Highlights Vol 22, No. 08 - August 2018

Landmark agreement on Global Compact #ForMigration

International migration brings both opportunities and challenges to countries of origin, transit and destination. According to the latest estimates by UN DESA, the number of international migrants worldwide reached 258 million persons in 2017, an increase of almost 50 per cent since 2000.

“Migration is an expanding global reality”, said  Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres. “Managing it is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time.”

With the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016, the UN General Assembly agreed to develop a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. Preparations for the compact included regional and thematic meetings and consultations with stakeholders between April and November 2017.

Following a stocktaking meeting held in Mexico in December 2017, the General Assembly embarked in early 2018 on a six-month process of intergovernmental negotiations, led by the Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland. On 13 July 2018, the General Assembly reached consensus on a final draft of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which is set to be formally adopted at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10 and 11 December 2018.

The compact is a framework for international cooperation to address migration in all its dimensions. By facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration, it seeks to curb the incidence and impact of irregular migration. The compact also aims to protect the safety, dignity and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants.

In addition, the landmark document seeks to minimize adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to emigrate. It also aims to leverage the potential contribution of migration to sustainable development in countries of origin and destination.

The final draft of the Global Compact provides a shared vision and guiding principles, sets out 23 actionable commitments, spells out means of implementation and provides a framework for follow-up and review.

As one of its key objectives, the Global Compact seeks to strengthen migration data and improve the evidence base to better inform policymaking and discourse. To this end, it commits to develop a global programme to enhance national capacities in data collection, analysis and dissemination and requests the United Nations Statistical Commission to develop a strategy for improving migration data at local, national, regional and global levels.

The Global Compact establishes a capacity building mechanism to support implementation. Key elements of the mechanism are a connection hub to follow up on requests for support, a start-up fund to finance project-oriented solutions, and a knowledge platform to facilitate access to evidence and good practices.

For follow-up and review, the Global Compact calls for the establishment of the International Migration Review Forum. Every four years starting in 2022, the Forum will provide a global platform for Member States to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the Global Compact.

For more information:

Global compact for migration

What happens where: A new integrated geospatial information framework

Everything that happens, happens somewhere, but how do we know what is happening where? when? and why? The answers lie in geospatial information. That means information that pinpoints the location of geographic features, such as settlements, mountains or lakes, on the Earth and describes their relation to other features. It allows us to create a digital image of our world, in which all social, economic and environmental activity takes place.

Geospatial information is a blueprint of what happens where. It integrates all the digital data that have a location component. From basic topographical features found on a map, to complex multi-layer datasets, such as crop production and monitoring, geospatial data can shed light on disparities in society that were previously hidden, and identify areas and communities with little or no social and economic opportunities.

Geospatial information shows us where social, environmental and economic conditions occur. Reliable and authoritative geographic information can help us to measure, monitor and manage the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), improving people’s lives and protecting the planet.

It is difficult to imagine any national development planning or political decision-making without quality geospatial information, yet the availability and accessibility of data remains one of the biggest challenges with implementing the SDGs. Without relevant data on social, economic and environmental challenges, governments cannot make effective and evidence-based policies to more accurately direct resources, and ensure that no one – nowhere – is left behind.

The United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) has been working with a wide range of experts, UN Member States and the World Bank to improve access to quality geospatial information. On 1st August, the Committee will meet in New York to adopt a new strategic framework for the geospatial community – a key document that will help countries strengthen their management of geospatial information.

The Overarching Strategic Framework is a forward-looking blueprint built on national circumstances, and priorities. It focuses on policy, perspectives and elements of geospatial information and explains why geospatial information management is critical to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals at a national level.

Governments hold considerable amounts of geospatial information, including databases on access to education, communities most affected by poverty, areas at risk of disasters as well as mobile data that can keep people informed about disease outbreaks or weather patterns. But this information, though critical for development decisions, is often scarce, outdated or insufficiently integrated and shared. The Overarching Strategic Framework, together with the upcoming Implementation Guide and country-level action plans, chart a way to change all that.

The Framework aims to assist countries to move towards e-delivery systems, e-commerce, and e‑economies. Its ambition is to improve services for citizens, develop capacity for applying geospatial science, improve informed decision-making, boost the development of private sector, help achieve a digital transformation, and bridge the geospatial digital divide between countries.

More information:

Eighth Session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) 

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