Informal Migration Consultations Explore Decent Work, Regular Pathways
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The final round of informal consultations around a global compact on migration concluded in Geneva, Switzerland.

Government representatives and stakeholders addressed: irregular migration and regular pathways; decent work and labor mobility; and recognition of migrants’ skills and qualifications.

UNGA President Miroslav Lajčák called for the global compact to respond to people’s real needs and for full implementation of existing cooperative frameworks and agreements.

13 October 2017: The final round of informal consultations around a global compact on migration concluded in Geneva, Switzerland. Government representatives and stakeholders addressed: irregular migration and regular pathways; decent work and labor mobility; and recognition of migrants’ skills and qualifications. UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajčák called for the global compact to respond to people’s real needs and for full implementation of existing cooperative frameworks and agreements.

At a press conference in advance of the migration meetings, Lajčák stressed the importance of demonstrating that “the UN is the right address” to offer global leadership on global challenges such as migration.

A one-day multi-stakeholder hearing took place prior to the thematic consultation, on 11 October, chaired by Lajčák. The hearing comprised three panel sessions, covering: the smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery; irregular migration and regular pathways, including decent work, labor mobility and recognition of skills and qualifications; and regional perspectives on migration. A range of stakeholders shared their perspectives on migration, including representatives from UN Member States, civil society, labor unions, private sector, academia and national human rights institutions.

Lajčák observed that 2017 was a year of commitments, in which UN Member States had reaffirmed their obligations to refugees and migrants. He called for 2018 to be a year of action so that people can move out of choice, and not from necessity. Lajčák concluded by urging participants to ensure that the global compact will be anchored in realities on the ground, rather than on perceptions and assumptions. He noted that the implementation of existing normative frameworks and cooperation agreements could be improved and welcomed the diversity of views presented at the hearing.

Following the multi-stakeholder hearing, the Sixth Informal Thematic Session took place at the UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland, from 12-13 October. Three panels convened during the session, addressing: irregular migration and regular pathways; decent work and labor mobility; and recognition of skills and qualifications and other relevant measures.

Delegates discussed proposals for more regular pathways for migration, including family reunification and transition from the informal to formal economy. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcomed the exchange of ideas on ways to reduce the costs of labor migration, promote fair and ethical recruitment and undertake bilateral management of labor migration schemes between countries of origin and destination. Lajčák said more partnerships and cooperation will help the international community take essential steps, including clamping down on exploitative labor practices and allowing remittance flows to positively stimulate economies.

The Geneva consultation marked the end of the first phase of preparations toward the negotiation of a global compact; Lajčák reminded participants that “the real work still lies ahead.”

The Geneva consultation marked the end of the first phase of preparations toward the negotiation of a global compact. Within this context, Lajčák reminded participants that “the real work still lies ahead.” A stocktaking meeting will take place in Mexico in early December, and the UNGA President will organize the third multi-stakeholder hearing on 18 December in New York, US, on the occasion of International Migrants Day.

The global compact is expected to present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility. A draft resolution on modalities for the negotiation was discussed in New York on 2 October. The resolution states that the global compact will deal with all aspects of international migration, including the humanitarian, developmental, human rights-related and other aspects of migration, and will be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).

Other meetings in Geneva took place on the sidelines of the consultations, including side events on health, ethical recruitment and skills recognition, and the Seventh Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Consultative Processes on Migration.

A report by the UN Secretary-General on the Proposed organization of work of the intergovernmental conference to adopt a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration (A/72/271) was presented to the UN General Assembly on 12 October. [Agenda for Second Informal Interactive Multi-stakeholder Hearing] [Organization of Work for Sixth Informal Thematic Session] [UNGA President’s Remarks to Multi-stakeholder Hearing] [UNGA President’s Closing Statement at Multi-stakeholder Hearing] [UNGA President’s Remarks to Sixth Informal Thematic Session] [IOM Press Release] [Zero Draft of Modalities Resolution] [UN Press Release] [Transcript of Press Conference]


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