GFMD and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General

GFMD and the SRSG

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration provides the link between the UN and the GFMD. The SRSG attends the preparatory meetings of the GFMD as well as the annual Forum meetings, provides advisory services to the Chair-in-Office and helps improve coordination between the GFMD and the UN.

Mrs. Louise Arbour, current SRSG (from March 2017)

Mrs. Louise Arbour is the current SRSG, appointed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Mrs. Arbour is known, inter alia, for her achievements as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, a position that she held from 2004 to 2008. She also served as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and formerly sat as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, on the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Ontario. Furthermore, she has served as an ad hoc judge in the International Court of Justice and as a member of the Advisory Panel to the Minister of Defence on Canada’s Defence Policy Review.

As the new SRSG for International Migration, Ms. Arbour will coordinate the work of the UN system to implement the New York Declaration and lead global efforts between and among Member States and non-state actors, in developing a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. 

Sir Peter Sutherland, former SRSG (2006 to 2016)

From 2006 to early 2017, the GFMD benefitted from the dedicated support of Mr. Peter Sutherland as the SRSG, who was appointed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006. In this function, Mr. Sutherland was responsible for promoting the establishment and sustainability of the GFMD process. In acknowledgement of the tremendous role that Mr. Sutherland played as the GFMD process evolved over time, Member States and crucial partners consider him as ‘the father of the Global Forum’.

Mr. Sutherland helped galvanize support from Member States, promoted greater cooperation between and among the Global Migration Group member agencies, and encouraged the engagement of the GFMD with other vital stakeholders, notably the civil society and the private sector. He championed the cause of advancing the human rights of migrants, particularly those in vulnerable and crisis situations, He strongly advocated for the sharing of responsibility between and among Member States and international organizations in solving the humanitarian crises involving migrants and refugees. He rallied the international community to ensure the inclusion of migration-related targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to improve the overall governance of international migration. 

In 2016, the SRSG came out with the “Sutherland Report” on international migration. This publication, now available in all UN languages, caps his remarkable achievements and sterling leadership on international migration.  It is also considered by Member States, civil society and business sector as a key reference for the elaboration of the Global Compact on Migration, and a beacon for the governance of international migration.