On 19 September 2016 Heads of State and Government came together for the first time ever at the global level within the UN General Assembly to discuss issues related to migration and refugees. This sent a powerful political message that migration and refugee matters had become major issues squarely in the international agenda. In adopting the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the 193 UN Member States recognized the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level.
Annex II of the New York Declaration set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations towards the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This process concluded on 10 December 2018 with the adoption of the Global Compact by the majority of UN Member States at an Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, followed closely by formal endorsement by the UN General Assembly on 19 December.
The Global Compact is the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It is a non-binding document that respects states’ sovereign right to determine who enters and stays in their territory and demonstrates commitment to international cooperation on migration. It presents a significant opportunity to improve the governance of migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development. The Global Compact is framed in a way consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which Member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. The Global Compact is designed to:
- support international cooperation on the governance of international migration;
- provide a comprehensive menu of options for States from which they can select policy options to address some of the most pressing issues around international migration; and
- give states the space and flexibility to pursue implementation based on their own migration realities and capacities.
The New York Declaration
For the first time on 19 September 2016 Heads of State and Government came together to discuss, at the global level within the UN General Assembly, issues related to migration and refugees. This sent an important political message that migration and refugee matters have become major issues in the international agenda. In adopting the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the 193 UN Member States recognized the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level and committed to:
- protect the safety, dignity and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status, and at all times;
- support countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants;
- integrate migrants – addressing their needs and capacities as well as those of receiving communities – in humanitarian and development assistance frameworks and planning;
- combat xenophobia, racism and discrimination towards all migrants;
- develop, through a state-led process, non-binding principles and voluntary guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; and
- strengthen global governance of migration, including by bringing IOM into the UN family and through the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration
Annex II of the New York Declaration set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations culminating in the planned adoption of the Global Compact for Migration at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018.
What are the aims of the Global Compact for Migration?
The Global Compact is framed consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which Member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration and its scope is defined in Annex II of the New York Declaration. It is intended to:
- address all aspects of international migration, including the humanitarian, developmental, human rights-related and other aspects;
- make an important contribution to global governance and enhance coordination on international migration;
- present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility;
- set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions;
- be guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; and
- be informed by the Declaration of the 2013 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.
The development of the Global Compact for Migration - an open, transparent and inclusive process
The Modalities Resolution for the intergovernmental negotiations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration outlined the key elements and timeline of the process. The Global Compact was developed through an open, transparent and inclusive process of consultations and negotiations and the effective participation of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, academic institutions, parliaments, diaspora communities, and migrant organizations in both the intergovernmental conference and its preparatory process.