I wish to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report. My delegation also acknowledges the role of the special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration and Development, relevant UN Agencies and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) for its work on managing migration in a humane and orderly fashion.
My delegation also associates itself with the statements presented by the African group and the G77/China.
We meet seven years after the first high level dialogue on migration united in our resolve to advance international co-operation
We welcome the thematic focus on migration and development and look forward to the deliberations on this theme, however,we think its important to give attention to the challenge of migration in a context of poverty. How can poor countries convert migration into an opportunity for development rather than a further addition to the poor and most vulnerable?
Many developing countries experience migration in a context of poverty - how do we include them in this debate?
Some countries are vulnerable because of inadequate immigration systems and low levels of security and become victim to criminal syndicates that steal identity and traffic women and children. We must respond to their challenges as well.
South Africa believes this dialogue should help countries resolve current migration challenges through creating links between stakeholders that will lay the basis for effective solutions to intractable challenges.
The dialogue should serve as a platform for the renewal of commitments at the highest level. We hope that the conclusions will signal a vibrant political commitment to advancing an agreed international agenda on migration.
South Africa believes the debates on international migration are appropriately located within the UN System, they should happen here and monitoring must be done by the United Nations. That will allow all members an opportunity to discuss on an equal footing.
Migration is a global phenomenon today. People are moving to seek better opportunities, and global corporates are looking for scarce skills and talented individuals.
Regular (documented) migration holds positive benefits for migrants as well as for countries of origin transit and destination.
Unfortunately, irregular (illegal) migration causes difficulties for governments and migrants. We also recognize that sometimes people are forced to migrate to survive. South Africa is not yet at a point where it can effectively administer all these different forms of migration. The partnerships we build here must help us to develop our national capacities to administer our populations and effectively manage migration.
We are working within the African Union to support countries to develop National Population Registers and legal frameworks that will support migration. In South Africa we work across various Departments to manage the multi-dimensional facets of migration. We are both a sending and more and more a receiving nation. Migrants who are largely unskilled and poor come to South Africa seeking opportunity. Given our context of millions of unskilled and poor nationals we have had to work hard to achieve integrationand peaceful collaboration.
Our migration policy emanates from our Bill of Rights, our commitment to human rights and to international protocols and conventions. South Africa is committed to doing all that is necessary to ensurethe protection of migrants and to promoting respect for human rights for all. We approach this debate on migration with a belief that it can contribute to development if properly managed and planned. Countries need to ensure they have institutions and frameworks that will ensure migration does lead to development. We begin from the premise that our responsibility is to fight poverty, under development and inequality; while promoting migration policies that will lead to socio-economic growth, enhance skills training, promote human security, global partnerships and capacity building to benefit South Africa andmigrants equally.
At the regional level the SADC Protocol onthe Facilitation of Movement of Persons recognizes our inter-dependence as asub-region. It seeks to involve the people of the sub-region in the process of development and aims at the progressive elimination of obstacles to movement of persons with in the Region. The Protocol, together with those of the sub-regions of our Continent, will contribute to a continental migration management framework that incorporates migration issues and solutions unique to our various regions in a coordinated manner.
South Africa has signed visa waiver agreements with several countries in the Region reflecting our recognition of the reality of migratory movements and the need to manage them in a manner that is conducive to the growth and development of the region. South Africa hosted the World Conference Against Racism and Xenophobia (WCAR) in 2001, where an action plan was adopted to reflect on measures to ensure the fair and non-discriminatory treatment of migrants, regardless of status, with particular attention to preventing discrimination against women, children and the elderly and members of minority groups. We remain committed to the action plan.
Given the reality and challenges posed by international migration, we are of the view that when managed and supported effectively international migration contributes to social and economic development. The number of international migrants worldwide reached 232 millionin 2012 and therefore remains a valid part of the discussion of the United Nations Post-2015 development agenda, including in the context of population dynamics and the implications it holds for development, as people will continue moving beyond borders for different reasons, in pursuit of a better life, beyond 2015. finally, we are of the view that the debate on migration and development should be integrated with discussions about the post 2015 MDGs agenda.
I thank you.