Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of International Migrants Day
18 December 2018
There are some 258 million migrants worldwide. Many are seeking new opportunities for work or education. Others are on the move because they have no choice but to flee war and persecution or to escape the vicious circles of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. Evidence overwhelmingly shows that migrants generate economic, social and cultural benefits for all societies. Unfortunately, with the rise of broader intolerant discourse, hostility towards migrants is growing around the world.
The recent adoption of the complementary Global Compact on Refugees and for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration sends a strong message about the resolve of United Nations Member States to address this issue in its global dimensions and to work together for a holistic and human rights-based global migration governance.
UNESCO is firmly committed to supporting the efforts of its Member States to transform the commitments of the Global Compacts into reality through the sciences, education, communication and culture.
Education is an important first response. This year, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report presented new recommendations for how to fully integrate migrants, refugees and displaced persons into education systems. UNESCO also develops educational responses to humanitarian crises, facilitates cross-border recognition of qualifications and supports global citizenship education as a tool for international solidarity.
Through our International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, we strive to ensure the inclusion of migrants and refugees in communities by supporting local authorities to design welcoming policies and services. We also work with media professionals to change negative narratives on migration and harness the power of culture to celebrate our shared humanity, wherever we are in the world.
This year, International Migrants Day coincides with the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let us make it an opportunity to remind the world that people on the move should also enjoy their basic rights.