Message from Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of International Migrants Day


18 December 2016


The deteriorating conditions surrounding the movement of migrants and refugees across the world today, and the alarming increase in the related death toll, call for new action to strengthen global solidarity and the protection of their human rights.


This was the message sent by the World Humanitarian Summit and the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, and its New York Declaration.


Now, the world must act.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a new comprehensive framework for moving forward, charting a new global migration agenda grounded on the principles of human rights, gender equality and respect for cultural diversity.


UNESCO is working with Member States, other United System agencies and stakeholders, to translate this commitment into reality, investing in the development of sharper policies, stronger cooperation, wider knowledge-sharing. A common thread of all of our initiatives is the promotion of a welcoming culture that will enable the full inclusion and participation of refugees and migrants in receiving societies.


The role of cities is decisive here, to craft new ways of living together. This is the spirit underpinning the Welcoming Cities for Refugees Initiative launched with the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism, part of UNESCO’s International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR, launched in 2004. We are leading ground-breaking initiatives to empower journalists to counter xenophobic and stereotypical narratives in the media. Through global citizenship education, we are acting to foster a sense of solidarity with others, sharing the wealth of diversity as a force of renewal. Where needs are most acute, in the Syria crisis, UNESCO is providing quality education, psycho-social support and skills for a better life to refugees and internally displaced persons. Leveraging our standard-setting instruments on the recognition of foreign qualifications and on technical and vocational education and training, we are addressing the barriers to allow the access of migrants and refugees to education and to the labour market.

城市在开辟和睦共处新道路方面发挥着决定性作用。这是 Marianna V. Vardinoyannis 基金会和欧洲反对种族主义城市联盟发起的“欢迎难民城市倡议”的根本宗旨,而欧洲反对种族主义城市联盟是2004年启动的教科文组织国际包容和可持续城市联盟——国际反对种族主义城市联盟的组成部分。我们所领导的这一具有开创性的倡议,旨在增强记者的权能,推动他们与媒体中的排外主张和各种偏见成见作斗争。通过全球公民教育,我们正在努力培养团结他人的意识,分享作为革新力量的多样性的财富。在需求最为紧迫的叙利亚危机中,教科文组织正在为难民和国内流离失所者提供优质教育、社会心理支持和赖以改善生活的技能。借助于我们关于承认外国学历以及职业技术教育与培训方面的准则性文书,我们也在致力于消除阻碍移民和难民接受教育以及进入劳动力市场的各种障碍。

Protecting the human rights and dignity of migrants and refugees is a humanitarian emergency and a development imperative – it is also a condition for building a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.


On this International Migrants Day, I call on Member States to renew the promise of 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.