IOM Council - 113th Session


29 November – 2 December 2022


High-level segment


Statement by Portugal


Director General, Dear António,

Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Delegates,

Allow me to begin by saluting the decision of Director General Vitorino to present his bid for a second term as IOM’s DG. The Portuguese Government strongly supports the candidacy of António Vitorino for a second term. This decision mirrors the consistent priority given by Portugal to a humanist approach to migration and to multilateral cooperation.

In his first mandate, in a particularly challenging international context, António Vitorino achieved important results in strengthening the Organization and its budget. He implemented reforms to the top management structure, promoted geographic and gender diversity, and established evaluation and accountability mechanisms, while improving the effectiveness of human activities. For these reasons we believe António Vitorino deserves to be given the opportunity to implement on a second mandate the reforms that he led on his first term.

Furthermore, Portugal supports a second term of the current DG as it has always been the case with all his predecessors in IOM, and thus also contributing to the indispensable rotation of leadership, amongst all regional groups, giving all of them a fair and balanced chance in running the Organization.

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to join you today for a discussion on this major challenge for the global community - the intersection between climate change, food insecurity and human mobility.

We welcome its increased visibility on the political agenda.

In today’s multiple and interconnected crisis, it is key to recognise and address the complexity of population movements driven by climate change. Although most of the mobility occurs within the borders of countries, an increasing number of people will be forced to move abroad. While more visible in some regions and countries this affects the whole planet.

Climate change affects the livelihoods of populations, undermining the ability of already vulnerable economic and social systems to cope. Water scarcity and sea-level rise lead to lower crop productivity in regions where agriculture is the basis of employment. Coastal countries, particularly small island nations, have their livelihoods threatened. Due to climate change, some areas of the planet became inhabitable.

Food and energy rising prices, following Russia’s war against Ukraine, have exacerbated food insecurity, with a strong impact in the most vulnerable communities.

How to respond – is the question.

We need to support small-scale farmers; policies that balance urgency and sustainability; an ambitious energy transition; digital and green transitions, while advancing social fairness, decent work and social protection.

It is crucial to strengthen efforts to enhance and diversify pathways for safe, orderly and regular migration.

With that in mind, we should aim at:

  • Supporting people on the move, by concluding labour mobility agreements, optimizing education opportunities and facilitating access to procedures for family reunification;
  • Helping people to stay, by addressing the adverse climatic drivers that compel people to move, making migration a choice;

In the case of Portugal:

  • Migration – in both directions - has been a defining factor for social change over decades;
  • As champion country of the GCM, we set safe and sustainable migration as a priority. Both at home and abroad;
  • Migrants play a vital role in our communities and provide positive contributions both in countries of origin and destination;
  • Despite the challenges over the past years, our commitment to a humanistic approach to migration has not faded;
  • We signed bilateral labour mobility agreements with partner countries in all continents, to facilitate legal and safe labour migration flows, including a mobility agreement among the Member States of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries.

Dear Colleagues,

We must step up our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

I hope we will continue to work for a world where human mobility becomes driven only by choice and not by lack of other options. And where choosing to migrate implies a safe path to the destination.

You can continue to count on Portugal’s engagement and commitment in this.

Thank you.

  • Partilhe