Migration Compact Discussions Address Border Governance
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The third session in a series of informal preparatory discussions around a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration emphasized Member States’ sovereignty over borders, while recognizing that safe, orderly and regular migration will require greater international cooperation and conformity with international human rights standards.

Proposals to improve migration governance include promoting policy coherence at the national level, ending child detention, building regional and national capacity, and monitoring migration-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

10 July 2017: Intergovernmental negotiations around a global migration compact have emphasized Member States’ sovereignty over borders, while recognizing that safe, orderly and regular migration will require greater international cooperation and conformity with international human rights standards. Proposals to improve migration governance include promoting policy coherence at the national level, ending child detention, building regional and national capacity, and monitoring migration-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting was the third session in a series of informal preparatory discussions around a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration. The meeting took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-20 June 2017, on the theme, ‘International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration.’ Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico, and Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland, are Co-facilitators of the process. The third session heard statements from 105 Member States out of 110 that attended, as well as from some UN agencies and non-governmental stakeholders. The Co-facilitators released a summary of the discussion on 10 July, noting areas of agreement and presenting proposals for further consideration.

The discussion affirmed Member States’ sovereignty over the admission of non-nationals, and highlighted States’ responsibilities to exercise this sovereignty in compliance with international human rights law, including the principle of non-refoulement and the right of all persons to leave any country, including their own. Member States proposed that countries carry out their own assessments of policy coherence and link migration with development policies at the national level. They favored building on existing processes and initiatives, noting that there are more than 20 inter-regional, regional and subregional processes covering migration, while also acknowledging that the current international architecture is inadequate for addressing all dimensions of migration.

Member States proposed using the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Migration Governance Framework and the Migration Governance Index to comprehensively monitor progress toward achieving migration-related targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly SDG 10.7 on orderly, safe and responsible migration and mobility. They noted the need to build national and regional capacities for migration governance.

On financing, Member States proposed to further consider: establishing a financing facility for migration; funding a comprehensive global study to identify gaps in migration governance; and improving coordination and complementarity among financing mechanisms and programmes, including those of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

They proposed that the global compact integrate parts of the 2035 Agenda for Human Mobility, which has been developed by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants.

Member States also proposed mainstreaming migration considerations into national human rights policies and programmes, ensuring that migrants have access to health, education, reunification with families, and access to justice, including through measures such as providing dedicated hotlines for migrants.

Member States highlighted the need for close attention to migration-related detention. They discussed ending the practice of child detention based on parents’ migration status, and avoiding the use of detention as a border management tool. They suggested that countries could consider expanding migrants’ access to consular support, respect international obligations to receive returning migrants, and protect migrants in vulnerable situations based on the guidelines developed by the Global Migration Group. While agreeing strongly that migration governance falls under national jurisdiction, they stressed that matters of admission and return should be exercised in full conformity with international law. Some states proposed a framework building on three principles: ensuring the protection of migrants; empowering migrants to fulfill their goals and aspirations; and affording migrants the opportunity to benefit equitably from the outcomes of migration.

Discussions around the global compact will continue at the Fourth Informal Thematic Session, which will take place on 24-25 July 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on the theme of “Contributions of migrants and diaspora to all dimensions of sustainable development, including remittances and portability of earned benefits.” Modalities for these negotiations were agreed on 6 April 2017 in UN General Assembly resolution 71/280. Six thematic sessions are taking place from April to November 2017, and the outputs will be discussed at a stocktaking meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 4-6 December 2017. [Co-facilitators’ Summary of Third Informal Session on Migration Compact] [Letter on Fourth Informal Session on Migration Compact] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Second Informal Session]


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