Global Compact on Migration will require partnership and accountability - says the Africa Group

New York, 13 July 2018 (ECA) - The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe has welcomed the finalization of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which concluded in New York on 13 June 2018.  The three-phase, state-driven process started with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants started on 19 September 2016.  She lauded the Group of Negotiators for their “full involvement contributions - right from the consultative to intergovernmental negotiation phases.”

“The Common African Position (CAP) and Africa Regional Report were based on the consultations by ECA and our partners, the AUC and IOM and it provided guidance to the African Group in New York during the negotiations,” she said.

Ms. Songwe acknowledged the Africa Group for the “significant contributions and proposals” that spoke to the heart of the migration debate. These include: Protection gap and vulnerabilities related to disasters and climate-induced migration, which was included as a separate objective as proposed by the Africa Group. Other contributions included: the distinction between refugees and migrants, addressing the root causes of migration movements, particularly irregular migration by further strengthening development-oriented solutions and further strengthening international cooperation, the consistency between the Compact with existing international law, particularly existing international human rights law of migrants and their families and fundamental freedoms and rights at work of migrant workers.

Most importantly the Africa Group requested that the Compact should be consistent with existing international law, particularly existing international human rights law of migrants and their families and fundamental freedoms and rights at work of migrant workers.

The Africa Group, however noted that there issues that were left out of the Compact, such as the “absolute prohibition of migration holding camps and shelters and disembarkation platforms, processing centres or other de facto migration detention centres.  The Group felt that the non-binding nature of the Compact does not need to be explicitly stated in the document as this leads to the perception for inviting non-compliance.

The statement of the Africa Group delivered by the Comoros representative, Fatima Alfeine appreciated the open and constructive spirit of the negotiations, which maintained “A 360 degrees vision of Migration with the whole of government and whole of society approach, which constitute the first internationally agreed normative and regulatory framework in the field of migration governance”.

The Africa Group recognized the Compact as an important step in the right direction in building stronger global architecture on migration governance. In this regard, the Africa Group committed to pursue and promote the GCM priorities and concerns at bilateral, regional and international for a and underscored the unequivocal commitment to “joining the consensus on the final text of the GCM”. The Group also committed to having the GCM form the reference to future work on migration in Africa.

With regard to the implementation and the follow-up of the GCM, the Africa Group underlined the need of “building effective partnerships governed by accountability, leading not only to a proactive migration governance architecture but also through means of implementation to be timely and adequately provided”. The Group also stressed that the modalities of the Review Forum should be finalized.

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.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826