Migration Co-facilitators Issue Zero Draft
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

Much of the zero draft is devoted to 22 objectives, followed by a set of ‘Actionable Commitments’ for each objective.

Governments welcomed the co-facilitators' "360 approach" to balancing different concerns related to migration.

Intergovernmental negotiations on the compact will begin on 20 February.

5 February 2018: The co-facilitators of negotiations on the global compact on migration have presented the zero draft to UN Member States. They also updated delegations on plans for the first round of intergovernmental negotiations, convening on 20 February 2018.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is being prepared for adoption at an intergovernmental conference in Morocco, from 10-11 December 2018. Negotiations on the text of the Compact will take place in six rounds between February and July 2018, co-facilitated by Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland, and Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico.

The zero draft released on 5 February begins with a five-paragraph Preamble, noting that the Compact presents a “non-legally binding, cooperative framework,” building on previous commitments of Member States, upholding States’ sovereignty and acknowledging that no State can address migration alone.

A section on ‘Our Vision and Guiding Principles’ sets out a common understanding, shared responsibilities and unity of purpose regarding migration, and lists ten guiding principles on which the Global Compact rests. The ten principles are: people-centered; international cooperation; national sovereignty; rule of law and due process; sustainable development, noting that the 2030 Agenda recognizes that migration is a “multidimensional reality of major relevance for the sustainable development of countries of origin, transit and destination”; human rights; gender responsive; child-sensitive, to uphold the best interests of the child at all times; whole-of-government approach; and whole-of-society approach.

Much of the draft is devoted to 22 objectives, which are outlined in a section on ‘Our Cooperative Framework and Objectives.’ These are followed by a set of ‘Actionable Commitments’ for each objective.

The draft concludes with brief sections on Implementation, and Follow-up and Review. On implementation, governments would decide to establish a capacity-building mechanism for national and subnational authorities on migration. They also would request the Secretary-General to align the “set-up of the UN’s system on migration” with the ongoing reform processes on UN management and the UN development system.

On follow-up and review, governments would agree to repurpose the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development to serve as the primary global platform for discussion of the Compact’s implementation. The Dialogue would be renamed the ‘International Migration Review Forum.’ By the draft text, a review conference of the Global Compact would be considered for 2030. In addition, according to the draft, each region would convene a review forum every four years as well, to be organized by the respective regional economic commission.

Presenting the draft to Member States on 5 February 2018, Lauber highlighted the “360 degrees approach” in both the draft text and in the negotiation process. He said delegations should be “complete,” including experts on the different fields related to migration. The discussions will not separate economics, security and other matters, but maintain a larger, balanced concept of migration throughout the negotiation process. Gomez Camacho added that the objectives of the draft follow the logic of migration’s movement, from country of origin, through the migrants’ journey to their destination.

Lauber said the first negotiation session will begin on 20 February with delegations’ general comments on the draft, followed by a section-by-section reading to be completed by 23 February. He said that in the interest of transparency, all comments and reactions should be voiced in the room so everyone can hear them. A revised draft based on delegations’ comments will be the basis for the second round in March.

Morocco, as host country of the conference, noted it will: adopt a neutral position in the negotiations; seek to hold a conference where “everyone is present and participates actively;” and support a final document in which everyone is on board. Offering general comments on the zero draft, Brazil underlined its interest in a human-rights based approach to migration, opposed the criminalization and detention of irregular migrants, especially children, and said States’ security and border concerns will benefit from establishing alternative pathways for regular migration. Bangladesh echoed the importance of improving migrants’ human rights as a guiding principle for the compact. They also called to make it “as binding as possible.” The Philippines similarly called for a “people-centered” compact.

El Salvador and others welcomed the “360 approach” to balancing different concerns related to migration. [IISD sources] [Zero Draft] [Negotiations Webpage]


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