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UN forum examines role partnerships play in tackling global migration challenge

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Partnerships at local, national, regional and international levels are crucial to ensuring global migration is better managed, the United Nations migration agency chief said Monday in New York.

“Partnerships must include all stakeholders: Government, international organizations and civil society,” William Lacy Swing, Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM), told the International Dialogue on Migration, a two-day forum that is part the year-long UN-led effort to craft a Global Compact to cover all dimensions of international.

“Partnerships are not just about working together but about working together to find new and creative ways of conducting our migration business,” he added.

Partnership and cooperation are cornerstones of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Goal 17 calls for the revitalization and enhancement of the global partnership for sustainable development in all areas, including migration.

Moreover, the Secretary-General’s recent migration report states that “Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time.”

The central importance of partnerships on migration was a key takeaway from the stock-taking meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in December 2017 and one of the key messages of last year’s International Dialogue on Migration.

Calling “partnership” a key word in migration, Mr. Swing emphasized, “No single government, international organization or civil society stakeholder can expect to reap migrations benefits or address its challenges by going it alone.”

“The focus right now is on global cooperation,” he continued. “The Global Compact for Migration is a project that deserves close, concerted action from the international community as a whole; not just to conclude negotiations but, beyond that stage, to ensure successful review implementation and follow up.”

Migration needs to recognize the obligations and commitments of all actors in the field of international migration.

Henrietta Holsman Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), spoke of the challenges facing the world today in supporting people “to move safely and by choice, to help them to make the most of the opportunities and support available to them – especially children and young people.”

Pointing out that “no group of migrants is more at risk,” she elaborated that there are more than million children on the move – more than of half of whom have been driven from their homes by conflict.”

“No single State or Organization can manage migration alone,” she said, stressing the need for everyone to lend “their resources, energies and ideas.”

For his part, Guy Ryder, Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), called for fair recruitment, skills development, social protection, decent work and respect for labour rights.

“Migration is about work,” he said, emphasizing his office’s mandate “to protect those who are working in countries that are not their own.”

Also speaking, Louise Arbour, Special Representative for International Migration, made clear that in the lead up to the UN’s 2018 International Migration Conference in Morocco later this year, the world’s “collective focus should remain firmly fixed on how to address the daily realities of migrants and their communities of origin and destination.”

Ms. Arbour believes that for safe, orderly migration to succeed, policies must be enacted – based on an sound appreciation of the complex interplay of demographic and economic factors.

“This is a very tall order,” she acknowledged. “Bureaucrats can make the rational arguments. Demagogues can make the publicly appealing ones. Only great political leaders can make both.”

Mr. Swing assured that IOM would strive to expand existing partnerships and build new ones and that “migrants social, economic and health needs are properly addressed, with the collaboration of all relevant actors.”

“Together, we can achieve our common purpose of reaping the benefits of migration for migrants, and destination and origin societies,” he concluded.

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World Bank Supports Maldives to Improve Secondary Education

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $9 million project to improve the performance of the education system, schools, and teaching and learning outcomes at the secondary education level in Maldives.

Maldives has achieved almost universal enrolment at early childhood, primary and lower secondary education levels, but low net enrolment and high gender disparity are the major challenges at the higher secondary level. Learning outcomes are moderate, with clear geographical disparities  among atolls, and between islands within atolls. The average scores for English, Mathematics and Dhivehi for Grade 4 and Grade 7 students ranged between 50 to 60 percent.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the Maldives’ general education system, forcing the extended closure of primary and secondary schools across the entire country,” said Faris. H. Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The project will broaden educational opportunities for the youth and advance the country’s equitable economic and human development.”

The new Maldives Atoll Education Development Project will support the Government in improving the quality of secondary education in subjects of strategic importance for economic development such as English language, mathematics, science, and skills education. Improved learning outcomes at secondary education level in these strategic subjects will help more students qualify for higher secondary education. Schools will be encouraged to adopt environment-friendly behaviors like saving energy and reducing waste. Support will be provided to atoll schools to expand their ICT equipment and technology while also improving the skills of teachers to address the needs of students with learning challenges. Skills of school principals, management officials, and teachers will also be improved through targeted programs.

“The Maldivian government is implementing a comprehensive curriculum reform initiative and is focusing on improving learning outcomes equitably across Atolls and islands,” said Harsha Aturupane World Bank Lead Economist and Task Team Leader. “Building on these positive steps, Maldives needs to strengthen the quality of general education with a special focus on teacher performance in the outer atolls, and the quality assurance of schools in the islands with small student populations” added Karthika Radhakrishnan-Nair, World Bank Education Specialist and Co-Task Team Leader of the project.

The Maldives Atoll Education Development Project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education. The total financing is $10 million, which is comprised of a $4.5 million grant and a $4.5 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional credit window for developing countries, and a contribution of US$1 million of counterpart funds from the Government of Maldives.

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Financing to Support Liberia’s Reforms for Promoting Inclusive Economic Growth

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The World Bank Board has approved the third and last in a programmatic series of three Inclusive Development Policy Operations (IGDPO) designed to support key reforms that are critical to enabling inclusive growth. The financing, amounting to $55 million ($47.50 million International Development Association (IDA) concessional credit and $7.50 million IDA grant), will be disbursed as budget support. These reforms will remove distortions in key economic sectors, strengthen public-sector transparency, and promote economic and social inclusion.

The reforms supported in this programmatic series are aligned with the government’s objectives for improving access to quality agriculture seeds, clean and cheaper electricity, financial inclusion, access to social safety nets, and to other public services, especially for the poorest households, including refugees and refugee hosting communities.

We commend the Government of Liberia for successfully completing this programmatic reform series. The benefits of the reforms implemented are already becoming visible and include among others, the reduction in electricity tariffs and the cost of importing quality-verified solar products which will benefit many households in Liberia,” said Khwima Nthara, World Bank Liberia Country Manager.

This IGDPO builds upon the gains made under the first and second operations of this program approved in 2020 and 2021. The reforms supported by this operation will strengthen the regulatory environment to incentivize private-sector participation in the agriculture seed supply chain, through seed development, multiplication and certification. The actions supported under this operation will contribute to reducing commercial losses and strengthening Liberia Electricity Corporation’s (LEC) financial sustainability, as well as increasing access to solar energy. The previous operation supported the reduction of electricity tariff for poor households from US$0.385/kWh to US$0.22/kWh in May 2021, while this new operation further reduced the tariffs to US$0.15/kWh.

Numerous regulatory challenges that hindered the growth of digital financial services (DFS) have since been addressed by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), with active support from this budget support program along other World Bank Group  programs, resulting in Liberia’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) objective of increasing access to formal financial services to 50 percent by 2024 already being exceeded in 2021,” said Mamadou Ndione, World Bank Senior Economist and Task Team Leader of the IGDPO program.

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Tech News

How shipping can contribute to a more sustainable future

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This year’s theme – ‘New technologies for greener shipping’ – promotes innovation and solutions that support a transition in the sector. Maritime transport represents more than 80 per cent of global trade, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for the Day.

Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine –and the Black Sea Grain Initiative – have highlighted the vital role shipping plays in feeding the world.

Curb shipping emissions

“As shipping continues to connect humanity, it must play an essential part in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building a fair and prosperous future for people and planet,” he said.

The UN chief stressed that the maritime sector “must accelerate its voyage to decarbonization.” Emissions from shipping are projected to grow considerably unless there is concerted global action, he warned.

“Governments and private companies need to work together to harness innovative technologies such as digitalization and automation and foster a just transition that includes developing countries and promotes renewable energy and alternative fuels,” he said.

“The vessels to be deployed in this decade will determine whether the shipping sector achieves net zero emissions by 2050. Smarter and greener zero emission ships must become the default choice and commercially available for all by 2030.”

Concern for seafarers

The celebrations on World Maritime Day provide a platform to showcase inclusive maritime innovation, research and development, and the demonstration and deployment of new technologies.

This year’s theme opens up a larger conversation about where shipping is headed, and how digitalization and automation can support the sector, said Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“But technological solutions for cleaner, safer and more sustainable shipping must also benefit people,” he stressed. “In this regard, the impact on seafarers and other marine personnel, including the need for training, must be considered.”

The theme also entails support for developing nations, particularly small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).

Saving lives at sea

In related developments, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is using the Day to underscore the importance of marine meteorology to ensure safety at sea.

WMO has released a new publication and video showcasing how it works with partners, including national meteorological services and IMO, in providing forecasts and early warnings to save lives.

The growing impacts of climate change and more extreme weather are making marine meteorological services more critical than ever before, according to the UN agency.

“This has been underlined yet again by a recent succession of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic and Northwest Pacific, which have led to hazardous shipping conditions. Forecasts and warnings are essential to protect vessels, their cargo and sailors,” it said.

WMO is committed to the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, known as the SOLAS convention, through the broadcast of meteorological maritime safety information as part of the IMO Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

The SOLAS convention is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.

It was first adopted in 1914, in response to the Titanic disaster.

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