8 June 2017
UN Prepares for Migration Governance Discussion
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The co-facilitators of the preparatory process for the global compact on migration issued a procedural note outlining the format and the tentative agenda of the third informal thematic session, on the topic of 'International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration'.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration and Secretary-General of the conference, Louise Arbour, circulated an inter-agency issue brief for the session, which will convene in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-20 June 2017.

6 June 2017: The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration and Secretary-General of the 2018 intergovernmental conference on global migration, Louise Arbour, circulated an inter-agency issue brief on international cooperation and governance of migration, which is the topic of the third informal thematic session. In addition, information on format and tentative agenda of the thematic session has been issued by the co-facilitators of the preparatory process.

The third informal thematic session, focusing on ‘International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration,’ will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 19-20 June 2017. It is part of the first preparatory phase for the compact, which consists of consultations in the form of six thematic sessions, and runs from April to November 2017.

The issue brief for the third thematic session calls for the global compact to be guided by, and build synergies with, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the New Urban Agenda and other existing commitments and mechanisms for international cooperation relating to migration. The brief states that there is no binding international agreement specifically dedicated to migration governance, and the UN system should consolidate its capacity and develop ways to achieve greater effectiveness and leadership on migration and human mobility more broadly.

The brief outlines “critical components” of migration governance, and examines how each operates at national, regional and international levels. The critial components fall into two categories: essential principles cutting across all migration policy-making (human rights; whole of government approach/policy coherence; evidence-based policies; partnerships; and public confidence); and key elements of well-managed migration (border management; labor and skills mobility; orderly migration, return, and readmission; social inclusion; migration and development; and managing crisis-related movements and protecting migrants in vulnerable situations, including in transit).

The brief suggests that UN Member States could consider including, in the global compact, specific benchmarks, timelines and review mechanisms for their commitments. In this regard, it proposes to: create a Financing Facility for Migration to channel funding from States, international financial institutions, multilateral development banks, and private sector actors to build the capacity of states to achieve migration-related aims of the SDGs and the “broader UN agenda.” It also suggests to 
enhance collection, analysis and dissemination of sex and age-disaggregated data, while ensuring data protection, and to support the increased harmonization and coordination of migration data sources, collection and analysis. It adds that data collection should be targeted to help states achieve their commitments in the SDGs (in particular target 10.7 on facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration), and to assess, understand and address gaps in their migration policy.

Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico, and Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland, serve as co-facilitators to lead the intergovernmental consultations and negotiations on issues related to the global compact, the intergovernmental conference, and their preparatory process. On 1 June they issued a procedural note on the third informal thematic session, indicating that proceedings will include welcoming remarks by the co-facilitators, a presentation of the issue brief by the Secretary-General of the Conference, three expert panels, a summary of the panels’ discussions, and closing remarks by the co-facilitators. An informal dialogue with stakeholders is scheduled to take place on the second day, before the start of the session.

The three expert panels will discuss international cooperation and governance of migration by focusing on: all its dimensions (panel 1); transit, entry and borders (panel 2); and return, readmission, integration and reintegration (panel 3). As announced in an accompanying letter by UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson, moderators for the session will consist of: Ola Henrikson, Ministry of Justice, Sweden
 (panel 1); Mehmet Samsar, Ambassador, Turkey (panel 2); and Omar Abdulrahman Salem Alnuaimi, United Arab Emirates (panel 3).

The third informal thematic sessions will be followed by three other sessions on: the contributions of migrants and diasporas to all dimensions of sustainable development (July 2017 in New York); smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery (September 2017 in Vienna); and irregular migration and regular pathways (October 2017 in Geneva). In a letter of 6 June 2017, President Thomson announced that with due regard to geographical balance and the situations in countries of origin, transit and destination, these remaining sessions will be moderated by ambassadorial-level representatives from: Egypt, Eritrea and Pakistan (fourth thematic session); Argentina, Australia, Austria, US and UK (fifth thematic session); and Belgium, Chile, Sri Lanka and Tunisia (sixth thematic session). [Procedural Note and Issue Brief for Third Informal Thematic Session] [UNGA President Letter on Moderators for Thematic Sessions 4, 5 and 6] [Global Compact Website]

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