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An Urban Safety Governance Approach for Safe, Inclusive and Resilient Societies
May 21, 2021

People converse around table seated.
Credit: Inter-American Foundation

30th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
UNODC Side Event “An Urban Safety Governance Approach for Safe, Inclusive and Resilient Societies”

Remarks by Deputy Assistant Secretary Marta Costanzo Youth, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration

Good Morning. It’s a pleasure to be here today to talk about the United States’ strategy and approach to the impact of urban safety and good governance on migration in North and Central America.

I’d like to thank Mr. Jean-Luc Lemahieu, my fellow panel members, government officials, and UN representatives for being here today, as well as UNODC, a key partner, for hosting the 30th Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).

The Biden Administration is committed to promoting safe, orderly, and humane migration.

We believe that all individuals should be able to find safety and achieve a stable and dignified life within their own countries.

We engage other countries through bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and implement targeted capacity-building programs to help governments better manage irregular migration.

The State Department, through the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), works through international and non-governmental organization partners to provide humanitarian assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable migrants in countries around the globe.

Deep inequality and the violence and corrosive influence of transnational criminal organizations too often stunt economic growth and development, and divert resources from government services such as healthcare and education. We see the impact through irregular mass migration as citizens make the difficult choice to leave their homeland for the hope of a better future.

President Biden announced a multipronged approach for working with our neighbors to address these root causes of irregular migration and to collaboratively manage migration flows. To that end, he appointed Vice President Harris to lead U.S. government engagement.

The U.S. government is focusing our efforts on addressing the three significant push factors of irregular migration: Governance and Anticorruption, Economic Opportunity, and Security.

International cooperation is a top priority and we are committed to re-engaging multilaterally, including through our strategy to manage migration collaboratively. We are building and expanding partnerships with governments, international and non-governmental organizations, banks, civil society, and the private sector.

The Vice President met virtually in recent months with President Lopez Obrador of Mexico and President Giammattei of Guatemala to discuss the root causes of irregular migration.

We look to build on these very productive bilateral meetings with the recognition that the Western Hemisphere is our collective home and we all have a responsibility to engage. Regional collaboration on anti-corruption measures and working closely with partners to prosecute corruption and combat transnational criminal operations are central to strengthening good governance. Prosecuting the criminals, including human traffickers and smugglers who prey on migrants, must be a priority for us all. We will also look to address other drivers of irregular migration, including extortion and gender-based violence (GBV).

The root causes of irregular migration, to include crime, violence, and lack of security, will not be easily resolved. Long-term efforts to solidify and expand implementation of these initiatives, through collaborative engagement with stakeholders in civil society, the private sector, and partner governments are geared towards our shared goal of increasing security and increasing hope that a stable and prosperous future can be found at home.

The U.S. government looks forward to working together with all of you on this important topic.

Thank you very much for your cooperation as we advance our shared humanitarian and good governance goals on migration.