The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has said at the concluded 12th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, that employment policies and strategic alliances to seek effective and sustainable solutions are key to address the challenge of international migration.
ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Hunt, speaking at the closing plenary session of the forum recalled, “most migration is directly or indirectly related to the world of work, where there are now 164 million migrant workers or 70% of all working-age migrants, and nearly half are women.”
Hunt stressed that “as we look to the future, we can recognize that International migration is a reflection of global shifts, challenges and transformations, including in technology, in the world of work”.
The meeting in Quito this week brought together some 1300 delegates from 150 countries, international organisations, civil society, workers’ and employers’ organizations, and local authorities, among others.
The Global Forum was created in 2007 to facilitate discussion on how to generate better policies for international migration, develop innovative ideas and build partnerships.
“The ILO shares the view that partnerships among Governments, academia, media, mayors and migrants, as well as with the world of work actors –business, employers´ and workers organisations and trade unions –are critical in shaping evidence-based dialogue and public perceptions”, said Hunt.
Adding, he said that “ILO encourages social dialogue in the development and implementation of labour migration policies. This brings durability and legitimacy to programmes that support decent work.”
The ILO Regional Director reminded the plenary that “decent work deficits, humanitarian issues and other challenges such as climate change exacerbate these situations and will continue to drive migration across the world.”
ILO’s standards are particularly important in this regard as they lay the foundation for achieving decent work for all, including for realising fundamental rights and freedoms, reducing vulnerability and exploitation, he explained.
“When migration and employment policies are well-coordinated, we can make progress in eliminating recruitment fees and costs for migrant workers which reduce their savings and, in worst cases, lead to human trafficking and debt bondage”, he said.
Regarding the meeting in Quito, the ILO Regional Director considered that it has been an intense and rich summit that touched upon many aspects of the migratory phenomenon, included new actors in the discussion such as local authorities.
In his speech, he stressed the importance of countering at the international level “the negative rhetoric surrounding migration” and of increasing “the capacity of response” to the challenges posed by the mobility of large numbers of human beings from one country to another.
“A human-centred approach to the future of work is crucial if we are to continue to meet labour markets needs while also ensuring workers are protected and can fulfil their potential without discrimination or exploitation”, said Hunt.
The ILO delegation to the XVII Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Ecuador was headed by the Regional Director and the Director of the ILO Labour Migration Branch, Michelle Leighton.