PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico, 4 December — The three‑day preparatory stocktaking meeting of the intergovernmental conference to adopt a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration began today.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Luis Videgaray Caso, and the United Nation Secretary‑General’s Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour, serving in her capacity as Secretary‑General of the Intergovernmental Conference, opened the meeting.
The preparatory meeting kicks off the stocktaking phase of the process for developing the Global Compact. United Nations Member States, civil society and other stakeholders will review and distil information, data and recommendations gathered during consultations between April and November 2017 and engage in a constructive analysis that will inform the process going forward.
Welcoming participants, Ms. Arbour recalled that the meeting in Puerto Vallarta takes place after numerous rounds of discussions at the national and regional level. Those discussions have involved both Governments and numerous other actors, including civil society.
“Migration is an expanding global reality,” she said. “Changes in population structures, climate change, changes in the nature of jobs and other economic factors, alongside fundamental human aspirations for self-fulfilment will shape much of the future nature of migration. Not only is migration here to stay but it is also likely to increase in the future.”
Migration has become a very sensitive issue around the world, she went on to say. “Policy decisions need to be made on the basis of fact, not perception, fiction, and myth,” she said, adding that the Global Compact for Migration “is an opportunity to reorient the often toxic narrative against migrants towards a more accurate narrative on migration that recognizes its overwhelmingly positive impact and is prepared to address its challenges in a sober, realistic way”.
The only way to address migration’s challenges and maximize its opportunities is through a coherent approach by the international community, she continued.
“Migration demands a global response,” she said. “The movement of people across borders is, by definition, an international reality. The success of the Global Compact will rest on maximum state political and moral buy‑in and willingness to enhance cooperation at the regional and international levels. Our ability to better manage human mobility rests on the Global Compact being as strong as possible, widely-supported and human rights‑centred, with the needs of those most vulnerable firmly at its heart.”
Dr. Videgaray Caso stressed that migration has beneficial global effects, as it strengthens the economy and social development of most countries.
“As a global historical phenomenon, migration requires continuous multilateral dialogue and shared responsibilities as well as actions involving actors at all levels — local, national, regional and global,” he said. “No country, no matter how big and powerful it may be, can face the migratory phenomenon on its own.”
The Mexican minister said he “regrets” the decision of the United States, announced last Friday, to withdraw from the Global Compact negotiation, which is “an effort to improve the lives of millions of people.”
“What is lost here is an opportunity to exercise leadership, an opportunity to influence, to work together for a phenomenon that concerns us all,” he said.
The meeting will be co‑chaired by Juan José Gómez Camacho, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, and Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, who serve as the co‑facilitators of the Global Compact process.
The Global Compact will set out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions. Towards that aim, discussions in Puerto Vallarta will cover global, regional, national, local, community and human aspects of migration.
The results of the stocktaking phase will be a Chair’s summary of the meeting. That and a forthcoming report of the United Nations Secretary‑General to be released in January 2018 will inform the co‑facilitators’ draft of the global compact for migration, leading to intergovernmental negotiations, which will start in February 2018 and conclude in July. The Compact will be presented for adoption at an intergovernmental conference on international migration at the end of 2018.
The origin of the Global Compact for Migration lies within the New York Declaration adopted at a High‑level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, in September 2016, in which 193 Member States unanimously agreed on the need for two compacts, one for refugees and one for migrants.