WASHINGTON, November 21, 2003—World Bank Managing Director, Mamphela Ramphele, will co-chair the newly established Global Commission on International Migration with Jan O. Karlsson, former Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy. In helping to lead this effort, Ramphele will continue in her role as Managing Director of the World Bank.
The independent Commission aims to provide a comprehensive response to migration issues. It is backed by about a dozen governments, and jointly headed by Sweden and Switzerland.
In a speech today at Columbia University in New York, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan supported the initiative. “It has my full backing, and I hope it will receive support from states in all parts of the world. Most of all, I hope it will help us approach this issue creatively and cooperatively.”
The independent Commission’s tasks include analyzing shortcomings in current approaches to migration and examining inter-linkages with other issues--and presenting recommendations to stakeholders. The Commission will begin its work in January 2004, and issue a final report to the UN Secretary General in mid-2005.
“Migration is a key development issue and , as such, of critical concern to the World Bank and our member countries—and to our mission of fighting global poverty,” Ramphele said. “All of us at the Bank are very pleased to be part of this new partnership.” She added that “today, around 175 million people are international migrants. The Commission hopes to reinforce the importance of migration on the international agenda and advance the interests of migrants and countries of origin, transit, and destination.”
South African-born Ramphele is one of four Managing Directors at the World Bank. She oversees strategic positioning and the Bank’s operations in the areas of External Affairs and the United Nations. She also oversees the work of the World Bank Institute—a major focal point of learning and knowledge-sharing on development. In addition, she leads the formulation of the Bank's policies on health and education, and is in charge of integrating, monitoring, and evaluating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.