UNGA Votes to Endorse Marrakech Compact on Migration
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The UNGA endorsed the Marrakech Compact on Migration that had been adopted during an intergovernmental conference on the Compact in Marrakech.

In a vote, 152 Member States supported the UNGA resolution on endorsing the Compact, while five countries opposed (Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland and US) and 12 abstained (Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Romania, Singapore and Switzerland).

19 December 2018: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has endorsed the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, also known as the Marrakech Compact on Migration, by a vote. Noting that there are more than 250 million migrants around the world, UNGA President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés stressed the need to take action, and clarified that the Compact does not affect the sovereignty of any State but, on the contrary, reinforces it since no State, “no matter how powerful,” can solve by its own means the challenges of international migration.

The Marrakech Compact on Migration was adopted during the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that took place in Marrakech, Morocco, from 10-11 December 2018. The adoption of the Compact followed intergovernmental consultations led by the delegations of Mexico and Switzerland, which culminated in informal agreement on the text among Member States in July 2018. At the Marrakech conference, 164 UN Member States joined the Compact’s adoption.

After this adoption, the Compact was submitted for UNGA endorsement through draft resolution A/73/L.66 titled ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.’ In the draft resolution, the UNGA: recalls resolution A/71/1 of 19 September 2016 in which it decided to convene an intergovernmental conference to adopt the global compact as well as other related resolutions; expresses its gratitude to Morocco for hosting the Marrakech conference; and endorses the Global Compact on Migration adopted by the intergovernmental conference.

The endorsement of the Compact took place during a plenary meeting of the UNGA on 19 December 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Voting in favor of the resolution were 152 Member States, while five voted against it (Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland and US) and 12 abstained (Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Italy, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Romania, Singapore and Switzerland). In addition, 24 Member States were not present to take part in the vote.

Addressing the UNGA before Member States took action, Espinosa remarked that the content of the Compact is the result of a broad and intense process of intergovernmental negotiations, and reflects the will of States to address, in a joint manner and with a balanced and integral vision, a complex challenge which is both cross-border and global. She also said the UNGA’s endorsement will allow to: reduce vulnerabilities in migration; address the needs of the communities of origin, transit and destination; fight discrimination and the negative rhetoric against migrants; foster the empowerment of migrants and the communities that take them in; facilitate migrants’ access to decent labor; and contribute to a safe and dignified return and readmission. During the plenary meeting, 43 countries took the floor during the plenary meeting to make statements on their respective votes.

In a statement issued on the day of the endorsement, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, noted the non-legally binding nature of the Compact. He said the agreement: calls for greater solidarity with migrants in situations of “appalling vulnerability and abuse;” underscores the need to anticipate future trends, from labour markets to the impacts of climate change; and highlights the imperative of devising more legal pathways for migration, which would also help to crack down on trafficking and exploitation.

The UN Network on Migration also issued a statement to welcome the formal endorsement of the Compact. The statement notes that the UN system is committed to support the implementation of the Global Compact, and, through the Network, will help strengthen the benefits of migration and address its “many challenges.” The UN Network on Migration was established at the request of the UN Secretary-General, and currently comprises 38 entities from the UN system. The Network is coordinated by the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with strategic oversight provided by an Executive Committee composed of eight UN entities.

In addition to the endorsement of the Marrakech Compact on Migration, the UNGA adopted, on 17 December, the Global Compact on Refugees. Both Compacts were called for by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted by the UNGA in 2016. [Draft UNGA resolution] [UNGA President Statement] [UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [Briefing by Spokesperson for UNGA President] [UN Network on Migration Statement] [UN Webcast] [UN Press Release] [UN Meeting Summary] [UNGA Adopted Resolution on the Compact]


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