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Secretary-General backs efforts to ease global migration crisis

19 September 2016

The Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has welcomed plans to try to end the irregular migration of people across the world.

Speaking to the BBC World Service on Monday, the Secretary-General said the United Nations idea for world leaders to negotiate a global compact on migration, at the first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York, needed to have steps which delivered practical support.

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“All of our nation states are being affected by migration, for one reason or another, not least being climate change. So it’s absolutely essential that we now have a practical compact to see how we can build a safe, regular and orderly methodology of responding to this,” she told the Focus on Africa programme.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General congratulated UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson for hosting the summit, which resulted in a declaration in which leaders committed to begin negotiations to deliver a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018.

Drawing attention to the fact that more than 80 percent of refugees are hosted in the developing world, with African countries accounting for 40 percent of all internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Secretary-General told the BBC World Service that it was important to learn from history.

“Unfortunately that history is mixed and some of it is very painful,” she said, before adding that past experience provided practical examples on which policy-makers could draw.

“We now have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t work, how we can settle people, what the issues happen to be, what would be an agreed and acceptable baseline,” she said.

“We need to distill what has worked and share that information, so this compact is not rhetoric but will make a practical difference.”

The Secretary-General told a UN General Assembly Roundtable on Monday that the Commonwealth intends to “play an important role to ensure that this global compact leaves no one behind by identifying specific challenges faced by our member states, especially small nations.” Read more