Remittance to drop by nine pc

KATHMANDU: Experts have opined that remittances are falling, jobs are being lost and levels of official development assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI) may decline.

“Rising unemployment as the global recession worsens is damping the flow of migrant workers and many are returning home leading to a drop in remittance by nine per cent,” they said at a one-day meeting on ‘Contribution of migrant workers to development’.

However, steps taken nationally and internationally could stem these economic and personal losses and labour migration could function as a ‘tool’ for recovering from the worldwide financial crisis, high-level officials on migration and economic development issues said.

“The crisis will be impacting significantly on the flow of migrants, in terms of unemployment,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said. He added an estimated 60 million could be put out of work by end of 2009. That would bring total unemployment caused by the recession to an estimated 240 million.

Supachai said there is a ‘great need’ for multilateral agreements, including through the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services, and a need for partnerships and ‘diaspora networking’ to regulate migration fairly and harness it for development.

Sha Zukang, Undersecretary General of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said current trends indicate the total number of international migrants could reach 214 million by 2010.

William Swing,

Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said the flow of labour is a ‘neglected element’ of the globalisation process. There are many agreements dealing with free flows of money, investment, and goods, he said.

“Legal migration channels are inadequate, and that opens doors of opportunity for those who traffic in human beings,” he said.

Marielza Oliveira, Associate Director of the Governance Unit of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the Chair of Global Migration Group, said that migration has its social, economic, and environmental impacts. and affects concerns like security and social cohesion.