21 March 2019
States Share Views on International Migration Review Forum Modalities
UN Photo/John Isaac
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On 20 March 2019, delegates met for the second informal consultation on the modalities and organizational aspects of the International Migration Review Forum, called for by the Global Compact for Migration.

During the meeting, delegates shared their views on: the duration, content and format of the IMRF; contributions from regions and from the Global Forum on Migration and Development; stakeholder participation; and the IMRF's progress declaration.

All States that intervened during the meeting underlined the importance of stakeholder participation in meetings of the Review Forum.

20 March 2019: Delegates met to discuss modalities and organizational aspects of the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) called for in the Global Compact for Migration. Per the Global Compact, the IMRF will serve as the “primary intergovernmental global platform” to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the Compact, including as it relates to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Global Compact for Migration notes that the IMRF is conceived as a “repurposing” of a prior mechanism, the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, and will take place every four years beginning in 2022.

On 21 December 2018, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces announced the appointment of Agustin Santos Maraver (Spain) and Masud Bin Momen (Bangladesh) as co-facilitators for consultations on the modalities and organizational aspects of the IMRF, and noted that modalities must be finalized by 31 July 2019, in order to support implementation of the Compact. A first consultation on modalities and organizational aspects of the IMRF took place in February 2019.

On 20 March 2019, at the second informal consultation, Bangladesh noted that the meeting aimed to gather views on modalities, but negotiations on this matter will start at a later date. Santos Maraver specified that a fund for voluntary contributions to manage the process still needs to be organized, and further consultations with UN agencies, stakeholders and others will take place before starting the negotiation process, which is expected to begin in June. He indicated that the negotiation phase will consider a draft text on modalities.

During the meeting, delegates shared their views on: the duration, content and format of IMRF meetings; contributions from regions and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD); stakeholder participation; and the mandated “progress declaration” of the Forum. On duration of the IMRF, some Member States noted that the Forum should not exceed three days, while a few others said it could last to up to four or five days.

Some countries suggested that the IMRF could encourage governments to present voluntary reviews on implementation of the Compact.

On content, several countries noted that the Forum should reflect the “360-degree vision of international migration,” and could discuss the Compact’s objectives through specific themes or clusters of objectives. One delegation noted that the themes could be aligned with the ones considered by the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Two States said discussions could go beyond the Compact’s implementation, and cover migration components that are not covered by the agreement. Countries also remarked that the IMRF could provide a platform to: exchange on good practices and challenges; share and review migration experiences; discuss implementation at the local, national, regional and global levels; encourage Member States to present voluntary reviews on the implementation of the Compact; and announce new initiatives or commitments for the years ahead. One country suggested that the UN Migration Network could prepare a global progress report as an input for discussion during the IMRF.

On the format of the Forum, a group of developed countries proposed to give all Member States the opportunity to speak in plenary general debates, and to organize parallel sessions, panels or roundtables that focus on themes or experiences. On participation, a delegation suggested to open the Forum to all States, even those that have not formally adopted the Compact, and to allow them to speak about their realities. Another one said participation by States should be voluntary, and they should decide what they want to present.

Delegations outlined the importance of regional contributions. Some called for regional reviews to: happen more frequently than every four years; identify challenges that are specific to regions; be presented during the IMRF in the form of reports or presentations; and serve as a key input to the HLPF. The Global Compact for Migration states that in alternating years, beginning in 2020, sub-regional, regional and cross-regional processes, platforms and organizations, including the UN regional economic commissions or regional consultative processes, are invited to review the implementation of the Global Compact, in order to inform each edition of the IMRF.

On the GFMD, a Member State suggested to use the Global Forum as a way to have in-depth discussions on the most difficult objectives of the Global Compact, and as a preparatory platform for the IMRF. The Global Compact notes that the GFMD should provide a space for annual informal exchange on the implementation of the Compact, and report the findings, best practices and innovative approaches to the IMRF.

All States that intervened during the meeting underlined the importance of stakeholder participation. Some countries called for allowing organizations that are not accredited by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to participate in the Forum. A group of countries noted that stakeholders should be allowed to speak and share their views during the opening general debate of the IMRF and other sessions, while one Member State said stakeholders should participate in parallel meetings on the margins of the Forum. One State favored civil society contributions not only to the Forum but also to its progress declaration. Some participants underlined the important role played by local authorities, and suggested designating a specific space for them during the Forum.

The Global Compact for Migration states that each edition of the Forum will result in an intergovernmentally agreed progress declaration, which will inform the HLPF. Some countries said the progress declaration of the IMRF should be intergovernmentally negotiated, with one delegation calling to elect a “small bureau” with all regions represented to prepare the zero draft. One country also proposed to have the declaration discussed in an open-ended working group supported by the UN Migration Network. Others said the declaration could take the form of a summary of discussions that took place during the Forum.

On content of the declaration, delegations suggested that it reflect on progress, significant accomplishments, setbacks, obstacles, and lessons learned in the implementation of the Compact and in the management of migration, and said it should provide recommendations. One country noted its preference for a technical document identifying the Compact’s objectives that have been implemented and those that need additional efforts. [Co-facilitators’ letter on second informal consultations] [Global Compact for Migration] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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