Siseministeeriumi Kodakondsus- ja rändepoliitika osakonna direktori Ruth Annus`e sõnavõtt Peaassamblee kõrgetasemelisel migratsiooni ja arengu teemalisel kohtumisel


President, Excellencies, Distinguished Panellists, Ladies and Gentlemen


It is a profound honour to take floor at this timely event highlighting the importance and interconnectedness of migration and sustainable development. Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and I would like to make some additional remarks.


Estonia acknowledges the important contribution of migration in realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Human mobility is a key factor for sustainable development which should be adequately considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 agenda.


Although the incentives for people to leave their homes can include a wide range of reasons with positive and negative shades, we can all agree that migration has been an integral part of human societies throughout history and in the era of globalization we can expect that the human mobility only intensifies. Keeping in mind the commitment to a more coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approach to migration and development we should have two general objectives in our debate. Firstly - reconciling ourselves with migration processes and identifying and encouraging the positive implications of migration such as contributing to economic development and bringing about innovation, trade and investment. Secondly – overcoming the negative aspects of involuntarily migration by tackling the root causes of forced migration in the countries of origin. It is the responsibility of each State, to protect the human rights and provide services to every person, especially the most vulnerable persons as women and children, staying within their borders. Each State should focus on good governance. Supporting the rule of law, strengthening independent judicial mechanisms, ending impunity, and ensuring accountability and responsive government are some measures to take on the path to ensuring proper, sustainable development for all. International community can provide assistance in building up the capacities and resilience of countries struggling with development challenges or being affected by unkind climate features. National ownership and determination to solve the problems, good governance practices and rule of law are essential to make the most of the international assistance.


Let me also underline that due to global population dynamics and nature of globalized economies the labour mobility is inevitable and welcomed. In the process, however, there are number of aspects to consider. We must respect and promote international labour standards as appropriate and respect the rights of migrant workers. We must make a stronger effort to tackle the discrimination of migrants and to improve public perceptions of migrants and migration. The challenges related to the integration and reintegration of migrants, including the adaptation of national labour markets and systems for health care, education, and social security to increasingly diverse and interconnected societies must be addressed. It should be acknowledged that refugees and other persons in need of protection can present significant challenges for some host countries and communities. It should also be recognised that through empowerment migrants can make important contributions to host communities and local and national economies. More mobile labour force implies the rising importance of remittances as a significant contribution to private financing for development in their home countries. Therefore the conditions for cheaper, faster and safer transfers of remittances in both source and recipient countries should be promoted. Cooperation with innovative private sector companies, such as TransferWise, set up by young Estonian ICT entrepreneurs, is one way to tackle these challenges.



With your permission I’d draw now your attention to the most vulnerable among migrants ­− refugees and other persons in need of protection. According to the UNHCR more people in the world have been forced to flee from their homes this year than at any time in nearly two decades, including over 1,5 million who have left Syria to escape the humanitarian crises. The increasing flow of refugees from Syria is substantially affecting the entire region and beyond. It has a robust impact on host communities, economies, infrastructure, environment, and security. It is important that the international community makes coordinated efforts to assist and support migrants stranded in vulnerable situations. The protection need of refugees and other displaced persons should be addressed as close as possible to their country of origin. We need to secure development initiatives targeting refugee communities, as well as host countries and host communities. I can confirm that Estonia is committed to provide financial and expert support to meet the pressing need of the most vulnerable.  


Finally I wish to remind us all that the main challenge of the post-2015 negotiations will be to formulate and reach global agreement on a concrete and measurable set of development goals, which would keep the three dimensions of sustainability in its core and maintain a strong focus on poverty eradication. The targets should leave no one behind and be applicable and achievable in every country. Both the positive and negative aspects of migration must be taken into account while discussing the sustainable development goals. In order to allow us to benefit from the positive aspects of migration and minimise the negative aspects, it has to be ensured that the migration is well managed by evidence-based policies and decision-making.


Thank you for your attention



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