Ayala Foundation lauds gov't for hosting 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development
Manila (28 October) -- Businessman Jaime Augusto de Ayala lauded on Monday the government for hosting the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development and for considering their two recommended important changes that would be beneficial both for the participating governments and non-state organizations in the four-day event being held at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila.
"This openness of the Forum, and the governments represented, to the ideas, insights, experience, and best practices from all concerned sectors of society should be lauded," Zobel, co-vice chairman of Ayala Foundation Inc. which the Philippine government picked to convene the Civil Society Days, said in his welcome address during the forum's opening.
"It is only when we all work together in a spirit of collegiality that we can find long term, permanent solutions to the tough global issues that face all of us," he added.
The two recommendations include the expansion of the civil society's involvement from one to two days and the holding of a joint interface session between governments and non-government organizations (NGOs) on the afternoon of the second day.
Zobel opened the forum's Civil Society Days which will be held until October 28 with the assistance of GFMD's international advisory body and pool of experts and a Philippine organizing committee composed of business, NGO and religious leaders.
He also welcomed the more than 200 civil society participants from international civil society organizations even as he congratulated the United Nations for the formation of the GFMD which aims to address issues and concerns on migration and development.
"We thank each and every one of you for taking time to participate despite the global financial turmoil which threatens to reverse the development gains of the last few decades," Zobel said.
"It is noteworthy that the governments have seen it fit to hold these Civil Society Days prior to the intergovernmental discussions in order to receive valuable inputs from civil society, business, religious groups, experts, academics, and the migrants themselves," he added.
Zobel cited the importance of the forum to the Filipino people, considering that an estimated eight million Filipinos are working or living outside the country and have actually posted $ 15 billion remittance in 2007.
"We accepted the task of helping the Philippine government in convening this global forum because we know how critically important the issue of migration and development is to the future of our country," he said.
Roundtable discussions cover a wide range of topics: protecting the rights of migrants; empowering migrants and diaspora to contribute to development; fostering more opportunities for legal migrations; managing migration and minimizing the negative impacts of irregular migration; strengthening data and research tools on migration and development; policy and institutional coherence; and regional consultative process at the interface of migration and development.
The GMFD's civil society days will be followed by the government meeting on Oct. 29-30, which will be convened by the Department of Foreign Affairs and is expected to draw representatives from 162 countries.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will open the forum on Wednesday together with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who will deliver the keynote speech. Vice-President Noli de Castro will give the closing remarks on Oct. 30.
By choosing the GFMD II central theme, "Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development", the Philippines will highlight the country's efforts in promoting the rights and well-being of Filipino overseas workers and their families.
GFMD is the result of a high-level dialogue of the UN General Assembly in New York in 2006. The first GFMD was held in Brussels, Belgium last year. (PNA) [top]