Remarks by the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Dennis Francis, at the International Dialogue on Migration

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22 May 2024

Ms. Amy Pope, IOM Director-General,

Your Excellency, Paula Narvaez, President of ECOSOC,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I very much appreciate your kind invitation, Madame Director-General, to address this closing segment of the 2024 International Dialogue on Migration – indicative of the growing strategic collaboration between our two organizations.

I begin by commending all the participants on what I understand were highly insightful and productive exchanges over the past two days, which unfortunately I was unable to observe in person as other commitments summoned me away from New York.

It is important that these annual consultations are held as the evidence indicates that migration flows show no foreseeable signs of abating.

In our dialogue, we must not overlook the fact that to a significant degree illegal migration is a lucrative business, actively promoted and marketed as a commercial transaction to the most vulnerable and desperate, without any form of accountability on the part of the perpetrators.

Notwithstanding the dangers associated with these illegal flows, including the threat to life and limb from unseaworthy rickety craft, the images we often see on the news, indicate desperate circumstances in the countries of origins that drive individuals of productive age to take the risk to leave their homes in search for better life prospects.

This yearly International Dialogue on Migration is therefore a key platform for shaping the policy dialogue on migration, involving the migrants themselves, civil society, and other stakeholders, as well as representatives of countries of origin, transit, and destination.

It has been very well established that historically, – if properly managed, migration has consistently stood out as a driver of development, prosperity, and progress.

Today – as we confront the complexities of climate change, demographic shifts, urbanization, and digitalization – migration emerges as an essential component of the global solution, bearing in mind the diverse contributions migrants make to the day -to -day operations of the economy and society.


Migrant remittances alone serve as a lifeline for many countries and communities. For example, in 2021 alone, migrants sent more than USD 51 billion to their countries of origin – far surpassing all other forms of international financial flows.

To harness the full potential of migration, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides a roadmap to promote regular migration pathways – while the International Migration Review Forum allows us to assess our progress on this commitment.

The mandated plenary meeting on implementing the Global Compact – set to take place in the latter half of 2024 – presents another prime opportunity to further solidify our efforts, exchange invaluable insights and highlight best practices.

In addition, a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches must be prioritized to safely connect people, goods, services, knowledge, and innovation – leaving no one behind in the process.

The integration of migrants into development planning is an essential step towards realizing the promise of safe migration.

Without inclusive pathways, countless individuals will be excluded from opportunities and progress – and inevitably be left behind.

Technology, too, plays a critical enabling role – facilitating diaspora engagement, preventing human trafficking, and leveraging migrants’ contributions.

Turning our attention to the Summit of the Future this September, our objectives are clear and are two-fold – we must accelerate efforts towards meeting existing international commitments, while taking the necessary pre-emptive steps to nullify emerging challenges.

Investing in people, and in their social and economic well-being, while fostering trust and social cohesion is paramount to achieving our collective goals of safety, equality, and justice for all.

Throughout my tenure, I have also prioritized climate action in respect of the countries in special situations in general, with particular focus on the plight of the Small Island Developing States, notably, those most affected by the threats posed by sea-level rise.

The urgency of this matter cannot be overstated.

As we grapple with the ramifications of climate-induced migration, it is imperative that we confront head-on and strategize about the dire circumstances facing some of the most vulnerable members of our global community.

I therefore look forward to the General Assembly High-level meeting on the threats posed by sea-level rise – to be held on 25th September this year.

The facts are clear – by 2050, over 200 million people may be displaced due to the adverse impacts of climate change, underscoring the need and indeed the urgency for coordinated action.

Currently, nearly 40%  of the world’s population live in coastal areas – comprising a significant proportion of our global community.

The potentially devastating repercussions loom large for all these individuals, should sea levels continue their relentless rise unabated.

To proactively prevent the exacerbation of migration-related challenges, we must allocate sufficient resources towards climate finance and significantly bolster resilience – in order to safeguard the dignity and rights of climate vulnerable communities.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I conclude, I urge you to continue to facilitate regular pathways to a better future – including through harnessing the power and possibilities of migration, which offers countless opportunities for growth, adaptation, and shared prosperity.

Beyond this room, I urge you to embrace this perspective – and to work together towards a more inclusive and sustainable future.

I thank you.

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