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    Migrant Workers Vital for Recovery


    International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2009

    At an ad hoc expert meeting on the contribution of migrant workers to development, hosted by UNCTAD on 29 July, high-level officials recognized the losses being suffered by the world's millions of migrant workers and the potential of using labour migration as a tool for recovering from the financial crisis.

    "The crisis will be impacting quite significantly on the flow of migrants, especially in terms of unemployment," said UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi. He said global unemployment will continue to worsen this year, with an estimated 60 million people put out of work by the end of 2009. That would bring total unemployment caused by the worldwide recession to an estimated 240 million.

    Other key speakers included Sha Zukang, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who noted a deceleration in the growth of migrant worker numbers; William Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, who called the flow

    of labour a "neglected element" of the globalization process; and Marielza Oliveira, Associate Director of the Governance Unit of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and Chair of the Global Migration Group, who said there is a "win-win potential" to effectively linking migration and development, "but enhanced dialogue and the sharing of ideas and practices" is vital, especially in times of crisis.