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Remarks by Counselor Yao Shaojun at the Second Informal Thematic Discussion on Global Compact on Migration of the General Assembly

2017/05/23

China thanks the co-facilitators for charing the second informal thematic discussion. The Chinese delegation wishes to make the following observations on the three topics.

1. Sustainable development and poverty eradication

I. Safe, orderly and regular international migration plays an important role in promoting inclusive growth and sustainable development. We must have a change of mindset to fully acknowledge the positive contribution that migrants make. Countries must adopt migration policies that fit their specific conditions and at the same time conform to international rules and regulations. Meanwhile, international cooperation needs to be strengthened in order to achieve a tripartite win-win scenario for countries of origin, transit and destination.

II. The main drivers of migration are poverty and uneven development to which all other causes can be attributed. Therefore, a development perspective must be incorporated throughout the consultation process on the global compact where the issue of migration should be addressed from the development angle. Elimination of the root causes of irregular migration is predicated on achieving common development of all countries, which involves two main tasks:

First, we must build a community of shared future for mankind. In today’s world, countries are inter-connected and inter-dependent bound together by a common future. We must therefore work together to build a world of lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity, a world that is open, inclusive, clean and beautiful. The international community should strengthen global partnership and enhance international cooperation for development so as to promote common development of all countries and reduce inequality among countries and narrow the wealth gap between the North and the South. Having unveiled the Belt and Road Initiative, China held the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing from May 14 to 15 this year. Upholding the principles of wide consultation, joint contribution and benefit sharing, the Forum focused on the promotion of infrastructure building and interconnectivity, the alignment of national policies and development strategies, the deepening of pragmatic cooperation, the facilitation of coordinated development and the achievement of common prosperity. All this will provide a great impetus to our efforts to build a community of shared future.

Second, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be implemented in an all-round, balanced and effective manner. Priority must be given to poverty eradication and fostering development with the focus on employment, education, health, industrialization and environmental protection. The localization of the 2030 Agenda needs to be expedited and countries should develop and implement national programs based on their specific conditions. Secure and predictable funding is critical to developing countries in their achievement of the SDGs. Developed countries must effectively honor their ODA commitments and do more to help developing countries achieve the SDGs.

2. Human-made crisis as a driver of migration

I. There is no international consensus on the concept of human-made crisis. All crises are caused by the interaction of economic, social and environmental factors, and human-made crisis is an overgeneralized and oversimplified term that doesn’t fit the purpose.

II. There must be a strict distinction between refugees and migrants. As noted in the Issue Brief, people who move across borders as a result of conflict and persecution are by definition refugees, not migrants. They should be covered by the global compact on refugees. China wishes to emphasize once again the importance of differentiating between refugees and migrants. There must be no confusion between the two.

III. There is a need to strengthen preventive diplomacy and resolve disputes between nations through dialogue and consultations. Countries should strictly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and observe recognized norms governing international relations such as mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression and peaceful settlement of disputes. Countries should resolve their differences by peaceful means such as dialogue and negotiations. The international community should fully respect the will of the countries concerned, maintain their leading role in the prevention and settlement of conflicts, and provide constructive assistance to these countries to help them advance political process and realize national reconciliation.

3. Adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters as drivers of migration

I. In the final analysis, climate change and natural disasters are issues of sustainable development. As such, challenges of climate change and natural disasters and their effect on cross-border migration can only be tackled in the development process and addressed within the framework of sustainable development.

II. There is a need to adopt integrated measures to reduce the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters. Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation must be incorporated into national strategies for sustainable development. The international community needs to actively implement the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. International and regional cooperation needs to be strengthened in areas of climate change and disaster reduction and relief, in order to improve the climate change adaptability and food security of developing countries, especially the SIDS, enhance the capacity building of the affected countries in risk management and disaster prevention and preparedness, and increase their resilience.

III. Discussion on migration should be conducted within the relevant GA mandate. Displacement caused by climate change and natural disasters include migration both within and across borders. Although they are related, the global compact on migration, per its mandate, should focus on cross-border migration, not IDPs.

IV. Guidelines and criteria proposed by some member states must be in conformity with the current international law and norms governing migration. Guidelines or criteria on which no consensus has been reached via intergovernmental negotiations at the UN are all voluntary in nature. As such, they must not be imposed on other member states leading to additional obligations.

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