Photo: UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on September 19, 2016. Credit: UN - Photo: 2017

UN Prepares for Global Compact on Migration with UNU Backing

By Santo D. Banerjee

NEW YORK (IDN)UN Member States will engage in broad consultations throughout 2017 to inform negotiations on a global compact on safe, regular, and orderly migration in 2018. In this, the Global Migration Group (GMG), headed by United Nations University (UNU) Rector and UN Under-Secretary-General Dr David M. Malone since January 1 will play a crucial role.

GMG, a forum of 21 agencies and entities from the United Nations system, promotes norms relating to international migration so as to work towards improved global governance of this issue. UNU formally joined the GMG in 2014, placing UNU’s expertise on migration at its service.

“For over ten years, the Global Migration Group has been a key international venue for promoting international instruments relating to migration, and encouraging fair and coherent approaches to migration”, a press release circulated by UNU on January 12 quoted Dr Malone say.

Prior to joining the United Nations University on March 1, 2013, Dr Malone served (2008–2013) as President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, a funding agency supporting policy-relevant research in the developing world. He had earlier served as Canada’s Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and as Ambassador to the United Nations (1990–1994).

The significance of the involvement of UNU is underlined by the fact that the UNU Migration Network of researchers offers diverse perspectives on the thematic priorities of current international debates. The network will convene a collaborative academic seminar series, co-organised with the UNU Office at the United Nations (UNU-ONY), in New York through the course of 2017.

In support of UN efforts to counter xenophobia, in 2018 the UNU Institute for Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) and the UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) will produce a report on xenophobia and the representation of migrants in the media.

“UNU looks forward to contributing to the GMG’s thought leadership and genuinely global perspective on migration in 2017, a decisive year in the course of policymaking on international migration.”

Rector Malone warns that the migration governance and policy landscape in which the GMG operates is “rapidly shifting”. The GMG must therefore provide “clear, meaningful, and joined-up input to Member States in the formulation of global policies on international migration”.

As Chair, says the press release, Rector Malone will ensure that the GMG collaborates closely with the UN Secretary-General’s representatives and with the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD), a comprehensive government-led process that focuses on the links between migration and development, and systematically with those Member States playing key leadership roles in the run-up to the negotiation of the global compact in 2018.

Germany and Morocco took over the co-chairmanship of the GFMD from January 1, 2017 until December 31, 2018. During this two-year period, the focus will be on the contribution of the GFMD to the UN’s Global Compact on Migration. The Compact is intended to constitute a strong signal of the international community for an enhanced global migration policy, to be adopted by the community of states in 2018.

The symbolic handover of the chair took place on December 12, 2016, during the annual GFMD conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2017, the main theme of the GFMD will be “Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”. This signals in particular the imperative to address and balance the interests between migrants and their countries of origin, transit states and destinations, within the framework of regular and orderly migration.

An official statement by GFMD said: “For the first time since the formation of the GFMD in 2007, two countries are co-chairing the forum, at a time when migration policy topics are high on the political agenda around most of the world.”

Germany and Morocco, by means of their exemplary cooperation, will highlight the positive aspects and the need for orderly, safe and regular migration. The symbolic bridging of the Mediterranean and the close link between Europe and Africa send a strong signal for the further development of global migration objectives, GFMD said. [IDN-InDepthNews – 15 January 2017]

Photo: UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on September 19, 2016. Credit: UN

IDN is flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

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