International Migrants Day

António Guterres

On International Migrants Day, we highlight the urgent need for safe migration governance rooted in solidarity, partnership, and respect for human rights."

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

2023 Theme: Act Today

On International Migrants Day (18 December 2023), we reflect on and celebrate the contributions of millions of migrants worldwide.

People on the move are powerful drivers for development in both their origin and destination countries, as workers, students, entrepreneurs, family members, artists, and much more. Migrants often maintain strong connections to their home countries while embracing their new communities, where they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill.

If managed well, mobility can be a cornerstone of sustainable development, prosperity and progress. Unlocking migration’s potential is key to accelerating efforts to meet the significant challenges of the 2030 Agenda articulated during the Sustainable Development Goal summit in New York in September 2023, for the benefit of all.

There is an urgent need for the international community to provide people-centred and evidence-based solutions for people to remain in their communities, and for those who want to or must move.

The recently completed COP28 summit in Dubai provided the opportunity for IOM to advocate again for the impact of climate change on migrants to be a central part of this discussion. Promoting equal and inclusive partnerships with migrants, women, persons with disabilities and communities, while emphasizing the role of youth, is now more critical than ever.

On this International Migrants Day, IOM aims to position migration as one of the solutions to global challenges, such as adapting to the impacts of climate change or providing better economic opportunities for communities.

Every person can make a difference. Every person can be an agent of change. Together, our collective actions today, will prepare us for a better tomorrow.

Watch the video statement of Amy Pope, IOM Director General, on International Migrants Day

Promoting safe migration

Migrants and displaced people represent some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in society. Migrants have proven to be a source of prosperity, innovation, and sustainable development to countries of origin, transit, and host countries.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) offers the opportunity and guidance to actualize human mobility and seize the opportunities it presents.

On this International Migrants Day, and every day, IOM reaffirms its commitment to promoting a humane and orderly management of migration for the benefit of all, including the communities of origin, transit, and destination.

Watching the video to learn 5 ways states can promote safe migration.



 On 26 August, a young girl from the Syrian Arab Republic holds the hand of an adult while standing in a queue of people waiting to board a train to the border with Serbia, near the town of Gevgelija, on the border with Greece.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) defines a migrant as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is.


No state can manage migration effectively and sustainably in isolation. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is an effective tool for States to discuss how best to address challenges to human mobility without compromising the human rights of people and states’ sovereignty. Find out more about the process to develop the Global Compact for Migration on the UN Refugees and Migrants website.


an abstract illustration of people engaged in an event

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.


  • Added: 19.12.2023
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