William Lacy Swing, IOM Director-General at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos, Switzerland
Switzerland - IOM Director General William Lacy Swing took part in a live televised debate: “Escaping from Poverty” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland at 1.00 pm on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015.
Other panelists at the Congress Centre Sanada session include Simonetta Sommaruga, President of the Swiss Confederation and Minister of Justice and Police; Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali and Hikmet Ersek, President and CEO of The Western Union Company, USA.
With growing hostility towards migrants in the wake of the recent Paris and Brussels attacks by Islamist extremists, Ambassador Swing has called for restraint and recognition of the huge contribution migrants make to our common well-being.
“Migrants today are not invaders, or interlopers. Being youthful, often just starting their work lives, migrants serve as vital partners of the native born,” Ambassador Swing said. “They fill gaps in industries where labour is in short supply; they renew decaying neighborhoods and they shore up public payments to the elderly and unemployed by putting into government coffers much more wealth than they withdraw.”
The view is backed by millions worldwide, according to a forthcoming IOM report: "How the World Views Migration." Based on an analysis of the latest data from the Gallup World Poll, an annual survey of adults in over 140 countries, the report shows that in all regions outside Europe people are more likely to want immigration levels in their countries to either stay at their present level or to increase, rather than see immigration levels decrease.
In Davos, Ambassador Swing spoke on ways migration works as a powerful tool for development, lifting millions out of poverty, fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, and facilitating exchanges of knowledge, technology and skills, cultural practices, ideas and values.
He also described ways in which migrants contribute significantly to their countries of origin by sending back remittances, promoting trade linkages and through investment. In 2014, the World Bank estimates that remittances to developing countries alone were USD 435 billion, out of a total of USD 582 billion to all countries. This total is estimated to rise to USD 608 billion in 2015.
“We have been watching with dismay as hearts harden towards migrants, and communities begin to turn on each other,” said Ambassador Swing. “The world is showing us that there is a higher road to take. Our research with Gallup reinforces this message. After four centuries of being a principle source of the world’s migrants, Europe is adjusting to being the world’s destination. That is inevitable. It need not be conflictive.”
To watch “Escaping from Poverty,” please go to: http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/escaping-poverty.
For more on the World Economic Forum in Davos, please go to: http://www.weforum.org/.