OAS official says migration helping region
WASHINGTON DC, United States, April 18, 2008 – There is a suggestion that migration of Caribbean citizens to other parts of the world is actually helping regional economies.
It has come from Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Albert Ramdin who said that for countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, migration is a core component of economy and social life.
Speaking yesterday at the launch of a Migration Information System of the Americas (SIMA), he cited World Bank research showing the impact of remittances as one element of the benefits of migration.
According to the statistics, total remittances to Latin American and Caribbean countries have increased ten-fold, "in real terms," over the past two decades.
Ramdin asserted that in some countries, remittances constitute a major portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and pointed to Haiti where, in 2004, they accounted for more than half of GDP.
He noted that the same World Bank report underscored remittances as having a positive impact on the economy of the countries receiving them.
Ramdin however insisted that the positive impact of remittances should not be a pretext for delaying or refraining from implementing sustainable long-term development policies.
He suggested to delegates and international experts at the Special Forum on Migration Issues at OAS headquarters that migration must be factored into countries' development plans and poverty-reduction strategies.
"From an integral, cross-cutting perspective, the subject of migration involves a host of issues," he continued, identifying human rights, political, social, economic and cultural dimensions, along with integration, security, health, labor rights, and regulatory frameworks among key issues.
"As such, it is of fundamental importance for the hemisphere, and for the OAS."
Ramdin expressed the hope that the forum will provide a genuine opportunity for dialogue and cooperation, based on the understanding that no country or region on its own can address the challenges and opportunities that accompany the movement of people effectively, without working in a multilateral framework to establish the most appropriate measures to benefit from migration optimally.