- WSBI celebrates International Day of Family Remittances 2020.
- Joins UN-initiated task force delivers guidelines 'Blueprint' for coordinated response towards remittances
- Report aims at addressing ways to help families recover from Covid-19-caused remittance falls.
>> Click: related video (off-site)
>> Visit: www.FamilyRemittances.org
>> See: Remittance Community Task Force | >> Read report
BRUSSELS, 16 June 2020 – As Covid-19 drives remittances flows to their sharpest decline in recent history, WSBI joined 36 other organisations across the globe act. Joined together as Remittance Community Task Force (RCTF), the group initiated by a UN specialised agency released today guidelines for a coordinated response towards recovery of remittances families due to Covid-19.
Titled Remittances in Crisis: Response, Resilience, Recovery: Blueprint for action, the report from the task force, which was formed by Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), contains concrete and actionable recommendations to help spur the recovery and the resilience of one billion people: 200 million migrant workers – half of them women – and their 800 million family members who rely on remittances.
The report presents the reality faced by remittance senders in host countries and their families in lower-middle-income countries (LMIC). It identifies the crisis’ impact on continuity of remittance flows, from the lens of service providers and includes policy and regulatory issues that need to be tackled to improve the resilience of remittance markets in the face of current and upcoming shocks. The report closes with a preliminary set of 20 immediate and short-term “Measures for Action” directed to member states, private sector and civil society to consider in their response towards maintaining the flow of fast, cheap and safe remittances during the post-Covid-19 crisis.” >> Read report
Task Force Blueprint released on International Day of Family Remittance
Falling on the International Day of Family Remittances 2020, the report release matters because remittances have fallen by 19.7 per cent in 2020 to US$445 billion, says a World Bank forecast. Although past remittances flows have been relatively resilient to external shocks, Covid-19 is different. It impacts senders and recipients simultaneously, depriving many migrant workers of their main source of income and causing households to lose an economic lifeline. The pandemic also highlights the key role played by policy and regulatory frameworks to enable a functioning remittance market in times of crisis.
Recommendations in this Blueprint for Action are presented under the framework of the 2007 General Principles for International Remittance Services, and are aimed at public authorities and service providers.
Role of public authorities: Fundamental, policy must build resilience within remittance markets
Public authorities play a fundamental part in spurring sustainable progress towards lower transaction costs, improved access and ability to reach the “last mile", and ultimately linking remittances to the development benefits of financial inclusion and local development. Although both public authorities and remittance service providers (RSPs) have implemented temporary measures to help mitigate crisis impacts, these policy actions are just that – temporary – often piecemeal and uncoordinated. Several long-standing policy and regulatory issues, as well as business practices, need to be addressed to improve the resilience of remittance markets in the face of current and upcoming shocks.
Task force origins: A call from UN Secretary-General Guterres
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 19 March called for an urgent and coordinated response from the international community to address the Covid-19 pandemic. Five days later the RCTF was formed with international organisations, inter-governmental bodies, industry and private sector groups, WSBI diaspora networks and international experts on remittances. The task force includes a reference group of government representatives and national development agencies.
Video: International Day of Family Remittances 2020, produced and released by IFAD.
About International Day of Family Remittances (From UN website)
The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) is a universally-recognized observance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/72/281) and observed on 16 June each year. The day recognizes the contribution of over 200 million migrant workers to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home, and to create a future of hope for their children.
Through this observance, the United Nations aim at bringing greater awareness on the impact that these contributions have on millions of households, but also on communities, countries, and entire regions. The Day alvso calls upon governments, private sector entities, and the civil society to find ways that can maximize the impact of remittances through individual, and/or collective actions.
The IDFR is fully recognised at global level, and included as one of the key initiatives to implement the newly-adopted Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Objective 20), also calling for the reduction of remittance transfer costs, and greater financial inclusion through remittances. The Day is also functional to the pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WSBI always promotes the day because its members in many parts of the world provide remittances. Unfortunately, they get charged a lot by the big moneywire networks. WSBI works with members and the UN to try to knock down prices that banks pay the likes of Western Union and MoneyGram, among others.
WSBI has been actively involved in the global policy debate on setting a "fair value" framework for international remittances. The association's work on fair remittances practices dates back to 2003 when it crafted a “Fair Value Remittances" value proposition that promotes end-to-end transparency and accountability in migrating from cash to account-based remittances. It served as input to the 2007 BIS / World Bank International Guiding Principles.
The outgrowth of that work was the WSBI Fair Value Remittance Framework, which responded to the needs from WSBI member banks and non-member financial institutions seeking to set standardised contractual terms and conditions governing their bilateral relationships. These financial institutions aimed at raising overall market efficiency, notably through greater choice and service quality for customers. These banks also look to offer customers a more ethical value proposition while boosting overall economic impact. By doing this, they put in practice the World Bank/BIS General Principles for International Remittance Services and work towards reaching the relevant United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal number 10 that specifies that by 2030, the transaction costs of migrant remittances should be reduced to less than 3 per cent and remittance corridors with costs higher than five per cent should be eliminated.
>> Visit www.FamilyRemittances.org for more 2020 campaign details
>> Read task force report