UAE takes over presidency of Global Migration Summit

Dubai will host a major event on labour and mobility next January, during Expo 2020

epa08157054 The new president of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation of the United Arab Emirates, speaks during the closing of the XII Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (FGMD), in Quito, Ecuador, 23 January 2020.  EPA/JOSE JACOME
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A global summit on migration will be held in Dubai next January after the UAE took over the presidency of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

The handover in the Ecuadorean capital Quito marked the start of a year-long programme of events focused on improving how governments respond to international migration.

Nasser bin Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the UAE would deliver a forward-looking agenda over the course of 2020.

“The UAE is honoured to chair the GFMD”, he said in Quito.

“We are a tolerant, open nation, and we are proud of our role providing opportunities to millions of people from around the world.

"Human mobility is deeply entwined with our success as a nation, with foreign-born residents contributing to our development in every area, from infrastructure to business, and from sports to art and culture.

"Happily, the timing of the Dubai Summit will coincide with Expo 2020, one of the key themes of which is mobility, so there will be significant crossover between these two major international events.”

More than eight million foreign-born residents live in the UAE, sending home $20 billion (Dh73.45bn) annually in remittances, a significant contributor to global development, the labour ministry said.

Speaking earlier in the summit, Mr Al Hamli said the UAE itself needs a continuous supply of skilled workers.

"We need to be looking to South America, Africa and China for a fresh influx of talent, to complement the skills of Emiratis," state news agency Wam reported.

"Our participation in the GFMD is an opportunity to drive home the message that the UAE leads the world when it comes to openness to talent."

For policymakers focused on migration, the annual Global Forum on Migration and Development is the foremost annual inter-governmental gathering. Previous chairs include Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Morocco and Germany. The UAE will be the first Gulf state to host the forum.

The labour ministry's assistant undersecretary Abdulla Al Nuaimi said: “The UAE is looking forward to providing a warm welcome to everyone attending our summit in Dubai. We will ensure that the summit is the most inclusive yet, with significant participation by civil society, business, and local government, as well as involvement by youth representatives and academia.”

The annual summit shapes the agenda around international migration, which affects 272 million people worldwide, according to figures from the UN.

This number of international migrants has grown rapidly in recent years, up from 173 million in 2000.