19 September 2016 – Speaking at the opening of the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, a number of senior UN officials stressed on the importance of the Summit and called on world leaders for collective action to address the global crisis.
In his address at the opening session, William Lacy Swing, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the newest related organization of the United Nations system, said three elements had made the landmark agreement possible: global trends, trust and timing. Migration is driven by factors including demography, disasters, the digital revolution, technology, North-South disparities and environmental degradation, and is indeed a priority for all Governments.
The world also faces an unprecedented series of simultaneous, complex and protracted crises and humanitarian emergencies. Meanwhile, wide-spread and growing anti-migrant sentiment and policies has led to the “cruel irony that those fleeing terror and conflict are themselves being accused of terrorism and criminality.”
Outlining IOM’s approach, he said migration is inevitable owing to those drivers, necessary if economies and societies are to flourish and desirable if policies are responsible and humane. “To do so will require changing the toxic migration narrative and learning to manage cultural, ehnic and religious diversity,” he emphasized.