31 October 2005
Protection of Migrants' Rights, Role of Remittances in Development Underlined as Second Committee Concludes Debate on Globalization, Interdependence
Delegates also Emphasize Science, Technology in Raising Productivity of Developing Countries
NEW YORK, 28 October (UN Headquarters) -- As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its debate on globalization and interdependence today, speakers emphasized the need to protect migrants' rights, tackle the problem of illegal immigrants and human trafficking, and recognize the true role of migrant remittances in economic development.
Pakistan's representative noted that the number of migrants had increased from 82 million in 1970 to 200 million today, forming 3 per cent of the world's population. Yet, despite its intrinsic importance and cross-cutting nature, migration received only sporadic attention.
Ecuador's delegate said that extreme poverty, social marginalization and high unemployment often drove people to migrate to other countries. On the whole, migrant workers contributed positively to a host country's economy and should be rewarded for their part in generating growth. For instance, they should be paid suitable salaries, afforded protection, and given opportunities for social advancement.
Meanwhile, the negative aspects of migration were not lost on delegates, with several stressing the need for strict controls to counter illegal migration. Indonesia's representative said his country had been attempting to encourage discussion on illegal trafficking at the international level, and had recently finalized national legislation to protect migrant workers and combat trafficking in persons.
Malta's delegate described the incidence of unregulated human trafficking across the Mediterranean, and the consequent increase in illegal immigrants, which had caused a strain to his country's absorptive capacity recently. Malta had called for cooperation from the European Union and other partners in the Mediterranean to tackle the problem, and looked forward to discussing the multifaceted aspects of international migration at the High-level Dialogue on Migration to be held in 2006.
Pointing out that some Member States had developed regional partnerships, Switzerland's representative said her country had launched a management tool called "International agenda for migration management", which sought to strengthen the positive aspects of migration while countering their unwanted effects in the interest of all parties concerned. That project was jointly conducted with Brazil, Morocco, Philippines and Sweden.
The representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that, as the specialized agency dealing with labour issues, the ILO had been actively promoting labour migration as a positive economic and social force in a globalized economy. To that end, it had drafted a non-binding multilateral framework on labour migration and put together a compilation of best practices in labour migration policies. Those documents were aimed at policymakers.
On a related note, the representatives of several Latin American countries expressed their views on remittances, stressing that they were private funds to be used as the migrants themselves decided. Peru's delegate said that perverse attempts to treat migrant remittances as a source of financing for development were unacceptable and that those making such proposals should focus on implementing the commitments they had made towards achieving a real global partnership for development.
Delegates also addressed the role of science and technology in raising productivity in developing countries, noting that industrialization was essential to substantial economic growth. Development and poverty alleviation depended on the ability of nations to transform themselves from agricultural to knowledge-based economies, which could only be achieved by producing goods of high added value. Regrettably, the development promise of science and technology had remained unfulfilled, and technology had often created a great divide. Other participants addressed the question of corruption and emphasized the importance of institutional reform in coping with the challenges of globalization and interdependence.
Other speakers today included the representatives of Iran, Libya, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, San Marino, Belarus, Croatia, Kenya, Fiji, Iraq, Venezuela, Cape Verde, Colombia, Guatemala, Barbados, El Salvador, Uruguay, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Norway, Mexico and Nigeria.
Representatives of the World Bank, Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology also made statements.
The Second Committee will meet again at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, 31 October, to take up trade and development.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to conclude its general discussion on globalization and interdependence. (For background information, see Press Release GA/EF/3121 of 27 October.)
JAVAD AMIN MANSOUR (Iran), aligning himself with the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said it was needless to emphasize role of emerging technologies, such as biotechnology, in raising productivity and advancing the development process. However, Iran welcomed the establishment of United Nations-Biotech as an inter-agency coordination mechanism that could maximize system-wide action, coherence and effectiveness of support provided by United Nations agencies to Member States. Areas to be examined were agriculture and food; health; biosafety and the environment; trade and development; and capacity-building.
He said that while considering various aspects of science, including biological science and biotechnology, his country attached great importance to bioethics, public awareness and participation. Iran had hosted the International Congress on Bioethics in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in March 2005, where 36 papers on bioethics were presented. Bioethics, one of the newest and most important interdisciplinary branches of science, required serious attention and needed to be implemented at the same time that advances in science and technology were being made. Iran regarded the initiative by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to review national policies concerning science, technology and innovation as imperative in helping developing countries to develop their own capacity in that field.
OSWALDO DE RIVERO ( Peru) noted that migration offered benefits and challenges to countries of origin, as well as receiving States. In developing countries, it was beneficial when urban populations had grown significantly, where poverty went ignored, where incomes remained stagnant, and where unemployment, civil conflict and ecological destruction reigned. In view of the importance of migration, Peru would be hosting a special international conference for developing countries with substantial international migration flows in Lima in April 2006. The conference would focus on the regularization of migrant workers in destination societies; respect for the human rights of migrant workers and their families; the contribution of migrant workers to economic development in destination countries, and the importance of reducing the cost of remittances to origin countries; and the criminal trafficking of migrant workers.
He said that perverse attempts to consider migrant remittances as a source of financing for development were unacceptable. Those making such proposals should focus on implementing the commitments they had made to achieve a real global partnership for development.
ELMAHDI SALEH ELMEJERBI (Libya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the conflicting results of globalization made it incumbent on the international community to establish bilateral and multilateral partnerships based on mutual respect, in the spirit of the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Summit.
Market mechanisms alone were not sufficient to bring about development, he said. At the national level, it was also necessary to implement good governance and the rule of law, while at the international level, it was important to support the effective participation of developing countries in decision-making and norm-setting. Indeed, it was also important to create a multilateral trading system that was fair and non-discriminatory, and which gave priority to development issues.
In addition, developing countries should be allowed to acquire new technologies at suitable costs, he said, expressing the hope that the second session of the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Tunisia in November 2005, would provide the opportunity to discuss that issue. Regarding migration, Libya welcomed the upcoming High-level Dialogue on the subject. To promote the efficient allocation of resources so they could be used to combat hunger and achieve sustainable development, it was also important to eradicate corruption. Libya had signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on Corruption.
DIEGO CORDOVEZ ( Ecuador) said international migration was caused by extreme poverty in some nations, social marginalization in developing countries, and high unemployment. In Ecuador, migration had positive and negative effects, which made it a complex matter. Hopefully, the General Assembly's High-level Dialogue on international migration would make it possible to examine the phenomenon in depth.
Ecuadorean immigrants were seeking better conditions for themselves and their families, and would contribute positively to their host countries, he said. Migrant workers contributed to economic growth, and should be appreciated and respected with such benefits as suitable salaries, the possibility to advance, and social protection, as well as acceptance. However, illegal migration should be strictly controlled, with all nations joining in the fight against human trafficking.
Regarding remittances, he stressed that they were private funds to be used as migrants themselves decided. However, the cost of transferring remittances severely hindered investment and savings in home countries. The High-level Dialogue should address that question and offer solutions.
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY ( Pakistan) noted that the number of migrants had increased from 82 million in 1970 to 200 million today. Migrants now made up 3 per cent of the world population, with 1 in 35 being an international migrant. Yet, despite its intrinsic importance and cross-cutting nature, migration received only sporadic attention. The High-level Dialogue should provide a unique opportunity for the international community to set the foundation for enhanced international cooperation by comprehensively addressing the multifaceted phenomenon of international migration. Exploring and facilitating channels for regular migration would help maximize its developmental impact in both host and receiving States, as well as reduce human trafficking and the abuse of migrant rights.
Turning to science and technology, he said industrialization was key to substantial economic growth. Development and poverty alleviation depended on the ability of nations to transform from agricultural to knowledge-based economies, which could only be achieved by producing goods of high added value. Thus, the most critical component for socio-economic advancement was knowledge and innovation. Regrettably, the development promise of science and technology had remained unfulfilled, and technology had often become a great divider. Creating links between the knowledge generation and development was one of the greatest challenges facing developing countries.
NICOLE RUDER ( Switzerland) noted that Member States and interested civil society partners had set up cooperation mechanisms at the local, regional and international levels to analyse the different facets of migration and find appropriate ways to strengthen the positive aspects while countering their unwanted effects in the interest of all parties concerned. Switzerland had launched a management tool, called "International agenda for migration management", within the framework of the Berne Initiative, which listed common understandings and effective practices for a planned, balanced and comprehensive approach to the management of migration.
She said that in addition, Brazil, Morocco, Philippines, Sweden and Switzerland were initiators of the Global Commission on International Migration, which had submitted a report to the Secretary-General in early October that could form the basis of reference for future work. Switzerland welcomed the upcoming High-level Dialogue of 2006, saying that the universality and legitimacy of the United Nations made it an appropriate forum for examining the relationship between migration and social, cultural and economic development.
LAURO BAJA (Philippines) said the High-level Dialogue on international migration would allow the international community to address various issues, including the nexus between migration and development, especially its socio-economic effects; the need to reduce the cost of transferring migrant remittances to developing countries; the need to ensure respect for and protection of migrant rights; and enhancing global governance and cooperation on international migration. There was a need for more discussion among actors and stakeholders at the national, regional and global levels so as to smoothly manage migration flows.
Overseas employment was driven by the demand for particular skills in one country, and the availability of skilled manpower in another, he said. The receiving country gained skills without providing the necessary infrastructure or human-resource development, and the sending country was able to alleviate unemployment. Despite the economic rewards of overseas employment at the macro and micro levels, however, studies had also demonstrated the risks and costs that came with working in a foreign country, the most common of which were violations of migrants' rights. The Philippines had forged and upgraded bilateral or multilateral arrangements for its migrants with host Governments. Experience had shown that migration problems were more effectively resolved when the entry of Filipino workers into a host country was governed by a bilateral agreement or arrangement.
SAKIAS TAMEO ( Papua New Guinea) said that institutions in countries like his own were weak and faced severe manpower capacity and resource constraints. Those factors affected their ability to take advantage of the benefits and opportunities of globalization. The United Nations system and other development partners should provide support to complement their national efforts.
In terms of report preparation, he said small island developing States should be allowed to streamline their work to help them better cope with the workload. For instance, given the interlinkages among environmental issues, it would make sense for officials to prepare a single report. Similarly, a regional collaborative approach should be undertaken to deal with international terrorism. Regarding corruption, there were national institutions, laws and regulations designed to fight it, but efforts often fell short due to a lack of adequate technical manpower and financial resources.
DJANKOU NDJONKOU, Representative to the United Nations and Director, International Labour Organization (ILO), said the agency had been working actively to promote labour migration as a positive economic and social force in a globalized economy. Not only did migration provide benefits to the migrants themselves, but it also potentially provided one of the most important instruments for regional, economic and social integration. The ILO programmes and policies with respect to labour migration were guided by a rights-based approach, and defined in accordance with international labour standards. It was to be hoped that the high number of ratifications of its eight fundamental conventions would ensure the protection of migrant rights in the areas of collective bargaining, freedom from forced labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in employment. Other ILO standards, especially in the areas of labour inspection, wages, employment policy, private recruitment agencies, social security and occupational safety and health, were also applicable to migrant workers.
He said the ILO had prepared a draft non-binding multilateral framework on labour migration and a compilation of best practices in labour migration policies, which aimed to assist policymakers in formulating and implementing work. It had also been working with numerous partners in various forums, such as the Berne Initiative and the United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers. The ILO welcomed the inclusion of migration in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document and in next year's High-level Dialogue. The agency would seek to influence the global migration agenda with a view to contributing effectively to the quest for decent work and the management of migration for the benefit of both sending and receiving countries.
MAKARIM WIBISONO ( Indonesia) said the international community must address the institutional dimension of the globalization challenge, ensuring that global integration led to the achievement of social goals and protection for the environment. Given the transnational impact of globalization, isolated countries had difficulties dealing with it, which underscored the need for international, regional and national cooperation.
Turning to the problem of corruption, he said the Indonesian President had recently decreed that it would no longer be tolerated, and that all parts of Government must work to eradicate it. The country had also signed the Convention against Corruption, and was currently finalizing the steps towards ratifying it.
He said international migration was an integral part of globalization that had contributed to development in many countries. Indonesia had recently finalized national legislation to protect migrant workers and to combat trafficking in persons. It had also been attempting to encourage discussion on illegal trafficking at the international level. The upcoming High-level Dialogue on international migration would be an ideal forum to make recommendations on how the global community could tackle that problem.
DANIELE BODINI ( San Marino) pointed out that it had taken 120,000 years for the world's population to reach 1 billion in 1800, 130 years to reach the second billion in 1930, and only 70 years to reach 6 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, the per-capita gross national product of rich developed countries, where 1.2 billion of the world's population resided, stood at $22,000, in stark contrast with that of the 5.1 billion inhabitants of developing countries, which stood at $3,700. According to projected trends, the world population would increase to between 2 billion and 4 billion, with all the growth taking place in poor countries and in urban areas for the most part. There would also be a significant increase in the urban-versus-rural population.
In the face of those statistics, he questioned the financial, environmental and social feasibility of that growth, and asked Member States to consider ways to respond to the resultant looming problems. The use of technology by some developed countries in Asia was threatening the standard of living in industrialized countries, and in some successful developing countries, a great divide had grown between the poor majority and the rich elite. It was imperative that the United Nations address those issues promptly, so that the citizens of developed countries did not become poorer or feel threatened, and so that the increasing disparity between the rich minority and poor majority in successful developing countries was halted.
CAGLAR OZDEN, World Bank, said that diverging demographic trends between developed and developing countries, as well as the rapid decline in transportation and telecommunications costs, were making it increasingly difficult for current Government policies to restrain international migration. Although economists and sociologists had devoted considerable effort to analysing its effects on destination countries, comparatively little had been done about its effects on origin countries and on general development. Eighteen months ago, the World Bank had initiated the International Migration and Development Research Programme, which aimed to expand migration knowledge, identify policies and reforms that would lead to superior development outcomes, as well as win-win results for both source and destination countries and for migrants themselves.
Economic research indicated significant potential gains from liberalizing immigration policies, that would accrue to all three sets of actors, he said. However, international migration was also likely to entail a variety of costs. For origin countries, those included the loss of skilled migrants' positive impact on society and the resources used to educate them. Migrants were likely to suffer from being away from their families, friends and culture, and from the lack of effective legal protection. Costs for destination countries included the perceived threat to cultural identity and the effect of migrants' competition for the same jobs as locals. Given the complexity of the issue, great care must be exercised before making judgements and taking policy decisions, which must be preceded by extensive data collection and rigorous analysis.
ALBERT GHIGO ( Malta), aligning himself with the European Union, expressed concern about unregulated human trafficking across the Mediterranean, saying that the rapid increase in the number of illegal immigrants arriving in his country over the past several months had caused a strain on its absorptive capacity in financial, social, administrative and judicial terms. The phenomenon was accentuated by Malta's central location, as well as its small size and already dense population.
Over the past months, he said, Malta had called for cooperation from other European Union members and other partners in the Mediterranean to tackle the issue, and looked forward to discussing the multifaceted aspects of international migration at the 2006 High-level Dialogue. Malta also concurred with the Commission on Global Migration's view that migration was a transnational issue requiring cooperation between States at the subregional, regional and global levels.
ULADZIMIR GERUS ( Belarus) said that the Governments of industrialized countries were responsible for implementing sound macroeconomic policies in a globalizing world, since economic crises in those nations could lead to colossal losses for developing countries. Belarus was making its own contribution to resolving the socio-economic problems of developing countries, but the international community should also focus more on the needs of middle-income countries.
He said that a reformed United Nations should create the conditions in which each State felt it was a fully-fledged member of a global process. The Organization should work towards ensuring that every nation was able to make the best use of globalization's advantages, and to reduce its unfavourable impacts on society, especially in developing countries.
IRENA ZUBČEVIČ (Croatia), aligning herself with the European Union, said her country was well aware of the distortions created by corruption and was doing its utmost at the regional, national and local levels to create an environment where corruption could be eliminated. In 2002, the Croatian Parliament had adopted a national programme to combat corruption with an accompanying action plan. Also, the latest amendments to the country's criminal code named accepting and offering bribes in economic business as criminal acts.
She said that a department to combat economic crime and corruption had been formed in the Ministry of the Interior, and an office for the prevention of money-laundering established in the Ministry of Finance. A new body would be assigned to educate the general public and strengthen the role of civil society in fighting corruption. Judges and public prosecutors in the area of corruption would also be educated on the subject, with help from the European Union and the Legal Academy of the Ministry of Justice. Croatia's anti-corruption achievements had recently been evaluated by the Council of Europe Committee against Corruption.
SOLOMON KARANJA (Kenya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that wealth was being created, but too many countries, especially those in Africa, were not sharing its benefits. The rapid growth of global markets had not been accompanied by a parallel development of economic and social institutions to cater for the change in trade orientation, and to ensure the smooth and equitable functioning of those markets. Also, the multilateral trading system continued to be dominated by unfair trade rules and practices. Developing countries had opened up their markets through tariff reductions, exposing their infant industries to unfair competition in the process and, in turn, bringing about a loss of jobs and livelihoods. The same had not been reciprocated by developed countries, and the multilateral trading system should substantially reduce unfair barriers to market access, especially for goods in which developing countries had a competitive edge.
He noted that infrastructural weaknesses posed major impediments to investment and competitiveness by increasing the cost of production. Indeed, sound macroeconomic conditions must be buttressed by good physical infrastructure -- especially energy, road networks and telecommunications -- but many developing countries lacked the capacity for such infrastructural foundation, especially with the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) and rising external debt. There were also gaps in the field of science and technology, which would otherwise allow developing countries to make greater advances in agriculture, industry and biomedical services. However, Kenya had established several research institutions over the years in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, coffee and tea. Significant advances had also been made in the area of geothermal and hydropower, fuelwood technologies, wind and solar energy, bioenergy and animal power; food processing; certified seed production; plant and animal breeding; and fertilizer research.
ISIKIA SAVUA ( Fiji) noted that remittances received from migrant workers had significant impacts on poverty, and potentially on long-term economic development. At the individual and family levels, remittances enhanced economic security and well-being in developing countries by providing critical resources for spending on immediate subsistence needs, such as food and shelter, as well as improved health care, education and housing. They also provided income for investments and supported land purchases, entrepreneurial activities and savings, which stimulated local and national economies. At the national level, remittances increased foreign exchange receipts, financed imports and improved national credit ratings.
Despite such benefits, international migration had its costs, including the vulnerability of migrant workers, he said. Protecting migrants' rights and ensuring that labour standards were respected in host countries was an often overlooked aspect of the remittance equation. Migrant workers were more likely to fully realize their potential as remitters in environments where internationally recognized labour standards were respected and domestic labour laws were adequately enforced. Technical cooperation between and among States was needed to strengthen institutions, enact legislation and formulate plans of action to redress violations of migrant workers' rights.
KURDISTAN KITTANI ( Iraq), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that revolutions in technology and communications had reduced the world to a village. It was possible for developing countries to attain their goals through the best use of the opportunities they had, as well as by undertaking institutional reforms to enable their integration into the world economy. So far, globalization had not provided enough solutions to the problems faced by developing countries, such as poverty and disease. The growing digital divide only exacerbated their weakness in the commercial, trade and technology sectors.
Noting that developing countries had been asked to create national policies and mobilize their own resources towards the attainment of development goals, she said Iraq had difficulty in doing that because armed conflicts waged by the former regime had depleted the country's resources and turned it into a debtor country whereas, previously, it had always been a creditor. Regardless, Iraq had begun to undertake reforms in its financial, economic and trade sectors with the hope that those reforms would help the country regain its former status.
GABRIEL SALAZAR-PINEDA ( Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed that globalization had only benefited a limited number of countries, companies and elites that were socially and politically allied. Elsewhere, it had translated into poverty and illness for millions of people. Every night, 300 million children went to bed hungry, and 6 million children died of malnutrition before the age of 5. Globalization had benefited powerful nations, creating new kinds of inequality in the process, and hiding the true nature of the world.
Increased economic activity due to globalization had only enriched a few, while contributing to the poverty of many, he reiterated. Developing countries had experienced several negative effects of globalization, including brain drain. Globalization was an inhuman process that had failed to address poverty and development.
JOSÉ MARIA SILVA ( Cape Verde) said that half his country's population lived abroad as emigrants, and the remittances they sent back home made up 15 per cent of the gross domestic product. The Government considered emigrants as strong assets for development, and had created, in 1991, a Ministry of Migrant communities, as well as an institute devoted to migrant workers' issues. Those institutions protected and promoted the emigrants' interests at the national, regional and international levels, and informed them about their rights.
The positive impact of remittances was highly visible in Cape Verde, contributing greatly to its fight against poverty, he said. Remittances were behind the academic training of most of its people, responsible for the appearance of several small enterprises, and for the creation of many temporary jobs. Special treatment -- such as favourable loans and customs rates -- had been granted to emigrants, so that they would invest in and return to their home country.
However, he noted that developing countries faced a major challenge due to international migration -- that of brain drain. Cape Verde could eventually achieve a greater and better level of development if it could count on all its educated workers who had chosen to live in countries with better pay and living standards. The country must create conditions to retain those living at home, and attract those who had left, which would require efforts at the national, regional and international levels.
MARÍA ÁNGELA HOLGUÍN CUELLAR ( Colombia) noted that migration created issues of socio-economic integration, human-resource development, and remittances, which could then be transformed into productive and positive elements for development. Remittances had increasingly been recognized for their importance in Latin America and the Caribbean, where they had amounted to about $38 million in 2003 -- more than a threefold increase over the last eight years. Colombia had experienced much emigration, with more than 4 million of its citizens settling abroad and significantly increasing the country's flow of financial income. Whether they covered living or health expenses, housing, education or investment, remittances stimulated a country's economic activity.
Within its new Tributary Reform Law, Colombia had reduced the financial costs of remittances, she said. It had also begun a field investigation to determine their micro and macro impact in various regions of the country; encouraged academic discussion of the topic; and participated in forums about migration and remittances as part of a policy from the Inter-American Development Bank.
JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE ( Guatemala), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said corruption was a structural problem involving cultural, political, economic, institutional, and legal aspects. Often, powerful groups, such as those involved with international drug trafficking and organized crime, were able to capture State structures, undermining institutions and their credibility and holding up developments. The international community must step up efforts to tackle the problem.
Guatemala had embarked on several domestic programmes, including the de-bureaucratizing of Government funds and strengthening the tax and auditing machinery, he said. In addition, it had mechanisms to promote transparency among public officials, by supervising and controlling procedures on investment by the State. Furthermore, a unit set up with World Bank support served to detect anomalies in financial systems and had the power to impose penalties on officials and private persons acting against the country's economy.
Regarding migration, he said his country supported the upcoming High-level Dialogue and other regional initiatives. Guatemala had also set up a body to assist and protect Guatemalan migrants in Mexico, who had arrived there with no money or protection. There was need for caution before the international community passed judgement or adopted policies on migration because it was a complex, multifaceted issue. Dialogue should not be seen as a laboratory where the myriad facets of migration were dissected or dealt with in isolation.
CHRISTOPHER HACKETT ( Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the small economies of that group had encountered serious adjustment problems in integrating into the global trading regime. They had experienced several disruptions and challenges to their traditional trading arrangements, which were largely based on non-reciprocal preferential market access to developed economies. For example, they had faced the dismantling of the traditional banana export trade, as well as other challenges related to the European Union sugar reform proposals.
In the spirit of global partnership, he said CARICOM called on the international community to provide greater international cooperation and partnership in implementing the Mauritius Strategy, especially by promoting international trade as an engine for development. It should also accept and entrench the principles of special and differential treatment both at the World Trade Organization (WTO) level, and in regional arrangements; align global trade rules with the promotion of sustainable human development; and provide broader support for such sectors as tourism and financial services, especially in achieving fair and competitive trade.
Turning to corruption, he said it negatively affected the legitimate expansion of business, impeding foreign direct investment that sought stable conditions for development and solid long-term growth. The social consequences of allowing corrupt public officials, organized criminal groups and terrorists to launder money had been shown to be disastrous. The Convention against Corruption, which would enter into force on 14 December, would go a long way towards bringing the international community together to recover monies and other stolen assets siphoned off to safe havens by corrupt officials.
VANESSA EUGENIA INTERIANO ( El Salvador) said that the transfer of technology and know-how to developing countries was essential for them to achieve growth, eradicate poverty, create a knowledge society, increase digital connectivity and improve social well-being. In addition, specialized human capital could improve a country's competitiveness in the international arena. People must expand their information technology and communications skills, and to that end, El Salvador had created the post of Vice-Minister for Technology within the Ministry of Education to oversee the use of technology for teaching and training purposes.
Turning to migration, she stressed that its impact was felt by almost all countries. It was important to recognize its relationship to the originating country's economic challenges. Discussions about migration should be seen as opportunities for countries to collaborate on other aspects of economic development as well. In terms of remittances, it was important to clarify that it should not replace development assistance and that remittances certainly did not benefit all who were needy. El Salvador valued what its nationals abroad could do to help the country's economy. States should do more to protect remittances and reduce transmission costs. El Salvador supported dialogues between origin, transit and destination countries, and was prepared to make its contribution in that area.
NURY BAUZÁN DE SENES (Uruguay) stressing the key role that science and technology could play in development, noted, however, that access to the relevant technology was concentrated in developed countries, creating a growing gap between them and developing countries. That trend could be reversed by investing in developing-countries technology, allowing them to become more productive and prosperous.
She said her country was a member of the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, the only United Nations body devoted to genetic engineering and biotechnology, which promoted biotechnology worldwide, paying special heed to the needs of developing countries. Uruguay had benefited from its valuable technical and financial assistance for research projects. Its many activities in the areas of health, nutrition, industrial development and molecular genetics made it possible to maximize a country's potential in those areas.
YASIR ABDELSALAM ( Sudan) said his country was pleased with the extent to which the United Nations system was engaged in biotechnology activities, with special emphasis on the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. The five themes raised in the Secretary-General's report on the topic of science and technology was important for developing countries to consider, but implementation might result in varying effects due to the different characteristics of each country.
The Sudan wished to continue its cooperation with the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Centre and hoped that intensified cooperation would result in great benefits.
YASOJA GUNASEKERA ( Sri Lanka) emphasized the need to enhance international cooperation on migration issues so as to ensure that the movement of people across borders was managed humanely and effectively. Remittances from migrant workers were a significant source of foreign exchange to many developing countries, playing an important role in offsetting the impact of the trade deficit on the current account. They had a direct and immediate impact on receiving communities.
A significant amount of worker remittances were coming into Sri Lanka through informal channels with implications for misuse by terrorists and other criminal elements, she said. To counter that trend, State banks were expanding their network of branches throughout the country, and the Government had encouraged returning migrant workers to make investments and to engage in long-term financial planning.
As one of the countries that had ratified the Convention against Corruption, she said Sri Lanka considered the treaty's entry into force in December an important event, considering the serious impact that corruption had on economies and politics worldwide. Sri Lanka had adopted several policies to combat corruption, focusing particularly on strengthening national laws relating to investigation and trial, in order to make the criminal justice system more efficient.
FAISAL ABDULLA HAMAD AL-ATHBA ( Qatar), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the adverse effects of globalization required a review of current international policies. The distribution of benefits continued to be imbalanced, threatening to accentuate feelings of discontent and frustration, while the gap between developed and developing countries continued to broaden. A one-size-fits-all approach, which minimized the State's role and promoted excessive reliance on market mechanisms, was not sufficient. Developing countries needed policy space in the areas of trade, investment and industrial policy, to address that problem.
He said that part of the explanation behind some countries' poor economic performance could be traced to weak institutions. The Secretary-General's report covered both organization-building, as well as the formation of rules and social norms, including those defining political, economic and social interactions. Studies had shown the correlation between good institutions and positive economic performance. The types of institutions that a country adopted should be chosen with that country's particular needs in mind, and should balance the need for efficiency with equity. Reports must be followed up by focused discussions led by United Nations entities in their respective areas of competence. Qatar would hold a discussion next month, in which corruption and money-laundering would be the focus.
LARS SELMAR ALSAKER ( Norway) noted that the report of the Global Commission on International Migration had shown clearly the need for better coordination in different policy areas pertinent to migration. One of its main findings was the link between development and migration, which should help in placing migration higher on the global agenda as a major driving force for development. In particular, the United Nations should focus more on remittances, coordinating with the World Bank, and also hold more North-South dialogue on the issue.
He said his country would continue to support the follow-up process of the report, ensuring that it took a broad perspective in its approach to migration issues. The concept of a Global Migration Facility, as presented in the Secretary-General's report, could represent a way forward in ensuring a coherent perspective.
CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU AGUIRRE ( Mexico) urged Member States to refer to every dimension of the migration issue at the High-level Dialogue to be held next year, paying particular attention to the question of migrants' human rights. The dialogue provided an opportunity to discuss the necessary measures to deal with migration and foster a sense of cooperation about it. It was also crucial to address ways to reduce the cost of transmitting remittances so as to maximize their impact on migrant families. The High-level Dialogue should serve as a forum to exchange experiences.
He said his country agreed on the importance of bilateral and regional efforts to deal with migration. The close links between migration and economic development made it a global phenomenon, calling for an integrated and broad approach. The Dialogue should be viewed as a first step towards future developments.
JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said sustainable development could only be guaranteed through demonstrable ownership, which considered national circumstances, priorities and needs. An appreciation of the institutional, social and political realities should not only underpin policy advice, but also reinforce national ownership and leadership of development strategies. The growing phenomenon of "self-insurance" by many developing countries through the accumulation of foreign reserves should emphasize the need to strengthen the international financial architecture to prevent and better manage financial crises, paving the way for the attainment of national development objectives.
She said that most countries were affected by international migration, either as countries of origin, transit or destination. Hopefully, Member States would be prepared to reach consensus on the need to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts of migration at the High-level Dialogue in 2006.
As a signatory to the Convention against Corruption, Nigeria was convinced that the fight against corruption would assume greater momentum and yield better results through cooperative action, she said. In the past year, the country had demonstrated its readiness to bring to trial persons deemed to have committed acts of corruption. For the first time in its democratic history, cabinet ministers, high-ranking politicians and other top officials in both the public and private sectors had been charged with corruption. However, the fight against corruption must proceed in a cooperative fashion, as the prevention, recovery and repatriation of corrupt proceeds were onerous tasks, and national efforts alone would be ineffective.
ANDA FILIP, observer for the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the debate on international migration had demonstrated clearly the need for parliamentarians to play an active role in raising awareness of the many challenges of migration within their constituencies and in the population at large. The lack of democratic institutions and consequent feeling of disenfranchisement were often overlooked in explaining migration. When people felt they did not count and would never be empowered, they had every reason to want to escape to freer and more democratic countries.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union was developing a host of technical assistance projects, seminars and publications aimed at supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and good governance, she said. Economically, it was promoting fairness in trade relations so that workers in developing countries could gain a decent living and Governments could strengthen social safety nets.
Turning to migration, she commented on its increasing feminization and the need for new policy approaches to consider the particular circumstances of migrant women and children, including those who had been trafficked. There was also a need for increased policy coherence on migration, given that its multiple dimensions and the conflicting interests surrounding it had given rise to contradictory laws and regulations.
ADOLFO TAYLHARDAT, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, said the Centre was concerned with applications in health, environments and industrial development, particularly those that could alleviate hunger and poverty. The Centre was the only laboratory in the United Nations devoted to that area of science and had laboratories and scientists in Trieste, Italy, and New Delhi, India.
He said the Centre had been developed to assist with scientific and technological capacities in developing countries, train scientists, promote scientific projects and advise on biotechnology projects. It had carried out advanced research and training in molecular science and advanced biotechnology, nutrition, and protection of the environment. Its main aim was to place biotechnology at the service of developing countries and to strengthen their biotechnological capacities.
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