NAT WLD MIGRANTS11-1579952215284
Syrian refugee children at a makeshift camp at Lesbos, Greece. Photo for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: REUTERS

Quito: A major global summit on migration will be coming to Dubai in January 2021, after the UAE formally took over the presidency of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) from Ecuador on Thursday. The handover, which took place during a formal ceremony in Quito, marked the start of an ambitious year-long programme of events around the world, which will focus on improving how governments respond to international migration.

Addressing the Quito summit, Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, thanked assembled delegates for their confidence in the UAE to deliver a forward-looking agenda over the course of 2020.

“The UAE is honoured to chair the GFMD”, said the minister. “We are a tolerant, open nation, and we are proud of our role providing opportunities to millions of people from around the world. Human mobility is deeply entwined with our success as a nation, with foreign-born residents contributing to our development in every area, from infrastructure to business, and from sports to art and culture.

“Our agenda as chair will feature topics that are new to the GFMD, including the impact of the future of work on migration, and the programme will include six regional events over the course of this year. Happily, the timing of the Dubai Summit will coincide with Expo 2020, one of the key themes of which is mobility, so there will be significant cross-over between these two major international events.”

Migration governance

Hosting the GFMD in Dubai cements the UAE’s reputation as a global leader in promoting sound migration governance. Over 8 million foreign-born residents currently live in the UAE, sending home $20 billion annually in remittances, a significant contributor to global development.

NAT WLD MIGRANTS1-1579952212619
Hosting GFMD in Dubai cements UAE’s reputation as a global leader in promoting sound migration governance

For policy makers focused on migration, the annual Global Forum on Migration and Development is the foremost annual inter-governmental gathering. Previous chairs have included the governments on Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Morocco and Germany. The UAE will be the first Gulf country to host the GFMD.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation’s Assistant Undersecretary for International Relations and Communications, Abdulla Al Nuaimi, said, “The UAE is looking forward to providing a warm welcome to everyone attending our summit in Dubai. We will ensure that the summit is the most inclusive yet, with significant participation by civil society, business, and local government, as well as involvement by youth representatives and academia.”

The annual GFMD Summit shapes the international migration agenda, which affects over 272 million people worldwide, according to figures from the UN. The number of international migrants has grown rapidly in recent years, up from 173 million in the year 2000.