Bringing the GCM to Life

December 2, 2018

By the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth

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The GCM in Action

It’s no secret that civil rights groups, NGOs, institutions, and governments have fallen under criticism time and time again for talking the talk but not quite walking the walk. As much as the agenda in Migration Week includes discussion and advocacy, there are ways to bring the implementation of the GCM to a measurable standard, agreed upon by its participants.

What does it mean?

In 2015, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) developed the Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF) to help define what a well-managed migration policy might look like at the national level. That same year, IOM’s member states welcomed the MiGOF, and the Migration Governance Indicators (MGI) was developed shortly after to put the MiGOF into action.  

The MGI is a tool that can be used to assess how the policies are working, giving governments the insight they need to develop their migration governance.  It’s not meant to rank member states comparatively, but to provide a framework to see whether migration policies are comprehensive and to address any legal and procedural gaps. The MGI helps to define what we are working towards with the GCM, towards improved governance over migration policies within and between governments.  

How do we get there?

There are six dimensions of migration governance included in the MiGOF and MGI, the implementation in four phases.

  • Migrant Rights

    • Do migrants have access to the basic social services like health, education, and security?

    • Are rights for family reunification, work, and residency guaranteed?

  • Government Approach

    • Are there national migration strategies in line with development?

    • Is there transparency and coherence regarding the management of migration strategies and policies?

    • How is migration data collected and used by the government?

  • Partnerships

    • Are there efforts being made to work with other states and related non-governmental actors like civil rights groups?

  • Well-being of Migrants

    • Are there policies that recognize migrant qualifications, regulate student migration, and engage with diaspora?

    • What does the socio-economic data of migrant populations tell us about their well-being?

  • Crises and Mobility

    • Are countries prepared in the event of natural disasters and conflict to provide equal access to humanitarian services to both nationals and migrants?

  • Safe, Orderly, and Dignified Migration

    • What sort of process is in place for border control and enforcement, including admission criteria for migrants?

    • Are governments prepared should there be an unexpected influx of migrants?

    • How effectively are governments working against human trafficking, smuggling of migrants?

    • Are there incentives and programs to help reintegrate returning citizens?

The MGI process is outlined in four phases, which begins with the launching of the MGI, ensuring that governments understand the dimensions outlined above and are committed to it. Once data is collected through the indicators, an analysis is presented to stakeholders and actors, and the inter-ministerial consultations take place to address the gaps. After the snapshots of the migration governance indicators are finalized, they are published for access to all.  In this implementation, follow-up, and review process, gaps and targets are identified, comprehensive strategies are developed, and progress can be monitored systematically.

Without Borders

Cooperation isn’t just about getting along with everyone. In cooperation, the standards are raised, dialogue increases, and challenges can be overcome more effectively. In an interview, Louise Arbour, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, said that “the stated intention of several countries (including Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria) to pull out of the GCM has seriously affected the spirit of multilateralism.” According to news reports, Slovakia’s Prime Minister became the latest national leader to withdraw from the GCM on November 25.

Ms. Arbour has also said that governmental policies need to be data-driven, connecting with reality:

“There are many, many countries in the world today that will need to import a part of their workforce. The demographics are suggesting that if they want to maintain their current economic standards or even grow their economy, they're going to have to receive well-trained foreigners to meet the labour market demands in their countries. To foster a culture of exclusion in such a case, is entirely counterproductive.”

The GCM will be formally adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference on Migration in Marrakech on December 10 - 11. There is anticipation for member states to express their intentions in implementing the parts of the GCM that are particularly significant to them, share their commitments, innovative ideas, and forge more partnerships not just between governments, but within private sectors, civil rights groups, and other relevant actors as well.

The conference will also see the launch of the Migration Network, by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The Migration Network, coordinated by IOM, will oversee the implementation of the GCM, and will involve all UN agencies that include a migration aspect as part of their mandate.

It’s important to recognize that this is a historic moment for international cooperation, to ensure that the kind of world we live in is built on constructive dialogue that creates a positive impact.  

Engage with these questions at the Youth Forum happening on December 8 - 9.

The Youth Forum will take place during Migration Week in December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco.

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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.