Second Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
27-30 October 2008, Manila, Philippines


The second GFMD meeting, hosted by the Philippines in Manila on 27-30 October, 2008, marked another major achievement in the international debate on migration and development. It was the first truly global meeting on migration and development in the Philippines and for Asia. It attracted the participation of more than 1130 delegates, representing some 163 UN Member States and Observers, 33 international organizations and 220 Civil Society participants. Its overarching theme was “Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development”.

The GFMD Roundtable discussions were prepared by voluntary teams of governments and other experts with the assistance of the Roundtable Coordinators.

Throughout the preparatory process, the Chair consulted closely with Mr. Peter Sutherland, United Nations Secretary-General Special Representative for International Migration and Development. Mr. Sutherland participated in all Friends of the Forum meetings and chaired the Special Session on the Future of the GFMD at the Manila meeting on October 30.

The Civil Society Days attracted the participation of 220 delegates from non-state organizations and bodies. The two-day meeting was organized by the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI), which had 13 years extensive and direct experience in development-related projects involving Filipino migrants and diaspora.

GFMD 2008 Logo

In line with the September 2006 HLD and the GFMD Operating Modalities endorsed in Brussels, the Manila GFMD aimed to advance understanding and cooperation on the mutually reinforcing relationship between migration and development and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes.

As in Brussels, the Manila GFMD brought together countries of migrant origin, transit and destination and countries at all stages of economic, social and political development, represented by policy makers from a wide range of government agencies, including Ministries and Departments of Immigration, Development, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Gender Equality, Home Affairs, Justice, Interior, Integration, and Nationals Abroad. The meeting also drew on the knowledge and experience of international agencies, particularly the members of the Global Migration Group (UNCTAD, ILO, IOM, World Bank, UNHCHR, UNHCR and others), regional organizations and bodies, academia, NGOs, trade unions, the private sector, and above all the migrants.

The theme “Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development” was intended to highlight the human face of migration in a debate that often only addressed the rational economic implications of migration for development.

These two priorities formed the basis of the Roundtable 1 discussions on protecting and empowering migrants, and the Roundtable 2 discussions about policy frameworks that could foster such protection and empowerment by better balancing facilitation and control of migration. As in Brussels, the third thematic Roundtable on policy and institutional coherence and partnerships focused on the data, research methodologies and policy and institutional coherence needed to provide the underpinnings of Roundtables 1 and 2.

Following key conclusions were drawn from the second meeting and its preparatory process:

Delegates agreed that by the time of the Manila meeting, the GFMD had energized a change of perception about migration and development and sparked a broader recognition of the benefits migration can bring.

Governments embarking on comprehensive migration governance adjustments were more ready to consider both the needs of origin and host countries in their policy planning.

Governments also revealed that they participated in the Forum in a spirit of “shared responsibility and partnership”.

Recommendations were made for the establishment of two ad hoc working groups on migrant rights and on data, research and policy coherence, a number of studies, compendia of good practice, pilot programs, policy assessments

Establishment of a light Support Unit to provide administrative support to future GFMD Chairs.

In the Roundtable session on the Future of the Forum, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Migration and Development confirmed that the GFMD had established itself as a most useful tool to promote effective dialogue and exchange between government policy-makers in a constructive atmosphere. It also had a real impact at the national level by generating greater policy coherence, including through the GFMD national focal points.

Many of the recommendations for immediate concrete actions made in Manila were realized in 2009 and directly helped to enrich the Athens discussions (see Athens GFMD 2009).