In line with the September 2006 report from the UN-GA High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (HLD) and the GFMD Operating Modalities endorsed in Brussels in 2007, the GFMD is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations, to advance understanding and cooperation on the mutually reinforcing relationship between migration and development and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes.
The GFMD process brings together expertise from all regions and countries at all stages of economic, social and political development. Policy-makers from a wide range of government agencies participate, including from Ministries and Departments of Immigration, Development, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Gender Equality, Home Affairs, Justice, Interior, Integration and Nationals Abroad. Since its inception, the GFMD has operated on the basis of a unique participative working method, involving governments and policy makers from a varied background. UN and other international agencies, including those that make up the Global Migration Group , as well as academia and civil society organizations, as appropriate and desired by governments are involved in the process.
The Forum has also engaged civil society representatives by inviting them to hold parallel meetings and share their deliberations with states. The aim is to include the voices and expertise of academia, NGOs, trade unions, the private sector, migrants and diaspora representatives in the Forum. Since 2007, the government and civil society engagement has expanded and deepened incrementally each year -- starting with a single Civil Society Day in Brussels and advancing to two Civil Society Days thereafter. The first government-CS interface was held in Manila in 2008, expanded in Athens in 2009, and further developed in Puerto Vallarta in 2010 into a “common space”, bringing a big CS delegation to the opening plenary session of the governments to participate in direct dialogue with the latter on issues of common concern.