Round 5 of Inter-governmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly, at Round 5 of Inter-governmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration



Excellencies, distinguished delegates, esteemed co-facilitators, Special Representative Arbour, dear colleagues, 

I am glad to be here this afternoon. You are embarking on the 5th round of these intergovernmental negotiations.  As we near the end of this two-year process I wanted to recognize the tremendous work that everyone has done. It is not over yet. But if you look closely you just may see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know you have several pages to get through this round. Yet I believed it’s important to take a few minutes to share a couple of points with you.

First, I want us to take a step back from the intensity of the words and papers before us. And let us recall what we are here creating.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will be a ground-breaking achievement.  Something that has never been done before – the first global framework for global governance and international cooperation on migration.

It will fulfil our commitment from the New York Declaration. But importantly, it will say to the world – we can work together to deal with global issues. And not only can we, but we should.

Six months ago, we left Puerto Vallarta with a positive dynamic. Ready to begin negotiating the Global Compact on Migration.  At that time, we did not know what that would look like. But we did know that this opportunity should not be lost.

As we begin the final push – I am pleased to say we have not lost it. In fact, now is the time to seize it.

The second thing I want to remind you is that multilateralism is helping us shape the GCM.

Last September, I stressed four principles for this Session – people, balance, quality and transparency.  The GCM realizes them all.

The Global Compact puts a focus on people – migrants, the communities from which they come and the communities in which they live.  Each has their own needs and concerns.  And you in this room have met my call to make sure people’s voices are heard.   All of you talked about people.  You emphasised that all people are born with fundamental rights and dignity.

And Global Compact for Migration seeks balance.  To balance the rights of all people – whether newcomers or the welcoming communities.  Balance between the unique dynamics of national and regional contexts and the inherent nature of international cooperation around migration.  And balance between the rights of people and national sovereignty – illustrating these are not inconsistent.   The GCM is an example of how all viewpoints may be represented.

The Global Compact for Migration process has been the most robust, transparent and inclusive discussions on international migration in history.   We have heard from every region; we have involved all types of stakeholders.  The thematic discussions, regional meetings and multi-stakeholder hearings over the last two years all illustrate this.  We are establishing new way of doing business.  Real and open exchange and dialogue.

And then there is the quality of the discussions. The debate and the facts brought into this Compact cover the comprehensive view of migration.   Or as the co-facilitators like to say – ‘a 360-degree approach’. Each of you has brought unique perspectives, ideas and experiences to the table. The Compact reflects these elements.

In Puerto Vallarta I asked you to try; to compromise; and to focus on the bigger picture.  You indeed have.  I encourage you continue –  for a short while longer – to continue.  We will finish the Global Compact in July.  Today we have a strong basis to do so.

I would like to leave you here today to consider the legacy. Both your own legacy and that of the General Assembly.   Remember we have all agreed that we cannot keep going as we are.   Not a single voice has said our current response to international migration is sustainable. In fact, what I have heard instead is a rejection of business as usual.

I will close with a point I have been emphasising all along. Agreeing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a test for multilateralism. It is a test of the UN’s capacity to respond to pressing global issues.

As I have heard in my Morning Dialogues, we face the question of the true relevance of the United Nations, of multilateralism. And the answer is whether we can deliver on what matters to people. Yes, there is a commitment to multilateralism; and the belief that we are stronger together than apart.  The GCM will demonstrate that we are.

The General Assembly remains the best place for states to address global issues and cross border challenges.  And this is not inconsistent with states determining their own migration policies. In fact, it strengthens our ability to protect migrants and also our citizens at home or abroad.

So I wish you all success in the coming weeks.

I thank you for your attention.