IOM Dialogue Highlights Migration Benefits, Migrant Rights as Global Compact Preparations Advance
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The first 2017 International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) convened to “frame the core objectives for the global compact”.

Its outcomes and those of the second 2017 IDM, in July, will inform the consultation phase of the global compact.

The co-facilitators issued information about the first phase of the preparatory process, including a procedural note on the first informal thematic session, and a schedule of preparatory events.

19 April 2017: UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that no one will be left behind, makes it critical to develop and adopt a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. Mohammed was addressing the 2017 International Dialogue on Migration (IDM), which convened to “frame the core objectives for the global compact.”

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) convened the Dialogue on the theme, ‘Strengthening International Cooperation on and Governance of Migration towards the Adoption of a Global Compact on Migration in 2018,’ in New York, US, from 18-19 April 2017. The twice-yearly Dialogue is IOM’s principal forum for migration policy dialogue.

In opening remarks, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing envisioned a world in which migrants “move as a matter of genuine choice” and in which migration is well governed so as to be a positive force for individuals, societies and States. The global compact, he said, should place migrants’ needs, capacities and contributions at its core. Swing outlined the IOM vision for the global compact, with four core elements: protecting the rights of migrants; facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration; reducing the incidence and impacts of forced and irregular migration; and addressing mobility consequences of natural and human-induced disasters. Louise Arbour, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for International Migration, called for recognition of human mobility and diversity as “a contribution to evolving societies and strong economies.”

The global compact should provide a road map to implement SDG target 10.7.

Mohammed highlighted Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 10.7, which calls to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.” She said the global compact should: provide a practical road map on achieving this target; bring together the means to implement other relevant frameworks, “including Sendai, Addis, Quito and Samoa;” be based on international standards, including those related to the rights of migrants; be evidence-based; and foster stronger partnerships to balance the interests of origin and destination countries. She called for an inclusive and transparent consultation process to ensure that the outcome is owned by all stakeholders, including migrants themselves.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson, closing the Dialogue, described a “harsh – and in my view unnecessary” reality that migrants are among the most vulnerable people in society. He said the process to develop the global compact is well underway, noting the recent adoption of the modalities resolution on intergovernmental negotiations for the compact, and the appointment of co-facilitators (Mexico and Switzerland) for the preparatory process and intergovernmental conference in 2018. Thomson also highlighted that IOM will provide technical and policy expertise to Member States as they develop the compact and prepare for the conference.

The outcomes from this IDM, as well as the second IDM in 2017, scheduled for 18-19 July, in Geneva, Switzerland, will inform the consultation phase of the global compact. The second workshop will focus on protection of and assistance for migrants in vulnerable situations from a policy, cooperation and practical perspective, IOM notes.

Further on the global compact process, on 13 April, the co-facilitators (Mexico and Switzerland) issued information about the first phase of the preparatory process. Among the materials provided is a procedural note on the first informal thematic session, which will convene in Geneva, Switzerland from 8-9 May 2017. The information also includes a work plan highlighting relevant processes, mechanisms and initiatives in the field of migration.

As indicated in the general concept note on Phase I, each of the six thematic sessions will take place over two days, include expert panels and interactive discussions, and be moderated by a UN Member State. Panelists are asked to be “informal and provocative,” and participating Member States should react “in real time to the comments made and questions posed.”

Regional Commissions will organize discussions as part of the preparatory process, the Note indicates, culminating in a global meeting of the chairs and secretaries in Geneva, Switzerland in October 2017. The co-facilitators also provided a list of preparatory events, including title or theme, location and dates, including four of the Regional Commissions’ preparatory meetings, and the informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearings.

Also according to the general concept note, a list of possible elements of the global compact is available on the process’ website.

In addition, on 10 April 2017, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) highlighted that almost a half-trillion US dollars are sent home by migrants each year, a “vital development benefit” to poor families and countries. Adolfo Brizzi, IFAD, addressing a journalism festival in Italy, said the remittances help to stabilize families and rebuild communities, and support 750 million people worldwide. He suggested that better access to competitive money transfer markets and targeted financial services would further benefit migrants and their families. [Remarks of UN Deputy Secretary-General] [Closing Remarks of UNGA President] [IDM Webpage] [IOM Press Release on Opening Session] [UN Press Release on Remittances] [Information from Co-facilitators] [Migration Compact Website]


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