The GFMD does not form part of the United Nations system, but it is open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations. It was initiated by Belgium in 2007 as a result of the 2006 UN High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on International Migration. On 3-4 October 2013, the UN convened the second HLD on International Migration which discussed, inter alia, the achievements of the GFMD.

The UN Secretary General has participated in most of the GFMD meetings since 2007. Additionally, the Reports of Proceedings of the annual GFMD meetings are submitted to the UN through the Secretary General.

UN Secretary General
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks at the 7th meeting of the GFMD in Stockholm on 14 May 2014. From left: H.E. Ban Ki-moon, H.E. Eva Åkerman Börje, H.E. Peter Sutherland, H.E. Tobias Billström, H.R.H Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, H.E. Fredrik Reinfeldt. Photo: GFMD / Mikael Sjöberg

In his report to the UN General Assembly at its 65th session (A/65/203) in August 2010 , the Secretary General recognized that "one of the main achievements of the Global Forum has been its focus on the contributions of international migration to development and on building better understanding and collaboration among countries linked by migration; that the meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development have successfully engaged both Governments and the multilateral system in realizing the benefits of international migration for development and in collaborating to address its potentially detrimental effects."

The Secretary-General reaffirmed this sentiment in his report to the UN General Assembly at its 67th session (A/67/254) in August 2012. He cited the 10th Coordination Meeting on International Migration, which fostered interaction between the UN and the GFMD. He also revealed the key role the Global Migration Group (GMG) plays in implementing GFMD outcomes, with 759 follow-up actions taken on the 199 recommendations made during GFMD roundtables from 2007 through 2011. He further enjoined Member States to be involved in preparatory activities leading up to the 2013 UN High-Level Dialogue.

The GFMD’s strong link with the United Nations is maintained through the Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration and Development and the inter-agency Global Migration Group.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration and Development actively participates not only in the annual meetings of the GFMD, but also throughout the preparatory process. He provides political and strategic advice to the GFMD Chair-in-Office and helps improve the coordination between the GFMD and the UN.

The Global Migration Group (GMG) has been a partner – collectively or through the individual efforts of its member agencies – in providing expert support in the preparation of GFMD meetings and for the implementation of GFMD outcomes and recommendations. All GFMD meetings have benefitted from the papers and comments submitted by a number of GMG agencies during the conceptualization and drafting of Roundtable background papers, as well as in the conduct of the Roundtable sessions. GMG member agencies have lent support to the activities of the GFMD ad hoc Working Groups and also contributed to the meetings of the civil society, which were organized in conjunction with the government meeting. In the last two years and through joint activities, the GMG has provided other technical inputs to the GFMD process, and organized a GMG session at the margins of the Forum. When GFMD began, only 10 Member agencies were involved in the GMG, while it currently consists of 21 Member agencies. 

The cooperation between GFMD and the UN has deepened since IOM has been admitted as a related agency to the UN. IOM has been a staunch supporter of the GFMD since its onset. IOM has supported GFMD in the form of seconding senior international advisers from 2007 to 2012, but also in preparing background papers and serving as speakers.

By working closely together, the GFMD and the UN play complementary roles in seeking practical solutions to the challenges of international migration, while harnessing the potential benefits of international migration for development.

69th Session (2014)

68th Session (2013-2014)

67th Session (2012-2013)

66th Session (2011-2012)

65th Session (2010-2011)

64th Session (2009-2010)

63rd Session (2008-2009)

62nd Session (2007-2008)

61st Session (2006-2007)

60th Session (2005-2006)

59th Session (2004-2005)

58th Session (2003-2004)

  • Programme of Action
    adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development
    Cairo, 5–13 September 1994