For the first time ever, United Nations member states, except the U.S., have agreed on a deal to better manage international migration, address its challenges, strengthen migrant rights and contribute to sustainable development.
Known as the Global Compact for Migration, the agreement will be formally adopted by world leaders in Morocco in December.
After more than a year of discussions and consultations among member states, local officials, civil society and migrants themselves, the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalised yesterday.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement, calling it a significant achievement.
He said it reflected the shared understanding by governments that cross-border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all. It also recognises that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection.
This comprehensive framework comprises a range of objectives, actions and avenues for implementation, follow-up and review… all aimed at facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration, while reducing the incidence and impact of irregular migration, the U.N. chief said in a statement.
Calling it a historic moment, U.N. General Assembly president Miroslav Lajcak, highlighted the agreement’s enormous potential.
It does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it. It is not legally binding. It does not dictate. It will not impose. And it fully respects the sovereignty of States, he said.
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, Mr. Lajcak added.
He said in December the deal will formally become the first comprehensive framework on migration the world has ever seen.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed drew attention to the profound issues that migration raises, such as sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.
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, she said.
U.N. Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour said as human mobility will always be with us, 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, she said.
Ms. Arbour will serve as the Secretary-General of the intergovernmental conference where the agreement will be formally adopted.
This is not the end of the undertaking but the beginning of a new historic effort to shape the global agenda on migration for decades to come, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the U.N. migration agency, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said on July 13.
Throughout the process, U.N. Member States have clearly recognised that migration is always about people. The migrant-centred approach adopted with the commendable guidance of co-facilitators from Mexico and Switzerland, and of the Special Representative to the Secretary General on International Migration, is unprecedented, the IOM chief added.
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