The General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS) celebrates the Arab Expatriate's Day this year at a time full of international and regional challenges, as the world has not yet recovered from the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has exacerbated the crises the world is going through, as it caused energy and food crises, in addition to the displacement of a large number of refugees from Ukraine to European countries. As for the challenges at the Arab regional level, they have been protracted since the beginning of the last decade, which increases the pressures and burdens placed on the political, economic and social systems in the Arab countries.
These challenges come at a time when the earth is witnessing major climate change that affect all aspects of life, including migration and displacement, and dealing with this issue cannot be delayed or neglected. LAS indicates that the Arab region is one of the regions threatened by the great impacts of climate change and undermining development. Therefore, we are in dire need to shed light on the relationship between climate, migration and development, anticipate future scenarios, identify potential hotspots for internal and external migration, adapt to climate induced migration and mitigate its negative effects, and support flexibility and adaptation to these changes. It is also necessary to take into account climate induced migration in long-term development planning, which must be flexible and comprehensive at the same time. This issue was addressed during the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), which was hosted by the Arab Republic of Egypt last month, and it is expected to be further highlighted during the 28th session hosted by the United Arab Emirates next year 2023.
H.E. Ambassador Dr. Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, Assistant Secretary General Head of Social Affairs Sector, stated that LAS (Social Affairs Sector, Refugees, Expatriates and Migration Affairs Department), in cooperation with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the International Labour Organization (ILO), organized the Regional Dialogue on Climate Change and Migration Nexus in the Arab Region in October 2022. The dialogue was organized in the framework of the Issue-Based Coalition on Migration in the Arab Region (IBC/M), out of the belief in the importance of the issue and in accordance with the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) to reach a deeper understanding of climate induced migration.
This year has also witnessed the convention of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in May. LAS, through its various mechanisms, was keen on the good preparation for the Arab participation in this forum, as it succeeded in organizing the First GCM Regional Review in the Arab region, which was organized in cooperation with the IOM, the UN-ESCWA and the United Nations Migration Network in the Arab Region. The Arab Regional Consultative Process on Migration and Refugee Affairs (ARCP) has also issued a statement at its eighth meeting held in March 2022, which was submitted to the First IMRF. LAS spared no effort to urge and encourage Arab Member States to participate at the highest possible level in the IMRF, and to present their national reports that reflect the efforts made since the adoption of the GCM in 2018.
LAS seizes this opportunity to emphasize its continued pursuit of coordination with Arab Member States, work on everything that would develop knowledge and raise awareness of the various aspects of migration, develop related policies, enhance Arab participation in all relevant global events, and support communication with Arab expatriates. This is done with the aim to improve the governance of migration and address the challenges associated with it, and to enhance the contribution of Arab expatriates to sustainable development in their countries of origin and countries of destination as well, and to highlight the opportunities that migration offers to countries, societies and individuals.