FAQs on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)

What is the GCM?

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is the culmination of over 18 months of intensive consultations and negotiations, involving governments and other actors including civil society and the private sector. It is the first-ever global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.

The Global Compact for Migration represents a historic opportunity to improve international cooperation on migration, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development. Though it is not legally binding, the GCM outlines a cooperative framework for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels. It compiles principles, rights and obligations from existing international law instruments regarding migration, and identifies best practices in all areas of migration.

Why is the GCM needed?

There are over 258 million migrants in the world today. This figure is expected to grow as a result of a number of factors including globalization, growing connectivity whether through communications or transportation, trade, as well as rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration may provide immense opportunity and benefits – for the migrants, host communities, communities of origin and states. However, when poorly regulated it can create significant challenges. These challenges include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the death of migrants who undertake dangerous journeys.

There is a strong need for rational, evidence-based policies and greater international cooperation on migration. The GCM is a comprehensive plan of action that provides an important breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges and opportunities of human mobility, grounded in values of responsibility sharing, state sovereignty, non-discrimination and human rights.

What are the GCM’s objectives?

The GCM comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels.

  • It aims to mitigate the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin.
  • It intends to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities migrants face at different stages of migration by respecting, protecting and fulfilling their human rights and providing them with care and assistance.
  • It seeks to address the legitimate concerns of communities, while recognizing that societies are undergoing demographic, economic, social and environmental changes at different scales that may have implications for, and result from, migration.
  • It strives to create conducive conditions that enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities, and thus facilitate their contributions to sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global levels.

For the list of the 23 objectives, please refer to paragraph 16 of the GCM Intergovernmentally Negotiated and Agreed Outcome.

Why is the GCM an achievement?

  • Innovative: First inter-governmental global framework for cooperation on international migration.
  • Global: Privileges no region but acknowledges that migration is a universal phenomenon and transnational in nature.
  • Comprehensive: Addresses migration in all its dimensions and takes into account the needs of governments, communities and migrants.
  • Cooperative: Acknowledges that concerted international cooperation is required to effectively respond to the challenges of migration while reaping its potential benefits.
  • Forward-looking: Puts in place a framework for the future, acknowledging that our populations grow or shrink with changing populations and the continuing impacts of climate change.

What are the commitments that governments will adopt?

By adopting the GCM, governments commit to working together on all migration issues. They recognize that migration is multi-dimensional. The GCM defines 23 objectives covering all aspects of migration. Each objective is comprised of a general commitment and a catalogue of possible actions that States can draw from to develop their national and international responses, as they choose. These actions are based on internationally recognized best practices and lessons learnt that were collected in the consultation process ahead of the negotiations.

Is the GCM binding?

The GCM is non-legally binding. It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination and human rights, and recognizes that a comprehensive approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

When will the GCM be Adopted?

The Kingdom of Morocco will host an Intergovernmental Conference at the highest political level in Marrakech, on the 10th and 11th of December, 2018, where governments will officially adopt the GCM. The Conference promises to be the springboard from which all concerned – governments, migrants, civil society, private sector, trade unions, the UN, the media, etc. – commit in concrete ways to work together to make migration more safe, orderly and regular.

The Conference consists of a plenary debate in which governments will confirm their political commitment to the GCM, and, in parallel, of two dialogues with governments and other stakeholders that will pave the way for concrete avenues for implementation.

What’s next?

The Secretary-General has decided to establish a new United Nations Network on Migration, coordinated and served by the International Organization for Migration to ensure effective and coherent support of the UN System to governments in their implementation of the Global Compact.