UN Finalises First Ever Global Compact for Migration

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Abimbola Akosile

The text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been finalised. It was finalised recently at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA.

According to a release, this is the first time that Member States of the United Nations have come together to negotiate an agreement covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

The Global Compact is the culmination of thematic discussions and consultations among Member States and such actors as local officials, civil society representatives and migrants themselves; stocktaking and reflection on the views that were shared; and intergovernmental negotiations.

In total, the open, transparent and inclusive process lasting over 18 months led to unprecedented dialogue and learning by all participants on the realities of international migration, the release noted.

The agreement now forms a basis to improve governance and international understanding of migration, to address the challenges associated with migration today, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

Calling the day a “historic moment,” the President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, said the Global Compact’s potential was huge.

He added, “It can guide us from a reactive to a proactive mode. It can help us to draw out the benefits of migration, and mitigate the risks. It can provide a new platform for cooperation. And it can be a resource, in finding the right balance between the rights of people and the sovereignty of States. And, in December, it will formally become the first comprehensive framework on migration the world has ever seen.”

Also taking the floor was the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, who said, “Migration raises profound issues: around State sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.”

She added, “This compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism: our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration – however complicated and contentious they may be.”

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, Ms. Louise Arbour, added, “Human mobility will be with us, as it has always been. Its chaotic, dangerous exploitative aspects cannot be allowed to become a new normal. The implementation of the Compact will bring safety, order and economic progress to everyone’s benefit.”

Also at the meeting were the Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland to the United Nations, the co-facilitators who led the process and drafted the document.

The Permanent Representative of Mexico, H.E. Mr. Juan José Ignacio Gómez Camacho, said, “Migration was the only global issue that remained off the agenda at the UN. The Global Compact not only makes a practical difference in the lives of millions of migrants globally, but recognises that no country can address it alone. The reason why this process was successful is because we negotiated based on evidence and facts, not perceptions and prejudices.”

The Permanent Representative of Switzerland, H.E. Mr. Jürg Lauber, added, “This text puts migration firmly on the global agenda. It will be a point of reference for years to come and induce real change on the ground. I view the successful conclusion of our negotiation as a strong commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation.”
The agreement will be formally adopted by Member States at the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10 and 11 December 2018. Ms. Arbour will serve as the Secretary-General of the Conference.