18 December 2018
UN Launches Migration Network to Support Global Compact’s Implementation
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The UN Migration Network launched in Marrakech will report to the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of the global compact on migration.

The International Organization for Migration will serve as Network coordinator.

9 December 2018: Ahead of governments’ adoption of the Marrakech Compact on Migration, the UN launched the UN Migration Network to support its implementation at country level. The Network will provide “effective, timely and coordinated system-wide” support to Member States, including by establishing the capacity-building mechanism called for in the Compact.

During the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which convened from 10-11 December 2018, in Marrakech, Morocco, 164 UN Member States adopted the Compact following an informal agreement reached in July 2018. In the Compact‘s section on implementation, governments establish a capacity-building mechanism allowing governments and companies to contribute technical, financial and human resources for implementation. In this regard, governments welcome the decision of the Secretary-General to establish a UN network on migration, which will aim to “ensure effective and coherent system-wide support for implementation, including the capacity-building mechanism, as well as follow-up and review of the Global Compact.”

Per the Network’s terms of reference, it will prioritize the rights and wellbeing of migrants and their communities of destination, origin, and transit. Its objectives include:

  • Supporting coherent action by the UN system at country, regional, and global levels in support of the Compact’s implementation;
  • Acting as a source of ideas, tools, reliable data and information, analysis, and policy guidance on migration issues, including through the capacity-building mechanism;
  • Ensuring close collaboration with other existing UN system coordination mechanisms that address migration-related issues;
  • Establishing and providing support to the capacity-building mechanism;
  • Engaging with external partners, including migrants, civil society, migrant and diaspora organizations, faith-based organizations, local authorities and communities, the private sector, employers’ and workers’ organizations, trade unions, etc.; and
  • Reporting to the UN Secretary-General on the Compact’s implementation.

The Network coordinator is the International Organization for Migration (IOM), through its Director General. The Network will consist of those members of the UN system who wish to be a part of it and for whom migration is of relevance to their mandates. Within that Network, an Executive Committee will be established, comprised of those entities with clear mandates, technical expertise and capacity in migration-related fields. The network will include Working Groups with IOM serving as their Secretariat. The Secretary-General will formally review the functional arrangements of the Network on a biennial basis, beginning in October 2020.

Speaking at the launch of the Network on 9 December, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “now we must breathe life into what we have agreed and demonstrate the Compact’s utility” to: governments as they establish and implement their own migration policies; communities of origin, transit and destination; and migrants themselves. To that end, he highlighted the Network as “a visible sign” of UN system’s commitment to the implementation of the “historic” compact.

Also on follow-up and review of the Compact, governments decide to rename the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development as the International Migration Review Forum. This Forum will serve as the main platform for discussing progress every four years, beginning in 2022.

The Marrakesh Conference took place in a two-day plenary debate and two dialogues, which focused on: ‘Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,’ and ‘Partnerships and innovative initiatives for the way forward.’ Speaking at the conference, Guterres explained that the Marrakech Compact rests on two ideas: that migration should be well managed and safe; and that national policies are far more likely to succeed if coupled with international cooperation. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), said the intergovernmental conference is a proof of the validity of multilateralism as the most effective tool to deal with one the world’s most pressing challenges.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, noted that her country will need more skilled labor from outside the EU, and has a vested interest in legal migration. She stressed that “the ‘go it alone’ approach will not solve the issue” and multilateralism is “the only way forward.” Pascal Teixeira, France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his country is driven by the belief that “multilateralism is the only response to global challenges,” adding that human mobility will likely increase in the coming decades. “It is illusory to think we can build walls,” he highlighted, but still, “there is no absolute right to migration” and the global compact does not create one.

Erol Kiresepi, CEO of Santa Farma Pharmaceuticals, presented the International Organization of Employers’ Marrakech Declaration, outlining the immediate needs of companies, ways to partner with the private sector, and recommendations for Governments.

On the sidelines of the conference, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico presented a ‘Comprehensive Development Plan in the Framework of the Conference on the Global Compact for Migration,’ which is expected to “change the paradigm” of cooperation between Mexico andnorthern Central America, according to UN Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena. The Comprehensive Development Plan seeks to promote development and opportunities in the region, contributing to the prevention of the migratory phenomenon and attacking its structural causes. [Migration Network Terms of Reference] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Compact’s Adoption] [UN Meeting Coverage – Day 1] [UN Meeting Coverage – Day 2] [Conference Website]

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