GFMD and the business sector

As a state-led Forum, the GFMD is primarily concerned with facilitating a dialogue among governments, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders. In particular, the business sector has been recognized by the GFMD as a vital partner of governments in harnessing the developmental potentials of migration and in addressing its attendant challenges.

But whereas the link between GFMD and civil society has been established since the GFMD inception in 2007, the GFMD has given consideration to the business sector as a distinct and separate stakeholder only after the GFMD assessment in 2012.

During the Swedish and Turkish GFMD Chairmanship, the foundation was laid and paved, respectively, to engage the business sector in a meaningful way in order to fill the empty seat at the GFMD table.  At the Istanbul Summit Meeting in 2015, UN Member States endorsed the establishment of a GFMD Business Mechanism. The objectives of this mechanism are:

  • Mobilising business federations from around the world to engage on migration issues
  • Raising the awareness of business federations on the work of the GFMD
  • Carrying out surveys and studies on best practices on business and migration issues
  • Organising a mid-year GFMD Thematic business meeting
  • Participating and actively contributing to the GFMD Summit meeting, common space and civil society days
  • Advocating for business and migration positions in order to promote sound migration policies that take into account economic perspectives

The International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Migration (WEF GFCM) serve as co-coordinators of the GFMD Business mechanism. Together they form the Business Advisory Group. A GFMD Business Secretariat is housed at the IOE, which started in February 2016 as a pilot project under the current Chairmanship of the Government of Bangladesh.

Since then, two major GFMD business events have taken place – in April 2016 a Business Mechanism Awareness Meeting was held on Enhancing the Public-Private Dialogue on Migration and Development, and in July 2016 the GFMD Business Mechanism Thematic Meeting took place. In addition, a GFMD Business Event on the role of business in the Global compact for orderly and responsible migration has taken place at the Ninth GFMD Summit Meeting in Dhaka. 


An overview of the milestones in the establishment of the GFMD Business mechanism can be seen below:

September 2011

Thematic Meeting on Markets for Migration and Development (M4MD): Trade and Labour Mobility Linkages – Prospects for Development


December 2011

GFMD 2011 Concluding Debate on Labour mobility and development: Engaging the Private Sector in Labour Market Planning


November 2012

Consolidated Assessment Paper presented by the Mauritian Chair and the Assessment Team, and endorsed at the Special

Session on the Future of the Forum held at the GFMD Summit Meeting in Port Louis

In this paper the recommendation was made to consider the private sector as a separate stakeholder group and to strengthen cooperation with them.


March 2014

Thematic Meeting on The Role of Business in International Migration: Engaging the private sector as partners for positive development outcomes


May 2015

GFMD Business Meeting:

Are businesses fit to compete in the global competition for skills?

Strengthening public-private dialogue to rethink labor migration policies and international skills mobility in the framework of the GFMD


October 2015

Business Lunch on Filling the Empty Seat of Business at the GFMD Tables: The future of GFMD – private sector engagement: Enhancing coherence of migration policy by listening to the voice of business


October 2015

Endorsement of the pilot Business Mechanism in the Future of the Forum


December 2016

Meeting between business, civil society and governments at the Ninth GFMD Summit Meeting


Read more:

Meeting between Business - Civil Society - Governments at Ninth GFMD Summit

Summary Report - Ninth GFMD Summit - Role of Business in achieving orderly and responsible migration, particularly in view of the Global Compact on Migration
Business Mechanism endorsed as a permanent feature of GFMD
GFMD 2016 Business Meeting - Concept Note
Agenda GFMD Business Mechanism meeting, 11 December Dhaka
Speakers, Biographies, GFMD Business Meeting
Business Mechanism’s Position Paper and Recommendations

Other related documents:

Introduction Paper GFMD Business Mechanism
Proposal on a future public-private sector interaction mechanism in the framework of the GFMD
GFMD Business Mechanism at a glance



If you would like to take part in the GFMD Business Mechanism, please contact Stephanie Winet: