Immigration and the post 2015 Agenda

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To Hon. David Cameron

Dear Prime Minister

We are writing with regard to the ongoing UN negotiations on the post-2015 international development agenda, and in particular we would like to request for a meeting with your services to discuss ways and means to best integrate migrants, diaspora and migration into the new Sustainable Development Goals.

We firmly believe that, if the post-2015 development agenda is to be truly transformative and leave no one behind, migrants and diaspora must be fully recognised as actors and subjects of sustainable human and economic development.

With a unified global voice, 311 civil society organisations and networks from all over the world have signed the ‘Stockholm Agenda’ of goals and targets that reflect migrants and migration as transformative actors in human and economic development.

The ‘Stockholm Agenda’ emerged from the Global Forum on Migration and Development and parallel civil society processes in Sweden in 2014, the work of the UNSG’s Special Representative for International Migration Peter Sutherland, and early work of the OWG.

Several crucial steps into this direction have been made recently. Important references to migrants and migration have been included in the outcome document of the Open Working Group (OWG), last July. UNSG Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of migrants and diaspora, human mobility, refugees and displaced persons in his Synthesis Report ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030’ presented to the General Assembly last December.

Explicitly, the OWG refers to:

  • Decent work and social protection, at home as well as abroad: Goal 8 on Decent Work, and specifically target 8.8, explicitly apply to migrant workers, and particularly women migrant workers.
  • Facilitating safe, orderly, legal, regular and responsible migration: Goal 10 on Inequality, target 7
  • Combating human trafficking, abuse, violence and exploitation: Goal 5 on Gender Equality & Goal 16 on Peaceful and Inclusive Societies, with emphasis on women and children
  • Reducing remittance transfer costs: Goal 10c, aiming for a reduction to less than 3% transaction costs and elimination of remittance corridors with costs higher than 5%.
  • data disaggregation, including on migratory status: Goal 17 on Global Partnership.

 The OWG document also implicitly includes many other civil society targets of the Stockholm Agenda under other OWG Goals (e.g., girls and women, education, health, etc.), by framing the goals as applying “for all”: words that the OWG preamble language explicitly defines to include migrants. In this regard, it will be important to ensure that clear indicators under these targets make their application to migrants and diaspora a reality.

The OWG outcome document currently serves as the main basis for the UN negotiations on the post-2015 international development agenda. We therefore urgently ask your commitment to embrace and endorse the important references to migrants and migration, as mentioned above.

In addition, we hope that a greater connecting and integration of human rights across all of the SDG Goals and Targets, which provides coherence to all the SDGs. In particular, we ask your support for the following targets that are not reflected in the OWG Outcome Document:

  • Explicit mention of portability of social security, pensions and skills (including recognition of qualifications): these would logically fit under Goal 1 (ending all forms of poverty) or Goal 8 (employment and decent work)
  • Explicit mention of refugees and displaced persons (as noted by the UNSG’s Synthesis Report), possibly under Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies

We believe that the current negotiations around the post-2015 development agenda are the opportunity for the UK to reaffirm that no one should be left behind and to fully recognize migrants as actors and subjects of sustainable human and economic development.

We thank you for your attention, and look forward to discussing these issues further at your earliest convenience.

Further background information about the Civil Society Stockholm Agenda is available on

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