The main topics of interest to the State Secretariat for Migration in a multilateral context are climate migration and human trafficking/people smuggling.
Climate migration: The Nansen Initiative
Every year, millions of people are forcibly displaced as a result of natural catastrophes. The protection available to those who seek refuge in another country remains inadequate. Their situation is not covered by either the UN 1951 Refugee Convention or the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Therefore, together with Norway, Switzerland launched the Nansen Initiative to develop a Protection Agenda with the countries concerned and international organisations as well as civil society, so as to improve the situation of people displaced across borders.
At the turn of the millennium, the United Nations adopted eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in an effort to halve worldwide poverty by 2015 and promote global development. For the future, too, the international community of states intends to address global challenges by defining specific goals, with a new development and sustainability agenda for the post-2015 period. Switzerland is an active participant in formulating globally applicable development and sustainability goals.
Switzerland favours an integrated approach that equally encompasses all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Sustainable development also calls for peace, security and respect for human rights. The new goals should apply to all countries but also include country-specific measures. The goals should be action-oriented, measurable and easy to communicate.
Inclusive of migration
It is widely acknowledged that migration has had a major impact on the achievements of the MDGs without being formally reflected in the current framework. Switzerland recognises that global economic and social gains linked to migration require increased attention in order to realise their full potential. On this basis, it proposes three guiding objectives for migration:
- Ensuring safe and regular migration, notably by protecting the rights of migrants and guaranteeing access to justice
- Reducing the economic and social costs of migration through the transferability of rights, the recognition of qualifications and the limitation of transfer taxes
- Facilitating migrants’ contribution to sustainable development by, for example, engaging the diaspora as agents for development and planning any sectoral policy from a mobility and demography perspective.
Switzerland is committed to including these guiding principles in the new goals for sustainable development post-2015.
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