Ecuador convenes final GFMD Preparatory Meetings for the Quito Summit

10-11 September, Geneva – Ambassador Santiago Chavez, representing the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2019 Chair Ecuador, presided the third and final preparatory meetings of the GFMD in 2019 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

In the lead up to the Twelfth GFMD Summit to be held in Quito on 19 to 22 November, the GFMD Chair informed the GFMD community about the activities that have taken place since the last meetings in May. He invited all participating Member States and GFMD Observers to attend the Quito GFMD Summit. 

In addition to the final preparatory meetings of the GFMD Troika, Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum, the government-led Roundtable (RT) Teams held their final consultations to finalize the content of their respective background papers, which will inform the debates in Quito, as well as the format of the actual RT sessions. 

GFMD Steering Group Meeting (September 10)

In accordance with its Provisional Agenda, the Steering Group on 10 September focused its discussions on the conceptual and strategic questions facing the GFMD, particularly on how to proceed with the next step forward in the implementation of the GFMD Ten-Year Review recommendations. The Steering Group adopted the approach proposed by the GFMD Working Group on Sustainable Development and International Migration, which is set out in the document, ‘GFMD Key Features and Supporting Recommendations’.  Another important issue addressed by the Steering Group was how to promote long-term financial sustainability to the Forum. In this regard, a proposal was submitted by the incoming GFMD 2020 Chair United Arab Emirates, which will be considered at the Future of the Forum session in Quito. 

GFMD Friends of the Forum Meeting (September 11) 

At the Friends of the Forum (FOF) meeting [agenda, PPT presentation] on 11 September, the Chair provided an update to the broader GFMD community on the rich program of activities that have taken place from May to August, and enjoined the FOF’s continuing support for the upcoming activities leading to the Twelfth GFMD Summit. He also presented a video to the FOF showcasing Quito’s rich architecture, history and place in the world today.  Mr. Oleg Chirita of ICMPD, reported on the outcomes of the EU-funded GFMD Regional Workshops, held in San Jose (24-25 July) and Kingston (14-15 August), co-organized by MIEUX and the Ecuadorian GFMD Chair. He extended an invitation to the other two workshops to be held in Quito (19-20 September) and Lima (16-17 October). Similarly, Mr. Mauro Martini of IFAD invited participants to a thematic event ‘The impact of remittances on rural transformation in Africa: from commitments to action,” to be co-organized by IFAD and the GFMD 2019 Chair on 11 October in Addis Ababa.

As announced by the Chair, the Quito Summit will feature innovations in the GFMD process, notably the organization of the activities of all GFMD mechanisms – civil society, business, and mayors -- in the same venue as the Government meeting, as well as expert facilitation techniques to promote more dynamic and outcome-oriented RT discussions. The registration for the Summit is now open, until October 25. The Chair will also launch the GFMD publication - a testimonial book on the GFMD history - and the Migration and Development Marketplace in Quito.
Heeding the recommendation in the GFMD Ten-Year Review report, the Ecuadorian Chair has partnered with UNITAR to develop a Migration and Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub. Mr. Alex Meija of UNITAR briefly presented the Knowledge Hub online platform that aims to provide online training for all GFMD stakeholders. 

Mr. Jonathan Prentice, Head of the Secretariat of the United Nations Network on Migration, shared information about recent developments concerning the UN Network. He reported that over the summer the Network had finalized its inaugural work plan and launched the Trust Fund (MPTF)  and that the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. 

Finally, the integrated GFMD mechanisms provided updates and presented their respective plans for the Quito Summit. Mr. Stephane Jaquemet, ICMC Director of Policy and representative of the GFMD Civil Society Process, thanked governments that have contributed to the process and provided information about the Civil Society Day on November 20. Ms. Stephanie Winet, IOE, and Ms. Julia Onslow-Cole, representing the Chair of the Business Mechanism, Mr. Austin Fragomen, highlighted the successful business events held to date and announced that the registration for the GFMD Meeting in Quito is now open via their website. Finally, Veronique Lamontagne, Senior Advisor to the Mayors Migration Council, representing the GFMD Mayors Mechanism, informed participants about the 6th Mayoral Forum and highlighted the active role that Mayors will be playing in Quito. The Mayoral Forum will be titled ‘From Large Movements to the Global Compacts: Cities as First Responders’, and its content will tie into the substantive themes of the GFMD Ecuadorian Chairmanship.

Government-led Roundtable Team Consultations (September 11)

To support the GFMD 2019 Chair Ecuador’s objective of having more innovative dialogues, some Government-led Roundtable Teams engaged in a more interactive discussion format, including by inviting participants to discuss the guiding questions in small groups before opening the floor for comments.

The Roundtable consultations saw in-depth discussion of the RT topics, received substantive comments and brainstormed on the modalities to best facilitate the RT sessions in Quito. The Roundtable Co-Chairs particularly called for final comments, ideas, and practices to be submitted by October 4 in order in order to enrich the Roundtable Background Papers. 

Pakistan, which hosts around 3 million refugees, shares their experience of working with the UNHCR to identify and register migrants and refugees,
in RT 1.1, on ‘Providing legal pathways from crisis to safety’.

‘Just like a family row, you don’t deal with it with just facts, you need to address emotions and feelings.’
IOM’s Head of Communications, Leonard Doyle, shares insights into ‘Shaping public narratives on migration’ in RT 2.1.

‘This, in my hand, is the modern world.’
Co-Chair Philippines highlights the importance of modern technology in ‘Communicating effectively with migrants’ in RT 2.2.
‘Migrants do not contribute only to their country of origin - through remittances, investment and knowledge transfer - but also to their country of destination, by transferring their know-how, which can diversify the activities of local populations.’
Co-Chair Indonesia reports on the outcomes of the GFMD Workshop organized in Kingston on 14-15 August in RT 3.2, ‘Harnessing migration for rural transformation and development’