GFMD Perspective on Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality

New York – Under the Chairmanship of Ecuador, the GFMD once again proved its strong convening power by gathering over 100 representatives of governments, United Nations organizations, the civil society and local and regional authorities in a side event, “GFMD Perspective on Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality” at the UN Plaza on 11 July. 
Held on the margins of the 2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) – the annual review mechanism to monitor the progress of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SD) – the side event’s main objective was to present the GFMD Recommendations to the 2019 HLPF. This report, prepared under the lead of the GFMD Working Group on Sustainable Development and International Migration, marks the third time that the ECOSOC has invited the GFMD to submit a thematic input to the yearly HLPF since 2016. It examines the key policy issues and practices that the GFMD has covered through the years, which speak to the 2019 HLPF theme and focused Goals – i.e., 4 (education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (global partnerships). Of particular relevance to empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality is the central migration-related SDG target 10.7 on facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people.
In opening the event, H.E. Mr. Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN, emphasized that the GFMD has helped to shape the global debate and cooperation on migration and development, and that the Ecuadorian GFMD Chairmanship is fully committed towards advancing the implementation of multilateral commitments, especially the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). 
In the subsequent debate, the panelists shared their perspectives and concrete initiatives on how to ensure that migration matters and that migrants are included in the achievement of the SDGs. Here are the main takeaways of the panel discussion: 
  • The link between migration and development is complex. Well-managed migration can reduce inequality between countries and provide an opportunity to become more equal, diverse and inclusive. Achieving migration-focused SDGs requires cooperation at the global, regional, national and local levels. The GFMD is a key catalyst in promoting multi-stakeholder partnerships. (Mr. Gottfried von Gemmingen-Guttenberg, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)
  • IOM has a convening role to ensure that UN activities maximize the development potential of migration, including UN system wide support to member states (MS) and stakeholders’ inclusion in the implementation, follow-up and review of GCM. To this end, IOM has published a 2030 Agenda Guide for Practitioners and is working with UNDP on developing Guidelines for the UN Country Teams on how to mainstream migration into UN sustainable development cooperation frameworks. IOM’s migration governance framework and indicators also help member states implement good policies benefitting all. (Ms. Renate Held, International Organization for Migration)
  • A multi-stakeholder approach is needed to achieve migration-related SDGs. The UNDP works in 40 countries in partnership with other agencies on issues related to migration and displacement. In the spirit of leaving no one behind and accelerating other SDGs, more can be done in a targeted manner to address the drivers of displacement and make migrants agents of sustainable development. (Ms. Asako Okai, United Nations Development Programme)
  • While migration has always been at the core of its mandate, the ILO has deepened its scope of work in labour and migration through the ILO Centennial Declaration at the International Labour Conference. It also supports member states in their efforts to achieve SDG 8 on decent work. ILO sees the need for concrete multi-stakeholder partnerships in the area of data and statistics to gather information on migration and in the establishment of guidance tools to promote dialogue and tackle inequalities. (Mr. Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, International Labour Organization)
  • Local and regional authorities play a crucial role in migration through integration, providing basic services and guaranteeing human rights. The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) promotes the role of local governments in addressing migration, particularly in monitoring and implementing the GCM. This has also been taken into account at the GFMD level, where the Mayors Mechanism gives a voice to the cities. The federal government of Canada recognized the importance of its coordination role in welcoming migrants and worked to bridge cities and NGOs to set policies and guidelines to achieve successful integration. (Mr. Berry Vrbanovic, Mayor of Kitchener)
During the open discussion, interveners commended the GFMD for its role in connecting member states in strengthening global migration governance and in advancing a whole-of-society approach to both the GCM and the 2030 Agenda.  Vietnam expressed thanks to the GFMD Working Group for preparing the GFMD report to the HLPF, a useful reference for all countries, but especially for Vietnam which is currently developing the national plan to implement the GCM and realizing the SDGs that are interlinked with migration.  For its part, the GFMD Civil Society mechanism praised the efforts of the GFMD 2019 Chair for expanding the GFMD common space, and urged for a Youth Co-Chairmanship of the Civil Society Days in Quito. There was a suggestion to also include the parliamentarians in future GFMD debates. 
The moderator closed with a key question:  What is the future of the GFMD and what role does it play in migration and development?  In reply, Mr. Andrés Montalvo, Coordinator of the Ecuadorian GFMD Task Force anticipated that the upcoming Quito Summit will have interactive, evidence-based and action-oriented dialogues between and among governments, international organizations, civil society, businesses and mayors. The GFMD will thus continue to serve as an informal and safe place for policy discussions of complex migration challenges and partnerships towards the implementation of global commitments and improved governance of migration.