December 4, 2018
By the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth
A Global Compact
What does a global compact look like?
There are many smart, intelligent, and compassionate individuals working diligently in their fields, choosing to create a positive impact in the world. However, our strength is not in the strength of extraordinary individuals. It’s in the commitment and investment into the shared imagination of the collective, where process and outcome go hand-in-hand in fostering a future where no one is labelled as an illegal person.
A compact is a promise.
It’s a promise shared by the world to create safe, regular, and orderly ways for people to seek a better life. Not just as citizens of the countries that host us, but as citizens of our globalized community, the adoption and implementation of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) is worth investing in towards sustainable development.
What can you do?
There are so many actors and stakeholders in bringing about the changes needed to make migration safe, regular, and orderly for all. Various plans, frameworks, phases, monitoring, and review has been set in motion towards this shared goal.
Becoming more familiar with the kinds of policies in place for migrants is a start. There is yet another matter to consider. Digital connectivity and its influence on migration. Every aspect of our lives are now expressed in data, accumulating into quantifiable and measurable information that can be used to track statistics and trends.
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) outlines the importance of technology in relation to migration in their briefing. Migrants with skills in the technology & information sector contribute in significant ways to innovation and research. Migrants and diaspora groups also are important channels in transferring technology from host countries back to countries of origin, through direct knowledge, remittances sent back home, and investments in enterprise development and research institutions.
In addition, the digital connectivity offered through mobile phones allow access to information pre-migration, during journeys, and in destination countries. It facilitates remittances sent back home and keeps families connected over long distances.
Not just for migrants, but in the management of migrants by governments, technology plays a key role, especially in processing and screening people across the border. Despite concern over how this could affect migrant rights, there is potential in increasing safety, regulation, and order in the migration process through technology and strategized collection of data.
As recently as 2010, African refugees in Australia have reported that postal services were the primary means of contacting family back home. Mobile phones have changed this by enabling lower cost and faster remittances to provide financial support for families, continued emotional support from families through messaging and video calls, and access to news from the countries of origin. This results in greater potential for migrants to be able to participate in the politics of both the country of origin and in the diaspora of their host country.
The fact that families and friends can stay linked through social media have been met with both positive and negative criticism. On the one hand, it facilitates assistance and emotional support, but on the other hand, it can be an obstacle for migrants to integrate into their host countries.
A Louder Voice
Today’s youth have been characterized as digital natives, industry disruptors, and social justice warriors. This pays credit to how youth today are engaging their communities and expanding their cause through social media to make a difference in the world.
It’s the privilege we hold as youth to seek out gaps and envision how to improve our society because youth reflect what previous generations have established. Generations are always reacting to the generations before it have accomplished to be the status quo, and challenge it. The global-minded, entrepreneurial, socially engaged youth of today’s generation has a tool that past generations have never had—technology, as a digital native, the ability to reach like-minded individuals and cooperate on a global scale.
Migration issues are at the focal point of creating a sustainable, brighter future. Cultivating a standard of shared responsibility over governance in the mobility of people is integral in reaching the sustainable development goals of 2030. It rests on the commitment to the promise and the participation of individuals, to be true to its name—the Global Compact for Migration.
The Youth Forum will take place during Migration Week in December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The aim of the Youth Forum is to build capacity and ensure that young people and their communities are actively informed and prepared to take part in the implementation of the GCM from grassroots to intergovernmental levels. It will be a youth-led event, open to all those who wish to participate. It will present a unique engagement opportunity for youth and young migrants. The program will draw on discussions, positions, and actions from different regions through the entire GCM process, seeking to build capacity for policy implementation and a sense of public collective ownership of the GCM success.
The outcome of the forum and the participation of youth in the GCM consultations and negotiations as well as the plan for implementation and follow-up will be presented within intergovernmental and public platforms, including the GCM follow-up and review. This review process will be integral in gauging the success of the implementation, an opportunity to partake in a collective agenda towards a brighter future for not just today’s youth, but the billions more to come.