April 18, 2017
International Dialogue on Migration: Implementing the SDGs and Other Major Frameworks

Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
International Dialogue on Migration

Panel 1: Implementing the SDGs and Other Major Frameworks:
How the Global Compact on Migration can help meet our commitments

New York, 18-19 April 2017


Mr. Chair, Distinguished Panelists,

The Global Compact on Migration will provide the international community with an opportunity to achieve the commitments it made in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. During his address to the UN General Assembly, on 25 September 2015, Pope Francis described the adoption of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” as “an important sign of hope”.[1] Taking into consideration the 2016 Note from the Holy See with regard to the same Agenda (Annexed to the Letter dated 25 September 2016 from the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General, A/71/430, October 5, 2016), the Holy See believes that this hope will be realized only if the Agenda is truly, fairly, and effectively implemented for all, including for migrants. In the Agenda itself, Target 10.7 calls for the facilitation of “orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.” Such an outcome requires, however, the analysis, delineation and effective realization of practical strategies to address the drivers of forced migration, like those proposed in the Agenda, the New York Declaration, and the Sutherland Report.

For this reason, Pope Francis has urged all government leaders to take immediate, effective, practical and concrete steps to preserve and improve the natural environment and thus put an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion.

Mr Chair,

At the heart of forced migration is lack of solidarity and often willful neglect of our neighbors’ most basic needs, such as access to quality education, decent work, adequate housing and primary health-care. These unmet needs are at the root of global instability and their baneful repercussions are human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime.[2]

This is why our first and most basic work must be to answer the basic needs of our brothers and sisters and to ensure their peace and security at home. This is also the fundamental purpose of the Goals we set out for ourselves in the 2030 Agenda.

One additional area of grave concern requiring attentive consideration during this dialogue’s deliberations is that of the significant numbers of unaccompanied or separated child migrants. My delegation would like to echo the recent words of Pope Francis and make a heartfelt appeal that long-term, concrete solutions to this problem be incorporated into the Compact and adopted.

Even before addressing solutions, such as family reunification, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. This requires, as a first step, the commitment of the whole international community to eliminate the conflicts and violence that force people to flee or to send their children ahead with the hope that they will find safety, security and ultimately a better life. Farsighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programs for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, so that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This perspective should also inform the programs, services and protections provided to migrants not only during their journey, but also upon their arrival in countries of transit and destination. [3]

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

1. Pope Francis, Address during Meeting with Members of the United Nations General Assembly, UN
Headquarters, 25 September 2015.
2. Ibid.
3. Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017.