UN, EU launch $18 mn initiative on migration

October 28th, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Oct 28 (DPA) The UN and the European Union (EU) launched Tuesday a 15-million-euro (about $18 million) joint initiative to promote migration and help protect migrant workers amid the global financial crisis.Amid warnings that the global crisis could force countries to restrict the entry of migrant workers, the UN-EU initiative aims to highlight the “positive impact of migration” on development.

The programme was launched on the sidelines of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Manila, which will be addressed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday.

Under the programme, financial grants will be provided to projects dealing with migrant communities, migrant rights, capacities of migrants and migrant remittances.

Gerhard Sabathil, a director of the European Commission in Manila, said 16 labour-providing countries, including the Philippines, will be covered in the initiative.

Peter Sutherland, the UN secretary general’s special representative on migration, urged countries not to restrict the flow of migrant workers despite the economic slowdown.

“We’ve seen how ineffective simple prohibition policies in regard to migration actually are,” he said. “They don’t really work. Migrants migrate. They will find a way, one way or another to do it.”

“What we have to do is foster adequate cooperation between countries of origin and countries of destination to constructively address issues of migration,” he added.

During the global forum, government officials and civil society experts were expected to come up with policy recommendations for the protection of migrant workers.

On Monday, Sharon Burrow, president of the International Trade Union Confederation, said restrictions on migration amid the global financial crisis might lead to a rise in illegal migrants.

She also warned that restrictions could also lead to higher unemployment in countries of origin of migrants and threaten remittances being sent by overseas workers.

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