MINISTÉRIO DOS NEGÓCIOS ESTRANGEIROS Gabinete do Secretário de Estado dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Cooperação 1 Global Forum Migration and Development Brussels, 10 July 2007 Chair: H.E. Ms. Régine De Clercq, Ambassador for Migration and Asylum Policy - Belgian Executive Director of the GFMD Honourable Chairman Distinguished participants in the Global Forum I would like to start by congratulating the Government of Belgium for the organisation of this Forum, which we consider to be very timely and pertinent, at a moment when the issue of migration and development has consolidated its place among the priorities of the international agenda.
In March last year I had the honour to participate in another Belgian and IOM initiative, the International Conference on Migration and Development, which also took place in Brussels, and which represented some of the initial fundamental steps in these debates. Much work remains to be done, in terms of articulating the different perspectives on the theme of migration and in particular on the relation between migration and development, and I am very happy to note that the international momentum has been kept will beyond the 2006 focus. I am sure that we shall all respond appropriately to the need to maintain this theme at the forefront of the international agenda.
I therefore wish to leave a note of tribute to the leadership of Belgium in taking up an initiative that provides all of us with an important platform for informal exchange of information and experiences, and giving it such significant weight. I ... more.
would also like to commend Madam de Clercq for her extraordinary work in this process, which involved broad consultations among a diverse set of actors, and which we know was a huge task. Portugal is proud to have participated as a member of the cFriends of the Forum d in the MINISTÉRIO DOS NEGÓCIOS ESTRANGEIROS Gabinete do Secretário de Estado dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Cooperação 2 preparatory process, and this has also provided us with significant learning opportunities, including in our internal work in Portugal among the different relevant departments.
We bring to this process the firm conviction that migration must not be looked upon as something undesirable or negative. On the contrary, migration is an example of mankind 9s irrepressible drive to fulfil dreams and to offer a better life to future generations. It is, in many ways, the most outstanding and constant feature of human history, worldwide, and we firmly believe that our great responsibility is to help migrants to live up their full potential Mr.
Chairman, Distinguished participants, As you well know, Portugal currently holds the presidency of the European Union, and we have chosen migrations as one of the top priority issues, to be addressed during our tenure. We are particularly keen to ensure concrete results in improving the coherence between our migration and development policies and together with our European partners we will be working hard on this matter over the coming months. In the same line, one of the initiatives within our presidency is the organisation of a ministerial conference in September, on legal migration, designed to address aspects of legal mechanisms for migration, integration of migrants, and the interplay of migration and development policies.
We will also, for the first time, hold a ministerial meeting on migrations for the 37 countries of the Euro-Mediterranean region, in November, which takes a global approach to the migration issues and which will propose concrete ways of enhancing the positive aspects of migration for the development of the countries of the region. Portugal has, at the internal level, been working in a n interdepartmental manner towards a global approach to migration. We have developed innovative initiatives at the MINISTÉRIO DOS NEGÓCIOS ESTRANGEIROS Gabinete do Secretário de Estado dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Cooperação 3 level of internal affairs, which others have chosen to follow.
We have a new immigration law, incorporating the concept of circular migration 3 centred around the concern for brain drain in the countries of origin: and we have renewed our efforts at promoting integration, with a national action plan for the integration of migrants (resulting in measures to be implemented by all concerned departments); and in our development policy we have been focusing in particular on the role of diasporas and micro-credit schemes for development; in the near future we shall work with African partners as mechanisms for helping to better channel remittances, for the purposes of national development, always bearing in mind that remittances are private and belong to the migrants themselves who should therefore be closely involved in all these processes. Mr. Chairman, The topic of migration and development is characterised by a diversity of perspectives, which we consider important to capture and to compare.
This exercise is essential, not in order to limit, but rather in order to broaden the range of policy options that we have at our disposal, as well as those which we can further develop when addressing the complex issue of migrations. We therefore welcome very much the involvement of all the stakeholders in this forum, migrant communities and diaspora associations, NGOs, etc, and we look forward to hearing the recommendations that resulted from the consultation to the civil society. I am confident that we will achieve concrete collaborative initiatives that result from a progressive convergence of perspectives.
I would also like to welcome the very practical focus that has been predominant in the preparation of this Forum, and the goals that it has established for itself as an interface for information sharing and gathering of good practices, promoting mechanisms for matching needs and opportunities so that all stakeholders benefit from migration on practical matters. At the EU level we have also been setting up pilot programmes for addressing migration in an encompassing manner in the countries of origin, and on the bilateral level, we are setting up one such programme in Cape Verde, which we hope MINISTÉRIO DOS NEGÓCIOS ESTRANGEIROS Gabinete do Secretário de Estado dos Negócios Estrangeiros e da Cooperação 4 will become a useful instrument for governments of both countries and in particular for the migrants themselves. More generally, our experience in establishing a joint committee for managing the multiple dimensions of migration between Portugal and Cape Verde has been a very gratifying and positive experience.
Portugal is deeply committed to the global debate on migration and development, and we highly value initiatives that promote exchanges of ideas, learning opportunities and identification of best practices. We believe that migration and development should be about creating bridges, and this is the Forum 9s main contribution. We are keen that the many bridges that will be set up during the discussions in this Forum, may lead to clear roads to follow, and that the international community (all of us) may be able to devise an orderly map linking all the bridges and roads available, showing us clear directions in this vital dimension of our shared contemporary world.
Thank you João Gomes Cravinho Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation