by Charlie Bush
What is the International Day of Family Remittances?
The 16th June has been designated as the official International Day of Family Remittances. It was unanimously proclaimed by all 176 IFAD Member States in February 2015, and has been recognised by governments, regulators, financial institutions and development bodies annually ever since.
The International Day of Family Remittances recognises and raises global awareness of the critical contributions that migrants around the world make for the wellbeing of their families. It celebrates the hard work, sacrifice and generosity of all international workers who provide an invaluable lifeline for their loved ones at home and contribute to the sustainable development of their countries of origin.
A key motivation behind the Day is to aid and encourage the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal, which aims to reduce the costs of migrant remittances to less than 3 per cent and to eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent (SDG 10.c).
Around 258 million people live outside their country of origin and the money these workers send to their relatives supports another 800 million people worldwide. Typically, migrants send between US$200 and US$300, several times a year. Although these may seem like small amounts, they often consist of 50 per cent or more of their family’s annual income. Collectively, officially recorded remittances to low- and middle-income countries in 2017 reached $466 billion - more than three times higher than official development aid.
Why is it important?
Remittances are one of the single most powerful financial forces in existence today. Not only do the figures sent home by migrant workers dwarf international aid and frequently surpass foreign direct investment too, but remittances also contribute to financial inclusion in a significant way. They channel global wealth from high-income countries to reach some of the poorest people on the planet and they disproportionately benefit women and the impoverished. Hundreds of millions of families rely on remittances to educate their children, pay for basic necessities, and to provide a safety net from calamities.
Recognising and celebrating the importance of these too often neglected flows is increasingly important as the number of international migrants rises. Acknowledging the International Day of Family Remittances brings attention to the lives of the millions of individuals who travel long distances and live apart from their families for economic reasons. It also supports the ongoing mission to lower transfer costs, promote financial inclusion and maximise the impact of these resources for the benefit of communities in countries of origin.
The proclamation of an International Day of Family Remittances presents an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen existing cross-industry partnerships and create new networks to promote the development impact of remittances. Ultimately, it is hoped that migration can become a choice rather than a necessity in the future.
What can you do to get involved?
If you or your organisation can increase publicity for the International Day of Family Remittances in any way, this would help its aims to be achieved. Activities could range from introducing special price promotions for the Day, running competitions for your customers and colleagues or simply circulating any information about the IDFR within your network and sharing relevant posts through your social media.
It can be a really positive story to try and redress the often negative and xenophobic coverage of migrant related stories that continually appear in today’s new stories. This day is all about supporting and celebrating the actions of people who are prepared to get up and go out into the world to make theirs, their families and their communities lives better. That is something we should all recognise and applaud.
We, at DMAG, will be celebrating IDFR in a number of ways, including trying to bring more awareness and recognition of all remitters and their families, throughout the world.
Please join us and bring a smile to over one billion faces.
Please find a link to the official IFAD homepage for the IDFR: http://www.un.org/en/events/family-remittances-day/
DMAG have also created a video to show our support for the IDFR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsYqFHP81s