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 (GCM).
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the first, intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. It presents a significant opportunity to improve governance on migration, to address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development. The process to develop this Global Compact for Migration started in April 2017 and concluded in July 2018.
UN Member States adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) (A/CONF.231/3) at the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the GCM which took place on 10-11th December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The event brought together heads of states and governments, ministers, international organizations, civil society, and representatives of the private sector. The Conference consisted of two interactive dialogues and a plenary debate held over the two days. The dialogues discussed concrete ways of implementing the GCM and partnerships at all levels and between all relevant stakeholders. Their concept notes can be found here. During the plenary debate participants reaffirmed their commitment to the GCM. Many of the statements made during the plenary can be found here.
Endorsement in New York
On 19 December the UN General Assembly formally endorsed the GCM and decided that the agreement will also be known as the “Marrakesh Compact on Migration”. The Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly delivered remarks on the adoption of the compact. The UN Network on Migration released a statement following the formal endorsement of the Compact.
UN Network for Migration
Following a comprehensive consultation process, Secretary General Guterres decided to establish the UN Network on Migration to support the implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM. The Network will ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States and will replace the Global Migration Group. The secretariat of the UN Network on Migration is housed in IOM and the Director General of IOM, Mr. Antonio Vitorino, serves as the Network Coordinator.
The Network is currently comprised of 38 entities from within the United Nations system for whom migration is of relevance to their mandates. An Executive Committee of eight agencies provides strategic oversight and is the network's principal decision-making body. Its members are the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The Network’s actions are defined in its Terms of Reference and a work plan will be further developed in consultation with UN Network members. Please visit the UN Network on Migration webpage for further information.