By Htun Tin Htun
World Food Day this year is falling on Monday, 16th of October 2017 and its theme for this year international day is “Change the future of migration; Invest in food security and rural development”. On International Youth Day 2017, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations joins the world to recognize the importance of young people to build a future based on peace and prosperity; the world’s population today is young and dynamic; some 1.2 billion youth make up 14 percent of the global population, and almost 88 percent of them come from developing countries; this means a large number of young people with great potential and aspirations, but facing big constraints and challenges to build their future. Rural development can address factors that compel people to move by creating business opportunities and jobs for young people that are not only crop-based (such as small dairy or poultry production, food processing or horticulture enterprises); it can also lead to increased food security, more resilient livelihoods, better access to social protection, reduced conflict over natural resources and solutions to environmental degradation and climate change. Large movements of people today are presenting complex challenges, which call for global action. Data as shown below are mentioning the world’s migration and their role played in this planet.
• In 2015, there were 244 million international migrants, 40% more than in 2000.
• People who move within national borders were estimated at 763 million in 2013, meaning that there are more internal migrants than international migrants.
• About one-third of all international migrants are aged 15-34. Nearly half are women.
• In 2015, migrants sent over US$ 600 billion in remittances to their countries of birth. Of that, developing countries received about US$ 441 billion, nearly three times the amount of official development assistance.
• A large share of migrants come from rural areas where more than 75% of the world’s poor and food insecure depend on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.
• Most migrants, whether international or internal, originate in the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
• In 2015, 65.3 million people around the world were forcibly displaced by conflict and persecution, including over 21 million refugees, 3 million asylum-seekers and over 40 million IDPs.
• A quarter of global refugees reside in only three countries (Turkey, Pakistan and Lebanon).
• In 2015, more than 19 million people were internally displaced because of natural disasters. Between 2008 and 2015, an average of 26.4 million people were displaced annually by climate or weather-related disasters.
FAO is working with governments, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and local communities, to generate evidence on migration patterns and is building countries’ capacities to address migration through rural development policies and FAO supports governments and partners as they explore the developmental potential of migration, especially in terms of food security and poverty reduction. FAO is helping countries create more employment opportunities for youth in rural areas, by harnessing the potential of agricultural and rural livelihoods. “Fostering sustainable agriculture and rural development is essential to absorb these millions of youth looking for a job”. Our world is getting closer than before and our laws, rules, regulations and procedures should recognize and appreciate the performance and capabilities of migrants who moves, travels, works and remits across the planet to help grow the world’s socio-economies. One by one, moment by moment, little by little the migrants can do more and more benefits to the development of the nations around the world to help achieve the sustainable development goals that we all must try to achieve by 2030. Development experts said while population grows, employment opportunities remain limited and of poor quality for young people in rural areas; they often earn low wages and face unsafe, exploitative working conditions, which force them to migrate to urban areas or leave their country to look for better opportunities; in 2015, of the 244 million people who crossed the border in search of a better life, about one-third was between 15 and 34 years old; in addition, there were 763 million internal migrants and many young migrants come from rural areas where the lack of productive and decent employment opportunities perpetuates poverty, food insecurity and economic fragility; conflicts and natural disasters adds further pressure on rural livelihoods, all of which leads to forced migration and displacement of youth internally and abroad.
Development is of paramount importance for the people of this planet and migration is part of the process of development as economies undergo structural transformation and people search for better employment opportunities within and across countries; the challenge is to address the structural drivers of large movements of people to make migration safe, orderly and regular; in this way, migration can contribute to economic growth and improve food security and rural livelihoods, thus advancing countries’ progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “A sustainable world can only be achieved with the full engagement of young people. They must feel integrated and believe that a more peaceful and prosperous world is possible”.” said the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization José Graziano da Silva. Young people of this world are of great importance to build a future based on peace and prosperity; by the end of 2016, 66 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide, many of whom are young people coming from rural areas; these generations of displaced young people are particularly exposed to the threat of violence and radicalization; for rural youth, the creation of decent employment is much more than just a job and it is a life-changing opportunity to build a brighter future based on peace and prosperity in their own country.
Reference: FAO Website for WFD