Africa welcomes first ever Global Compact for Migration

13 July New York/Addis Ababa (ECA) - Following 18 months of intense consultations and thematic discussions, Member States of the United Nations today finalized the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in what was hailed as a “historic moment that has been equated to a welcome return to multilateralism”. The text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, constitutes 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.

Welcoming the unprecedented finalization of the text, the representative of the Comoros, who spoke on behalf of the Africa Group noted that several proposals, based on the Common African Position were adopted. The Common Position, he said, “aims at building a new global migration governance architecture that allows for reacting decisively, managing collectively and responsibly migratory issues in a holistic manner and based on the principle of international solidarity.”

“Africa is a place where most of its States are countries of origin, transit and destination at the same time, thus its narrative on migration issues is one of balance, open mindedness and comprehensiveness. We have several success stories in the continent and through intra-regional cooperation, as well as robust cooperation frameworks with regional and cross regional partners,” he said.

While not all the proposals were included, He recognized the efforts to strike a delicate balance between divergent views. “The African Group understands that this process is a multilateral negotiation, where compromise is instrumental and necessary,” he said, and added: “The African Group further believes that the GCM is only a step towards building a stronger global architecture on migration governance. Africa will continue to pursue and promote its priorities and concerns at the bilateral, regional and international fora including through the processes dedicated to implementation, follow up and review.”

The President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, said the Global Compact’s potential was huge. “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.”

Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed 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.”

Ms. Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, 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.”

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, this 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 agreement 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.

Also at today’s 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, Juan José Ignacio Gómez Camacho, weighed in stating: “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 recognizes 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.”

For his part, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland, Jürg Lauber said, “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.

Source: UNDESA with additional texts by ECA.