Delivered by: Ghasaq Shaheen, Political Coordinator
I would thank the briefers for their interventions on the situation of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
We are discussing an important topic today. The world faces myriad intersecting challenges – namely conflict, climate change, and food insecurity – that drive or exacerbate migration and displacement. More than 110 million people are displaced worldwide, more than half of them due to conflict. Many people face additional risks while migrating or seeking refuge, especially women and children, who are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence. We stress the need to provide protection to refugees and displaced people, respect their rights, and provide them with essential services.
We are particularly concerned about the situation in the Mediterranean. The Secretary-General reports that the number of dead and missing trying to cross to Europe between August 2022 and June 2023 was 77 per cent higher than the previous year. Such a trend demands the international community’s attention. We support the renewal of the Security Council authorization to member states and regional organizations to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking off the coast of Libya, which is an important mechanism in this regard, but the international community must do more.
To improve our responses to these persistent phenomena, the international community’s approach must focus on addressing the drivers of migration and forced displacement, not only on addressing their impacts. This requires promoting development, stability, and prosperity in communities across the peace continuum.
Moreover, in post-conflict settings, we must work to create conditions for an environment that enables the return of refugees and displaced persons to their communities, in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner. This can be done through early recovery and rehabilitation projects that will assist refugees in returning to everyday life.
The international community must work collectively to support countries’ efforts to address irregular migration and its root causes while respecting those countries’ sovereignty. We need to enhance our current national cooperation mechanisms across countries of origin, transit, and destination, and support international and regional agencies and initiatives. We must also build the capacity of countries of transit to address irregular migration, human trafficking, and relevant transnational organized crime.
As we have previously mentioned, in the spirit of strengthening collective efforts to address challenges related to displacement, the UAE announced a USD 100 million contribution during the International Conference on Development and Migration in Rome to support development projects in countries affected by irregular migration, including backing initiatives proposed in the Rome Process.
We must recognize that climate-induced migration is expected to rise significantly in the coming decades, with forecasts by the Institute for Economics and Peace suggesting that by 2050, more than one billion people could be displaced worldwide due to climate change and natural disasters.
Extreme weather events lead to rising sea levels and scarcity of food and water. They also fuel competition for resources and drive people from their homes, among other impacts. To prevent or reduce climate-induced displacement, we need to invest in resilience and boost local capacity for adaptation. It is therefore critical to focus on the nexus between climate change and conflict, and on how we increase support to fragile and conflict-affected states as well as countries that will most likely be affected by climate-induced migration and displacement.
Finally, I wish to reaffirm that the UAE will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to address the needs of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and strengthen prevention and protection mechanisms.
I thank you, Mr. President.