all migrants, with particular reference to women and children as well as to prevent and combat the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons and to ensure orderly, regular and safe migration;

  2. Assessing the effects of international migration on sustainable development and identifying relevant priorities in view of the preparation of the post-2015 development framework;

  3. Strengthening partnerships and cooperation on international migration, mechanisms to effectively integration migration into development policies and promoting coherence at all levels; and

  4. International and regional labour mobility and its impact on development.

  1. The EU approach

With its Global Approach to Migration and Mobility the EU has developed a balanced and comprehensive external migration policy which includes migration and development as one of its four operational priority areas. Migration is also a priority under the EU's development cooperation, the Agenda for Change.

Together with its Member States, the EU is the world's leading donor of development assistance and will continue to provide substantial support in the years to come. Between 2004 and 2012, the Commission has committed almost €1 billion to more than 400 migration-related projects.

On 21 May, the European Commission adopted a Communication "Maximising the Development Impact of Migration", which provides the basis for a common position of the EU and its Member States at the High-level Dialogue. It also makes proposals on how to ensure that future EU action on migration and development becomes truly comprehensive, addressing the full range of positive and negative impacts of the various forms that migration can have on sustainable economic, social and environmental development in low- and middle-income countries of origin and destination.

Useful Links

Cecilia Malmström's website

Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter

DG Home Affairs website

Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter

Contacts :

Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63)

Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64)

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