– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

18 December 2018

Distinguished Ministers, Permanent Representatives, Delegates,

The General Assembly has before it the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”, which was adopted in the Intergovernmental Conference on International Migration, last December 10 and 11, in Marrakesh, Morocco.

I reiterate my thanks to the Kingdom of Morocco for the impeccable organization for the Conference; to the strong participation of the Member States; and to the civil society who accompanied the process.

I also thank the Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland to the United Nations: Ambassadors Juan José Gómez Camacho and Jürg Lauber, who led the process of the Compact that gathers us here today, under the leadership of my predecessor, President Miroslav Lajčák, to whom pay tribute. I also thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Louise Arbour and her team for their extraordinary work.


The text of the Global Compact is the result of a broad and intense process of intergovernmental negotiations. It reflects the will of the States to address, in a joint manner and with a balanced and integral vision, a complex challenge which, due to its very nature, is both cross-border and global.

We have before us a historic opportunity to cooperate, exchange good practices and learn from each other so that migration, a phenomenon that has marked the history of humanity, benefits all of us.

Let there be no doubt: the pact does not affect the sovereignty of any State. On the contrary, it reinforces it. No State, no matter how powerful, can solve -by its own means- the challenges of international migration.

The twenty three objectives of the Compact contain guiding principles that reassert the sovereignty of the States; protecting human rights and the positive impact of migration in sustainable development; the gender perspective, the best interest of the child and the multisectoral approach.

Who can be against guidelines that strengthen the fight against migrant trafficking and human trafficking? I firmly believe that we all wish to eradicate this scourge in which women and girls are affected the most.

The endorsement of the Compact by the General Assembly will allow reducing the vulnerabilities in migration; addressing the needs of the communities of origin, transit and destination; and fighting discrimination and the negative rhetoric against migrants.

It will also foster the empowerment of migrants and the communities that take them in; it will facilitate their access to decent labour and will contribute to a safe and dignified return and readmission.

We have before us a historic opportunity to cooperate, exchange good practices and learn from each other so that migration, a phenomenon that has marked the history of humanity, benefits all of us.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

President of the UN General Assembly


Once this General Assembly has taken over this Compact, the moment to transform our commitments into action will come: we will need concerted efforts at all levels, with the participation of all relevant actors –governments, the United Nations system, migrant organizations, civil society and the private sector.

We must work to disseminate the contents of the Compact and, particularly, we must convey the legitimate motivations that fuel this non-binding instrument: giving a human face to migration and making it work, so it can effectively be a safe, orderly and regular migration.

To achieve a more relevant United Nations for everyone, we must consider the more than 250 million migrants around the world and the communities that take them in. Half of migration has the face of women and we must remember that.


The Global Compact that we are about to endorse is people-centred, while addressing the structural causes of migration. Migration should be an option and not an act of despair.

This Global Compact will steer us in the right direction.

I trust that the decision we make today regarding the Compact will reflect our determination to defeat fear and choose hope, transforming the challenges of migration into opportunities for us all. I invite you to accompany this historic moment.

Thank you.