Tuesday, 06 February 2018

GENEVA - The second year of the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairmanship of Germany and Morocco got off the ground by the convening of GFMD preparatory meetings and RT Consultations on February 5 and 6 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The meetings of the Troika, Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum on February 5 coincided with the release of The “Zero Draft” of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). As foreseen, the GCM process was at the center of the discussions of these GFMD bodies.


5 February 2018 – Preparatory Meetings of the GFMD Troika, Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum

The first day comprised of the Troika, Steering Group and Friends of the Forum Preparatory Meetings co-led by Mr. El Habib Nadir, GFMD Moroccan Co-Chair, and Ambassador Götz Schmidt-Bremme, German Co-Chair.

The meetings focused on the launch of the first draft of the concept note, which was positively welcomed by both the Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum. The second year of the GFMD 2017- 2018 Co-Chairmanship will be organized under the overarching theme, “Honouring international commitments to unlock the potential of migrants for development,” picking up from the discussions held at the Tenth Summit in Berlin in 2017.

As the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs explained, the GFMD in 2018 will devote efforts to continue its reflections on the GFMD’s contribution to the GCM and on ways to turn the Forum’s commitments into specific actions. To this end, the GFMD 2018 draft concept paper is aligned with the GCM process and challenges governments and other vital partners to move from words to deeds while promoting exchanges of good practices and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Mr. Jonathan Prentice, Chief-of-Staff of the Office of the SRSG, delivered a message to the Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum on behalf of Mrs. Louise Arbour. Focusing his intervention on the UN Secretary General’s report on International Migration, he described it as an effort to shift the narrative on migration to better reflect current reality. He reiterated the importance to see the Global Compact as an agreement to cooperate and honor international commitments related to migration. He also expressed the hope that this will be a centerpiece of the GFMD discussions moving forward.

The GFMD Co-Chairs addressed at the Fifth Meeting of the Friends of the Forum their words and tribute to the former SRSG, Sir Peter Sutherland, who departed just one month earlier. They also invited Mr. François Fouinat – Mr. Sutherland’s most senior advisor – to provide a presentation on the former SRSG’s aspirations for the GFMD and the global governance of migration. The latter encouraged the GFMD to honor Mr. Sutherland by prolonging his crucial work and keeping his ideas alive.

The Friends of the Forum meeting also covered the respective work priorities, roadmap and provisional budgets of other GFMD stakeholders, namely: the Global Migration Group, represented by Ms. Jill Helke; the coordinating office of the GFMD Civil Society, who was represented by the newly appointed Mr. Stephane Jaquemet; and the GFMD Business Mechanism, in a joint presentation of Ms. Stéphanie Winet and Mr. Menno Bart, Adecco Group. A brief pledging session preceded the conclusion of the Fifth Friends of the Forum meeting.


6 February 2018 – First Government-led GFMD 2018 Roundtable Team Consultations

Six thematic Roundtable consultations were held on Tuesday, February 6, around the GFMD Co-Chair’s thematic priorities for 2018. Around 60 governments and ___ organizations took part in the first RT consultations round. Led by RT Coordinators from the German and Moroccan GFMD Task Forces, the consultations began with a review of the proposed Terms of Reference (TORs) for government-led RT teams in 2018. The TORs explain the expected deliverables of each RT session team, and the different RT roles (co-chair, moderator, rapporteur, and speaker/panelist).

Snapshot of the outcomes of first RT consultations:

  • Theme 1: From vulnerability to resilience: recognizing migrants as agents of development.


  • Roundtable 1.1”Harnessing migrants’ existing capitals to build resilience.” Having volunteered to co-chair the session, UAE highlighted the need to move the debate from focusing on migrant’s vulnerabilities to the strengths that they can bring. RT Members were urged to bring forward good examples, keeping in mind that every region faces different challenges.


  • Roundtable 1.2 “Migrants’ engagement with public services: from basic access to co-production.”  Philippines stepped forward as RT Rapporteur. The discussion clarified the term “co-production” as the delivery of public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services and their communities. RT members underlined the need to involve migrants in the provision of services and to include diaspora communities in the debate.


  • Theme 2: Regional mobility to promote transferable learning and policy coherence.


  • Roundtable 2.1 “South-South mobility: trends, patterns and transferable learning.” Ecuador and Eritrea volunteered to co-chair the session, with Switzerland acting as Rapporteur. The discussion underscored the importance of South-South mobility, in an attempt to move away from the notion that migration is always South-North. RT Members pointed out the lack of precision on the drivers of South-South mobility, the need for political guidelines, harmonization of policies and regional discussions.


  • Roundtable 2.2 “Regional mobility and policy coherence to support development.” Philippines readily offered to co-chair the session and lead the RT discussion. (Zambia and Egypt later offered to co-chair the session). Indonesia agreed to be the session rapporteur. The RT team agreed to focus the discussion on how to enhance policy coherence and harmonize legal frameworks for regional mobility in order to foster development.


  • Theme 3: Good migration governance for sustainable development


  • Roundtable 3.1 “Aligning governance with contemporary drivers of migration.” Bangladesh volunteered as Co-Chair and presided over the RT consultation. The need to provide emergency assistance in various ways to support long term development was underlined. RT Members suggested to look at the impact of climate change and economic factors as drivers of forced migration.


  • Roundtable 3.2 “Beyond remittances: enhancing the transnational civic engagement of diaspora and migrants.” The team agreed to bring out other elements of diaspora engagement than remittances, which would include entrepreneurship, capital investment, philanthropy, homeland consumption and knowledge transfer. RT Team members also highlighted the need to facilitate remittance transfers, address limitations in the banking system, and empower diaspora.


Noteworthy was the fact that almost all RT Teams mentioned the Zero Draft and saw the need to link the session with the GCM, and to come up with concrete recommendations that can be fed into the negotiations. Earlier, in a communication sent to all Friends of the Forum, the GFMD Co-Chairs welcomed the release of the Zero Draft which prominently mentions the GFMD. Beyond the recognition of the GFMD’s role in the GCM preparatory process, the Zero Draft explicitly invites GFMD to play a significant role in the implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM.

(See latest overview of RT Government Teams here.)