“The UNDP Keeping an Eye on Internal and External Exodus”
VOL:1 ISSN:17 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the Human Development Report 2009 on Wednesday, December 9, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Senegambia.
The theme of the Report is, “Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development.”
The Summary of the Report looks into the lives of two people a Mexican child and an Indian woman who are similarly facing troubles driven by poverty and the quest to achieve a sustainable livelihood.
Juan was born into a poor family in rural Mexico; his family struggled to pay for his health care and education. At the age of 12, he dropped out of school to help support his family. Six years later, Juan followed his uncle to Canada in pursuit of higher wages and better opportunities, where the life expectancy is five years higher than that of Mexico and incomes are three times greater.
Juan was selected to work temporarily in Canada, earned the right to stay and eventually became an entrepreneur whose business now employs native-born Canadians. This is just one case out of millions of people every year who find new opportunities and freedoms by migrating, benefiting themselves as well as their areas of origin and destination.
The Report also looks into the life of Bhagyawati, a member of a lower caste who lives in rural Andhra Pradesh, India.
She travels to Bangalore city with her children to work on construction sites for six month each year, earning Rs 60 (US$1.20) per day. While away from home, her children do not attend school because it is too far from the construction site and they do not know the local language.
Bhagyawati is not entitled to subsidized food or health care, nor does she vote, because she is living outside her registered district. Like millions of other internal migrants, she has few options for improving her life other than to move to a different city in search of better opportunities.
Based on these stories, the report noted that our world is very unequal. The huge difference in human development across and within countries has been a recurring theme of the Human Development Report (HDR) since it was first publish in 1990.
In this year report, the UNDP explore for the first time the topic of migration.
The Report focused on discussions about migration which typically start from the perspective of flows from developing countries into rich the countries of Europe, North America and Australasia. Yet most movement in the world does not take place between developing and developed countries; “it does not even take place between countries,” the report argued.
The overwhelming majority of people who move do so inside their own country. Using a conservative definition, the UNDP estimated that approximately 740 million people are internal migrants, which is almost four times as many as those who have moved internationally.
According to the report, among those who have moved across national boarders, just over a third moved from a developing to a developed country. “Most of the world’s 200 million international migrants moved from one developing country to another or between developed countries,” the Report stated.
The Report indicated that most migrants, internal and international, reap gains in the form of higher incomes, better access to education and health, and improved prospects for their children. While surveys show that most migrants are happy in their destination, regardless of the range of adjustments and obstacles typically involved in moving.
For people displaced by insecurity and conflicts face special challenges, as an estimated 14 million refugees are living outside of their country of citizenship representing about seven per cent of the world’s migrants, the Report said.
The Report also observed that around half a million refugees move to developed countries per year to seek asylum, but a larger number, some 26 million people have been displaced but remained in their countries.
The Report finally look at the way forward by emphasizing that advancing this agenda will require strong, enlightened leadership coupled with a more determined effort to engage with the public and raise awareness about the facts around migration.
For origin countries, it suggested that more systematic consideration of the profile of migration and its benefits, cost and risks would provide a better basis for integrating movement into national development strategies.
“Emigration is not an alternative to accelerated development efforts at home, but mobility can facilitate access to ideas, knowledge and resources that can complement and in some cases enhance progress.”
For destination countries, it stated that the ‘how and when’ of reforms will depend on a realistic look at economic and social conditions, taking into account public opinion and political constraints at local and national levels. “International cooperation, especially through bilateral or regional agreements can lead to better migration management, improve protection of migrants’ rights and enhanced contributions of migrants to both countries origin and destination.”