4-5 September 2007,  Accra, Ghana

Overview

Achieving the objectives of the Programme of Action of the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in LDCs calls for scaling up of external financial resources. The 2004 high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council “Resources mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication in the context of the implementation of the Programme of Action of the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010” concluded that remittances are the second largest source of external finance to the least developed countries (LDCs) and could have a positive impact on poverty eradication, sustained growth and sustainable development in the LDCs, if governments pursue the right policies.

As a follow up to the 2004 High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in February 2006, in Cotonou,, the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing Countries (UN-OHRLLS), in collaboration with the International Organizational of Migration (IOM) and the government of Benin, organized the Ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries on Enhancing the Development Impact of Remittances.

The two-day Conference addressed two main areas: improving remittance services and enhancing the development impact of remittances. It examined current flows, patterns and trends of the migrant remittances as well as policies and practices governing remittances in the LDCs. The Conference concluded by the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration which recognized the importance of remittances and made recommendations on how to enhance their development impact, including, inter alia, by “engaging Diasporas and hometown associations in national development process of LDCs”.

Later the same year, during the 2006 High-Level segment of ECOSOC, the UN-OHRLLS also organized, in collaboration with the Office of Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), a roundtable” Migrant workers’ remittances in Africa and LDCs: new development paradigm” which concluded that while migration of skilled workers led to “brain drain”, the impact of migration of low skilled workers in Africa and LDCs had been positive, especially on the microeconomic level, generating additional household incomes and investment in health, education and housing.

The Regional Consultations on Migration, Remittances and Development to be held on 4-5 in early September 2007 in Accra, Ghana, builds upon the previous work of the Office in this area. They are organized in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme and aim to address both the supply and demand side of remittances. Their would provide recommendations to governments, financial institutions, civil societies and international development agencies, in sending and receiving countries, on creating employment, improving the quality of life of the poor people and achieving the MDGs.

The Regional Consultations in Africa will be preceded by the national consultations, organized with the assistance of the UN Resident Coordinators.

The objectives of the Regional Consultations are as follows:

1. Create an intra-Africa dialogue, including with the Diaspora and to explore strategic options with the view to maximizing the developmental impact of remittances.
2. Provide recommendations for actions (including through public private partnerships) by the relevant stakeholders
3. Assist the UN RCs in focusing on this area at the country level, with due attention to the special needs of LDCs.