Multi-stakeholder Hearing Calls for Holistic Approach to Migration
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The third multi-stakeholder hearing in the preparatory process for the global compact on migration focused on a “whole-of-society approach” to migration.

During the meeting, a representative reported from the Civil Society Stocktaking and Strategy meeting that took place ahead of the Puerto Vallarta stocktaking meeting in early December.

Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland and co-facilitator of intergovernmental consultations on the global compact, said the forthcoming zero draft of the compact will contain concrete recommendations and a clear follow-up mechanism.

18 December 2017: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak held an interactive, multi-stakeholder hearing as part of the preparatory process for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Participants flagged recommendations to integrate migrants in policy-making processes, for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) to strengthen their connections with policy-makers in order to maximize the potential of migrants, and to address communication and information gaps, both for and about migrants.

The event took place on 18 December 2017, in New York, US, on International Migrants Day. The hearing was the third in a series of six informal interactive multistakeholder hearings scheduled during the preparatory process for the global compact on migration. The hearing focused on adopting a “whole-of-society approach” to ensure that migration is managed in a holistic manner through the contribution of authorities, migrants, civil society, the private sector, and academia.

Delivering opening remarks, Lajcak remarked that the global compact must be adaptable to every country, and should be based on an understanding of the different contexts and circumstances of those countries. He said migrants contribute to local economies through new investments, skills and labor.

Louise Arbour, Secretary-General of the intergovernmental conference on international migration, highlighted messages from the stocktaking meeting that convened in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, from 4-6 December 2017. She said policy coherence and partnerships among national and local governments are crucial, and best practices must be shared for replication between UN Member States.

John Bingham, International Catholic Migration Commission, provided an overview of the Civil Society Stocktaking and Strategy meeting that took place ahead of the Puerto Vallarta meeting. He said civil society messages called for: making sure that the global compact is not a compact on deportation; ensuring strong interactions between the global compacts on migration and refugees; and incorporating in the global compact the unfinished business of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, such as climate-induced displacement.

Eni Lestari Andayani Adi, Chairperson, International Migrants Alliance, underscored the need to find ways to provide migrants with information about their rights so they can access mechanisms to defend themselves. Deborah Valencia, Melissa Network of Migrant Women in Greece, presented an integrative approach to migrants skills-building that combines literacy, information, self and community care, arts and crafts, and psychosocial support.

Onyekachi Wambu, Executive Director, African Foundation for Development, spoke about a “twinning program” between local authorities in origin and destination countries, which he said has helped in effective policymaking. Barbara Span, Western Union, reported that in the US, there are 188 welcoming communities for migrants, in which 48 million people reside. By embracing a whole-of-society approach, the communities have contributed to a rebound of industries in their respective areas, she said.

Laura Angélica Rojas Hernández, Senator, Mexico Senate, explained that Mexico is currently receiving migrants from other parts of Latin America and is therefore both an origin and a destination country. As such, it is shaping public perceptions on the benefits of integrating migrants, just as it has been advocating for its emigrants to be integrated in their destination countries.

Tendayi Bloom, The Open University, called for engaging the private sector in designing and implementing the global compact, explaining that the private sector can contribute data on migrants, and are the future employers for migrants. Dennis Sinyolo, Education International, noted that the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) social tripartite model works because employers, trade unions and workers come together to develop and share best practices. He added that the model has a follow-up framework, providing a good blueprint that should be replicated at the national level.

In concluding remarks, Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland and co-facilitator of intergovernmental consultations on the global compact, said the zero draft of the compact will contain concrete recommendations and a clear follow-up mechanism. Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico and co-facilitator of the intergovernmental consultations, noted that the consultations that have taken place will contribute to a better quality draft.

The GFMD Co-Chairs called for a whole-of-society approach complemented by a whole-of-government approach.

In the ensuing conversation, participants drew attention to: colonialism as the root cause of current migration patterns and practices; the need for legislative frameworks to better balance sovereignty and protection; and the importance of temporary migration programmes. Parliamentarians called for a special refugee tax in developed countries to help asylum seekers and refugees. Cabo Verde underscored the need to strengthen the migration-development nexus. Morocco, speaking for the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Co-Chairs Morocco and Germany, highlighted the necessity of a whole-of-society approach complemented by a whole-of-government approach. Belgium noted that the Mechelen Declaration outlines migration policy gaps identified by mayors and leaders of local and regional governments, saying that these gaps should be considered when developing the global compact.

In a message on the occasion of the International Migrants Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said despite overwhelming evidence about the benefits generated by migrants everywhere, hostility towards migrants is growing around the world. To address that, he called for effective international cooperation in managing migration, and invited commitment to the global compact.

Negotiations on the global compact are expected to begin in early 2018, following the release of the zero draft from the co-facilitators. [Event Concept Note] [Secretary-General Remarks] [Meeting Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Migration Global Compact Stocktaking Meeting] [Mexico Civil Society Stocktaking and Strategy Meeting] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Mechelen Declaration]


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