Standing together for International Migrants Day 2016
By Rana Elamin, Corporate and Social Responsibility Executive at NRS International
“Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety and a better future. It is part of the social fabric, part of our very make-up as a human family.”
– Ban Ki-moon
December 18th marks this year’s International Migrants Day, giving the international community a time to reflect on this past year. Millions of men and women are facing greater risks today in their journeys than ever before as a result of growing poverty, climate change, natural disasters, and worsening armed conflicts around the globe. Over 244 million individuals live in a country other than their country of birth. Within this group, 65.3 million were forcibly displaced in 2015, correlating with the worst humanitarian crises since World War II.
Migration has become a major trend in this new era of globalisation creating new realities for the global community to grapple with. The average time of displacement now spans a staggering 17 years, stalling development and further exacerbating tensions between displaced populations and their host countries. It has also created opportunities to take action and advance economic and social conditions that are often the root causes of migration. The private sector has an important role in addressing this link between migration and development through its investments and collaborations to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Commitment to support the Agenda for Humanity
The large flows of migrant populations have put immense pressure on host institutions, this combined with stalled economic growth in many countries around the world and the growing gap between classes has fueled fears of instability and resentment towards newcomers. Trending populism can be seen in this year’s major upsets in political elections around the globe in favor of more anti-mass migration candidates.
While this is troublesome, it has forced the international community to examine and address the core factors triggering instability. We witnessed this through renewed dialogues between governments, NGOs, UN, and private sector partners on forced migration at this year’s World Humanitarian Summit. Over 3,000 commitments were made to support the implementation of the Agenda for Humanity through enhanced collaboration and sharing of resources and expertise.
Leaving no one behind
More actions were taken this year to create policies to protect refugees and migrants. On July 25, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined the United Nations (UN) as a related organisation, giving the UN an official migration mandate, which includes protection of migrants and displaced people who previously fell outside of other UN agencies’ mandates and better coordination to advocate to migrant rights.
The UN, furthermore, hosted a summit on the large movement of refugees and migrants at this year’s UN General Assembly to build consensus around managing growing numbers refugees and migrants. This led to the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a set of commitments made by Members States to bolster systems established to protect refugees and migrants.
From policy to practice
The private sector plays an important role in supporting migrant and refugee communities by putting these policies into practice and further promoting the SDGs. Companies can become major influencers to combat the root causes of unstable societies through their investments in job creation, skills training and education, combating climate change.
Creating new methods to help refugee resettlement efforts can not only ease the process for refugees and migrants building new lives in their host societies, but can also aid host societies in addressing their newcomers’ needs and ensuring stable growth. Migrants should be seen as potential assets to their host economies, bringing innovative ideas and playing an integral part in their host country’s economic growth.
NRS International, in collaboration with its family-run charity, the Bilqees Sarwar Foundation (BSF), has played an active role this year in making several commitments to invest in our communities. The following commitments, in combination with our pledge to support the SDG, align our strategy to the overall promise to “leave no one behind”:
- To provide capacity building and mentoring support through workshops at our Pakistan-based manufacturing facility, H. Sheikh Noor-ud-Din & Sons (HSNDS), and projects supported by BSF.
- To dedicate 25% of our charitable activities and projects (in humanitarian and crisis settings) to improving the lives of women and girls by 2020. This will increase to 30% by 2030.
- To partner with local and national women’s groups to provide them with capacity building and mentoring opportunities in Dubai.
- To support and invest in national and local response systems, avoiding duplicate international mechanisms.
- To apply lessons learned, best practices, and evidence-based innovation to our products and supply-chain processes, through the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation.
- To improve strategies for response and recover and take a more systematic and integrated approach to risk management by further improving our supply chain.
- To support local and national disaster relief networks by becoming a participant of the Connecting Business Initiative. We will facilitate their coordinated engagements in risk and crisis management.
By integrating these commitments into our strategic policies, NRS International is committed to play its role in promoting peaceful communities both globally and locally.
Watch what a day without migrants might look like in this short video from IOM:
 International Organization for Migration. 15 December 2016. https://publications.iom.int/system/files/global_migration_trends_2015_factsheet.pdf