UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces said Wednesday that comprehensive inclusion of migrants is needed for achieving the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
"We will not be able to achieve the sustainable development goals if we do not comprehensively include migrants," said the General Assembly president in her opening remarks to the High-Level Debate on International Migration and Development.
Affirming that the agenda is people-centered, she point to a specific target of the agenda that "refers to the need to facilitate safe, regular, and responsible migration and calls for the implementation of planned and well managed migration policies."
To do this, she said, "We must include migrants in policies and activities aimed at expanding access to quality education, to health, to housing and basic services."
Meanwhile, Espinosa stressed achieving sustainable development helps to mitigate adverse drivers of migration, as it is "the best preventative tool" for "disorderly migration."
"Let us bear in mind that no one decides to leave behind their family, their land, their belongings, without a powerful reason for doing so," she told the meeting.
As migrants frequently travel arduously to settle in another country, Espinosa stressed the need to guarantee the rights of migrants.
She said the meeting should address the trafficking and smuggling of persons and the nexus between migration and labor policies.
Particularly, she pointed to the situation of migrant women, as "women and girls represent 71 percent of all of the victims of trafficking in persons."
"They face more restrictive labor policies than men, and they are more vulnerable to violence and exploitation," she added.
Moreover, the General Assembly president said evidence shows that the benefits of migration outweigh the challenges.
Migrants are "seeking more and better opportunities, opening the doors to new worlds, enriching cultural diversity and contributing to development both in their host communities as well as the communities from which they left," she said.
She went on to say the majority of migrants' remittances are sent to developing countries and their contribution to economies is three times greater than official development assistance.
As an example, she said in 2017, "we saw the sending of 600 billion (U.S. dollars) in remittances, of which 450 billion were sent to developing countries."
But more still, 85 percent of the earnings of migrant workers remain in countries of destination, she pointed out, thus contributing to the economic growth of countries of destination.
"In a globalized and interdependent world, human mobility must be harnessed as an opportunity, as a driver of development for migrants and their families, as well as for countries of origin, transit, and destination," the General Assembly president said.
In December 2018, the General Assembly decided in a resolution to convene the one-day High-Level Debate on International Migration and Development.
The debate aims to advance the discussion on the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development and assess progress toward the achievement of the migration-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda.