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Peter Sutherland is the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration. Appointed in January 2006, he supported the Secretary-General in promoting the United Nations agenda on international migration prior to and during the 2006 High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development . With the Secretary-General, he proposed and advocated for the creation of the State-led Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which now attracts over 150 countries annually to advance international cooperation on migration. In addition to serving as the primary link between the United Nations and the Global Forum process, Mr. Sutherland advises the Secretary-General on issues related to international migration and development; leads initiatives to foster cooperation on critical issues such as protecting migrants affected by crises and ensuring that migration is considered in the post-2015 United Nations development agenda; and writes and speaks frequently on migration-related issues (see below).

Advocate for migrants

“No other force—not trade, not capital flows—has the potential to transform
lives in sustainable, positive ways and on the scale that migration does”

Mr. Sutherland is a strong advocate for promoting practical action to increase the benefits of migration for countries of origin, destination, and migrants alike, while reducing its economic and human costs. He strongly believes that international migration, development, and human rights are intrinsically interconnected, and advocates for promoting and respecting the rights of all migrants, regardless of their status. His priorities for the 2013 High-level Dialogue include (a) to address the plight of migrants affected by crises such as civil conflicts or natural and man-made disasters, (b) to promote the inclusion of migration in the United Nations post-2015 development agenda, (c) to develop priorities for international cooperation on migration in the coming decade, and (c) to encourage States to ratify and implement the 2011 ILO Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers .


Mr. Sutherland has served as Attorney General of Ireland, EC Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy, Director General of GATT and then of The World Trade Organisation. He is currently Chairman of Goldman Sachs International and Chairman of the London School of Economics. He was a member of the UN Commission on Human Security and has been Chairman of the European Institute of Public Administration and; he earlier served as Chairman of BP plc. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his work on regional and global interdependence.

Articles published on the Project Syndicate platform

SRSG Sutherland publishes frequently on the Project Syndicate platform; his articles are reproduced by newspapers around the world and are available in different languages at: http://www.project-syndicate.org/contributor/peter-sutherland.


May 21, 2014
Do Europeans Really Fear Migrants?

Though right-wing populists are set to make substantial gains in the upcoming European Parliament election, it
would be a mistake to conclude that migrants' mere presence in Europe fuels support for ...


Mar. 17, 2014
Migration on the Move

Migration – when it is safe, legal, and voluntary – is the oldest poverty-reduction and human-development strategy.
Fortunately, it seems that this long-ignored reality is finally sinking in, with ...


Oct. 1, 2013
A Decalogue for the UN Migration Summit

LONDON – This month, for only the second time in its history, the United
foreigners by neo-fascists in Greece, dozens of domestic workers on ...


Sep. 3, 2013
The Changing Mood on Migration

LONDON – Headlines about migration can seem unbearably stark: attacks on
foreigners by neo-fascists in Greece, dozens of domestic workers on ...


Aug. 9, 2013
The Responsibility to Protect Migrants

CORK – Migrants face countless perils. Vicious mafias smuggle them across borders with
reckless disregard for their lives. Rapacious recruit ...


Mar. 15, 2013
Migration Is Development

LONDON – In September 2000, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals rallied
the international community behind a shared vision. The ...


Dec. 31, 2012
The Bilateral Threat to Free Trade

ISTANBUL – The Doha Round of global trade talks appears to have died this year, almost
without a whimper. While a small portion of the ...


Jul. 20, 2012
Europe’s Immigration Challenge

LONDON – Europe faces an immigration predicament. Mainstream politicians, held
hostage by xenophobic parties, adopt anti-immigrant rhetoric ...


Jan. 12, 2012
After the Promised Land

LONDON – At the height of the Arab uprisings last spring, many Europeans were
gripped by nightmare visions of a tsunami of migrants crashing ...


Apr. 27, 2011
Europe’s Test in North Africa

LONDON – Europe’s reaction to the historic revolutions in North Africa has
vacillated between exhilaration and fear. The natural instinct to ...


Sept. 19, 2014
Dying for Europe

LONDON – With some 1,600 asylum-seekers having died in the Mediterranean Sea since June 1, Europe's policy toward migrants and asylum-seekers is clearly in need of reform. While Europe cannot help all of ...

Other Articles


UN Press Release (SG/A/976, BIO/3735):
Secretary-General appoints Peter Sutherland as Special Representative for Migration


Migration Is Development:
How Migration Matters to the Post‐2015 Debate


Migration 2.0:
A time for action at the UN Summit on Migration and Development