The History of GFMD

The idea of creating a global consultative forum on migration and development was proposed by Mr. Kofi Annan, former UN-Secretary-General, during the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) at the 2006 UN General Assembly. Over 140 Member States discussed the relevance of migration for development and recognized the need for a dedicated platform at global level, as no single forum existed at the time to bring together policy makers to discuss the contribution of migration to development.

Reflecting an acknowledgement at the international level of the limits of a strictly national approach to migration, widespread support emerged to establish an informal, non-binding, state-led dialogue to promote the exchange of practices and foster cooperation among governments. With time, the Forum has become increasingly open as a dialogue space engaging a multiplicity of stakeholders including civil society, business, mayors, youth and academia.


The Contribution of Migration to Sustainable Development

Having hosted its first Summit under the leadership of Belgium in 2007, the GFMD currently stands as the largest State-led dialogue on migration at global level, bringing together expertise from all regions of the world to help articulate the key role of migration for sustainable development as a shared agenda at global level.

A Dynamic Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue

Since its inception, the GFMD has operated on the basis of a unique and inclusive model of engagement, involving different governments agencies ranging from ministries of foreign affairs, interior, labour, social affairs, and others. 

Over time, the GFMD has gradually engaged a multiplicity of UN agencies, international organizations, State and non-State actors. The latter operate through self-organized stakeholder constituencies: the GFMD Civil Society Mechanism, GFMD Business Mechanism, GFMD Mayors Mechanism and Migration Youth and Children Platform.

Fostering International Cooperation

The GFMD serves not only as a space to discuss topics at the heart of contemporary debates on migration, but also as an incubator of innovative partnerships.

The Forum Objectives

  • Provide a platform for dialogue on the contribution of migration to development
  • Facilitate the sharing of knowledge and practices among countries and stakeholders
  • Promote international cooperation and partnerships

Key achievements

  • Over the years, the GFMD has contributed to lift migration onto the international agenda, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and forge global consensus on a set of migration-related policy objectives and targets, many of which have been adopted by the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM).
  • The Forum continues to be a space to exchange knowledge and perspectives in cutting-edge areas at the center of attention of Member States, based on a program that is flexibly developed by governments in consultation with a variety of stakeholders.
  • The Forum helps build shared perspectives, circulate new practices and forge innovative partnerships among Member States, civil society, private sector, cities, youth and International Organizations
  • The GFMD has been an ‘incubator’ ante litteram for migration initiatives, including some historical programs (e.g., IOM Migrants in Countries in Crisis initiative - MICIC).
  • The informality of the process offers opportunities for innovating the modalities of the international dialogue on migration. The GFMD strives to offer new and engaging formats to promote the circulation of quality research, data, programs, inspirational ideas for solutions and partnerships.