The 2007 Belgian Chairmanship
Belgium took up the mantle of first GFMD Chair, following the call for the establishment of the Forum in 2006 at the UN-GA High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (HLD). The first GFMD Chairmanship built on the achievements of the HLD, the work of the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), and the report of the UN Secretary General on International Migration and Development of 18 May 2006 issued at the request of the General Assembly.
The GFMD established a new approach to migration by moving development to the centre of the migration debate, thus enabling a shift of the migration and development paradigm by promoting legal migration as an opportunity for development rather than as a threat. It showed that sharing responsibilities between developed and developing countries can make migration work better for development and vice versa; and that development can lead to migration by choice and not by necessity. Importantly, the GFMD established a platform for discussing experiences, innovations and good practices, and for identifying concrete ways to ensure the positive contribution of legal migration to development.
The themes of the meeting reflected the priority themes identified by UN Member States in a survey undertaken by the Belgian Government at the end of 2006. GFMD 2007 examined the impact of migration on social and economic development, in terms of human capital development and labor mobility on the one hand and the contribution of migrant resources on the other hand. Policy coherence between migration and development policies was the second main issue. Horizontal issues, such as human rights, gender and root causes of migration, were also discussed.
The first GFMD meeting also set in place the framing structure and mechanisms to achieve the goals of the GFMD. These ‘GFMD Operating Modalities’, endorsed at the Brussels GFMD Future of the Forum session, define the mandate and responsibilities of the GFMD Chair, Troika, Steering Group, Friends of the Forum, the international Taskforce to assist the Chair-in-Office, the GFMD Support Structure and the GFMD focal point network.
The Belgian Chair introduced the government-led Roundtable approach to facilitate discussion and cooperation in exploring good practices and their wider global applicability. The roundtable sessions were structured around the central theme of “Migration and socio-economic development”.
First Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
9-11 July 2007, Brussels, Belgium
The first meeting of the GFMD was hosted by the Kingdom of Belgium on 9-11 July 2007 in Brussels. The meeting attracted more than 800 government participants from 156 countries, as well as 200 representatives of civil society.
True to the principle of global inclusiveness, the Brussels meeting was made up of both two days of governmental dialogue, in plenary and roundtable sessions, and a civil society day. It invited the King Baudouin Foundation to organize a Civil Society Day prior to the government meeting, and a delegation of 10 civil society representatives presented the report of the Civil Society Days at the opening session of the Government Meeting.
In addition to the plenary sessions at the Summit, three roundtable sessions were organized, focusing more specifically on the themes of: a) Human Capital Development and Labour Mobility; b) Remittances and other Diaspora Resources, and c) Enhancing Policy and Institutional Coherence and Promoting Partnerships.