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The International Organization for Migration (IOM-UN Migration) and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Antigua are partnering with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to host a series of events to celebrate International Migrants Day in the twin island State.
The festivities will begin on Friday, December 15, at 2:30 pm with a panel discussion featuring three migrants who have relocated to Antigua and Barbuda from different countries and have made diverse contributions to their new community.
This edition of Conversations on Migration in the Caribbean will be the first event in the series to feature migrant panelists.
The Antigua and Barbuda Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS will deliver speeches.
The discussion will focus on the “Ambition and Ability of Migrants to Contribute to Sustainable Development in Antigua & Barbuda,” and the event will offer both in-person and online participation.
The second major public event to celebrate International Migrants Day will be a Family Fun Day called “Nations and Celebrations” at the Rising Sun Grounds, starting at 11 am on Sunday, December 17.
The event will feature the flavors, music, fashion, cuisine, art, and crafts of various migrant groups in Antigua and will showcase culinary diversity by providing a multicultural range of options for Sunday lunch.
The event will also provide an opportunity for socialization as the school term has ended, and for last-minute gift shopping for locally produced gift items.
International Migrants Day is celebrated annually on December 18 to commemorate the creation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
The goal of the government and the United Nations is to ensure that all migrants and their families are adequately cared for. IOM leads the observance as the lead agency on migration in the UN system.
Patrice Quesada, IOM’s Coordinator for the Caribbean, is thrilled to host these events in Antigua.
According to a recent World Bank study, Antigua and Barbuda has a migrant population of 30 percent, which is a remarkable statistic, and the country exemplifies what IOM believes, that well-managed migration can be a solution, and indeed a pillar for sustainable development in nations.
In recent years, Caribbean leaders, researchers, and academics have expressed concern about the population decline, particularly in working-age populations, that many Caribbean countries are expected to experience by 2050.
All sectors are concerned, and intentional, strategic migration management approaches could help mitigate some of the negative consequences of declining and aging population figures.
E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Trade and Barbuda Affairs, stated that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda is delighted to collaborate on these events.
The fact that several activities have been chosen to commemorate this occasion in their country speaks volumes about how significantly Antigua and Barbuda has been influenced, positively, by the migration experience.
The migrant community’s myriad gifts from across the Greater Caribbean and beyond have enriched and strengthened the fabric of Antigua and Barbuda, resulting in harmonious culture that drives social cohesion, economic growth, and all-around development.
There is no doubt that all groups represented in Antigua and Barbuda’s society are experiencing increasing prosperity.