Dhaka has sought “effective and proactive” support from the international community to deal with the climate change issues noting that nearly 25 to 30 million people of Bangladesh will be uprooted from their sweet homes if there is a one-metre rise in sea level.
“Bangladesh cannot handle such a huge uprooted population alone… we need effective and proactive support from the international community,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.
He said Bangladesh wants to see more tangible outcomes from this year’s Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) so that people all over can understand the significance and benefit of having GFMD.
The Foreign Minister was addressing the virtual Pre-GFMD 2020 National Consultation, organized by Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development on Tuesday.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, former Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and President, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Benjir Ahmed, MP among others spoke at the event.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh is the host of 1.1 million Rohingyas who were forcibly displaced from their ancestral homes.
Again, he said, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries due to climatic change. “A large number of our population is being displaced due to erratic climate changes every year and we call them climate migrants.”
Currently, the minister said, it is in the high priority of the government of Bangladesh to skill its prospective migrant workers and up skill and re-skill the returnee migrants for a successful migration journey through training and capacity building.
“Simultaneously, we’re focused on taking advantage of technology for the welfare of the migrant workers at all stages of migration, especially during their stay abroad,” Dr Momen said.
He said the government has also been working to improve the data management by developing a more comprehensive database and connecting various ICT-based information services to provide assistance for the aspirant and returnee migrants and to ensure their protection.
GFMD Summit & 6 Themes
The United Arab Emirates, the current Chair of GFMD, has identified six themes for the upcoming GFMD Summit with a key objective to remain future focused, to establish partnership and cooperation between countries and other stakeholders.
All these themes have special significance, particularly in the context of post-Covid-19 period.
“We equally emphasize the importance of regional perspectives on migration which will be considered during the summit roundtables for the first time and I applaud UAE’s lead in organizing five online regional consultations,” Dr Momen said.
He said they appreciate UAE’s initiative through which GFMD Migration Lab has been used to identify opportunities to use partnership to tackle migration-related challenges and investigate options for putting them into practice.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh has always been playing a leading role in migration as Bangladesh considers it as an integral path to development both for the country of origin and the country of destination.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh played a key role in the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the New York Declaration (NYD), he said.
Dr Momen said the government of Bangladesh has been working continuously in line with the recommendations of major international processes and is an active participant in various regional and sub-regional platforms.
“We’ve included migration in our national policies like Five-Year Plans and Perspective Plan due to its multidimensional socio-economic aspects and strong relation with our foreign policy objectives,” he said.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh will continue to promote safe, regular and orderly migration at domestic, regional and global level. “Due to the proactive measure of the government, we now have the highest amount of inward remittance.”
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Never A Burden
“Migrants are never a burden. They’re the partners of development, engine of creativity and innovation. They create jobs and help the growth of the economy,” he said.
During the trying times of Covid-19, many of the migrant workers lost their jobs and were in great difficulties as they were not covered by the social safety nets of the countries of destination.
Besides, a large number of migrant workers are living or forced to live in a crowded environment which is risky for transmission of the virus, Dr Momen said.
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“As such, in order to see effective international governance of migration and to address the gaps to protect migrants, GFMD should take a more right-based approach and include protection measures in the migration policies.”
Dr Momen said migrant workers need to be included in the social and judicial protection system of the countries of destination to address the gap.
“We need to ensure migrants’ rights from the early stage of ethical recruitment to wage, health and job protection. For that to happen, the international community should play a key role through platforms like GFMD so that migrant workers are well covered by legal mechanisms in the host countries.”
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In addition, he said, they firmly believe that GFMD can play a crucial and proactive role in effective implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) which is a landmark initiative for migrants’ protection.