Agreement Holds Promise to Save Lives, Improve Living Conditions, Foster Prosperity for Millions, Special Representative Says
MARRAKECH, Morocco, 11 December – The two-day Intergovernmental Conference that adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration concluded today with robust appeals for the achievement of its 23 sweeping objectives in ways that can better the lives of the world’s 258 million people on the move.
“For the first time in the history of the United Nations, we have been able to tackle an issue that was long seen as out of bounds for a truly concerted global effort,” said Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Migration, in closing remarks.
As the many initiatives proposed in the 31-page Global Compact start to take root, the world will see lives saved, living conditions improved, and communities integrate and flourish through increased development and prosperity in many parts of the world, the Special Representative stated.
María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the General Assembly, said: “We came here with a clear goal and we have achieved it.” A long and promising road remains for the agreement, she noted, calling attention to a General Assembly plenary to be held on 19 December to adopt a resolution formally endorsing the Global Compact.
Nasser Bourita, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco and President of the Intergovernmental Conference, said Marrakech has seen goodwill over the two days of the Conference. “New York set the tone, Marrakech breathed new life into it and was a rallying point,” he said, observing that the commitments of the Global Compact remain to be implemented.
Over nine hours, Government ministers, senior officials and representatives of nearly 60 Member States took the floor during today’s general debate. Joining them were representatives from a raft of United Nations entities, intergovernmental organizations and civil society.
Putting a human face on migration, the representative of Costa Rica recalled a report about Tiya, a small girl who was left in 2016 in the hands of Costa Rican authorities by the group she was traveling with. She was moved to a hostel for minors and only ate bread, not knowing where her mother was, and in her limited vocabulary, told a tale of horror. With stories like this in mind, migration must be addressed at the global level, she said, adding that the Global Compact will facilitate action and lead to the protection of migrants.
France’s representative said his country is driven by the belief that multilateralism is the only response to global challenges and that human mobility will likely increase in the coming decades. “It is illusory to think we can build walls,” he said, noting nonetheless that there is no absolute right to migration and that the Global Compact does not create one.
Appealing to the international community to distinguish between refugees and migrants, the representative of Jordan - host to some 1.3 million Syrian refugees - said his Government has made it clear that displacement is a matter for the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Voicing a range of concerns, Libya’s representative said the Global Compact should have given more attention to the drivers of irregular migration.
Highlighting legal migration as an engine of economic development and growth, the Vice-Minister for External Affairs of India pointed to the major financial contributions migrants make in the form of remittances, contributing nearly 10 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), even as they form only 3.4 per cent of the global population. Among those countries relying on remittances, the Secretary of State for Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova said 20 per cent of his country’s GDP comes from that source.
Eritrea’s representative said it is unfortunate that, despite advances in the cross–border movement of commodities and services, a non–binding agreement on migration is still firmly resisted by some. “We cannot continue to turn our eyes away from an issue of immense consequence for public policy and hope for it to go away,” he said.
The representative of the Russian Federation stressed the need for a solid basis to ensure the peaceful return of people to States experiencing a mass exodus. Causes of migration must also be addressed by achieving political settlements in the States of origin. Every effort must be made to rule out the possibility of terrorists and other criminals infiltrating States hosting migrants. He urged the international community to work together to eradicate xenophobia and social, racial and religious hatred, and repudiated the “shared responsibility” concept that implies sharing the burden of hosting migrants among the States that frequently have nothing to do with the causes of a mass exodus.
The representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that with the Global Compact, the international community has drawn a line between the abusive, chaotic and ultimately failed approaches to migration of the past and a new human rights-based vision for safe, orderly migration. “It has chartered a course away from a failed paradigm of migration that in recent years has left migrants to drown at sea or die in the desert, destabilized Governments, fed self-destructive securitization, wasted resources, and violated the human rights of millions of migrants,” he said.
The Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), echoing opening remarks from the United Nations Secretary-General on Monday, said the Global Compact does not encourage migration - nor does it aim to stop it. It respects the sovereignty of States and it is not legally binding. It is self-evident, however, that Member States will play the leading role in its implementation, with each State determining its own priorities.
From civil society, the representative of Education International regretted that some countries opted out of the Global Compact. Noting that most migration is employment-related, he said the ultimate measure of success will be whether it makes a difference in migrant workers’ lives. “Migration is not a crisis,” he stated. “It is the governance of migration — or lack of it — that has become a crisis.”
Wrapping up its work, and without a vote, the Intergovernmental Conference adopted its draft report (document A/CONF.231/3), introduced by its Rapporteur-General, Winston Felix, Minister for Citizenship of Guyana; the report of its Credentials Committee (document A/CONF.231/5); and a draft resolution titled “Expression of thanks to the people and Government of Morocco” (document A/CONF.231/2).
Alongside the plenary, the Intergovernmental Conference held dialogues under the themes “Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” and “Partnerships and innovative initiatives for the way forward”. (For more information, see Press Releases DEV/3377 and DEV/3379.)
The Global Compact, contained in document A/CONF.231/3, establishes shared principles and a unity of purpose to guide Member States and others in addressing the needs of the largest number of migrants since the Second World War. Along with the Global Compact on Refugees, it fulfils commitments laid out in the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The General Assembly will consider adopting both global compacts in the coming weeks. (For more information, see Press Release DEV/3375).
Also speaking today were Government ministers, senior officials and representatives of Mauritania, Liberia, Ecuador, Gambia, Norway, Japan, Viet Nam, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ethiopia, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Cambodia, Tuvalu, Jamaica, Lesotho, Cuba, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Thailand, Azerbaijan, Peru, Iceland, China, Iran, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Argentina, Republic of Korea, Gabon, Uruguay, Georgia, United Republic of Tanzania, Bahamas, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bahrain, Grenada, Singapore, Madagascar, Pakistan, Uganda, Benin, Ghana, Bolivia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Syria, Afghanistan and Namibia.
Representatives of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, International Centre for Migration Policy Development, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), International Organization of La Francophonie, League of Arab States, Council of Europe, Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (speaking on behalf of the five United Nations regional economic and social commissions) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also spoke.
Also speaking were representatives of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), University College London-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health, Academic Council of the United Nations System, Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic and German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik).
AHMEDOU OULD ABDALLA, Minister for the Interior and Decentralization of Mauritania, said the journey that culminated in the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration started with the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants in 2016. Mauritania has actively participated in the different stages of negotiations on the historic agreement, adopted at a time where the political discourse on migration has become increasingly extreme. The Global Compact highlights priority areas for Mauritania, including border security and management, data collection, combatting migrant smuggling and adapting the legal framework to international standards. Citing several Government-led initiatives to achieve migration goals, he said assistance has been provided to 65,000 Malian refugees, who enjoy their full rights when living in Mauritania. In addition, Mauritania is committed to implementing all Global Compact objectives.
GBEHZONGAR MILTON FINDLEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia, said the Global Compact has put the international community at the point of making good on what it promised ‑ putting political will into action. The seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights serves as a reminder that the international community must uphold the dignity of all persons. Liberia has been at both ends of the migration spectrum and is party to the Organization of African Unity’s 1991 Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol. Member States must strengthen joint efforts to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration. At the same time, they must ensure youth are given hope for a better future and work to protect the environment, stop conflicts and halt violence against women and children.
SANTIAGO CHAVEZ, Vice-Minister for Human Mobility of Ecuador, said his country has actively participated in negotiating the Global Compact, which will cover all dimensions of international migration, an issue frequently avoided until now. The agreement’s 23 objectives seek to maximize the benefits of migration in origin, transit and destination countries and seeks to attenuate the adverse factors that lead people to abandon their homes. The commitments represent unprecedented support for multilateral efforts to better manage migrant flows based on respect for human rights. At the national level, Ecuador has a model that ensures rights and protections for migrants and is inclusive. The Constitution ensures equality for both foreigners and Ecuadorians, with all persons having access to education, health and other services. At the regional level, Quito has been helping to address the humanitarian crisis due to the emigration of 3 million Venezuelans, about one third having transited through or remained in Ecuador. In this regard, Ecuador convened two meetings resulting in 11 Governments signing in September the Quito Declaration on human mobility of Venezuelan citizens in the region.
MAMADOU TANGARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad of Gambia, said migration is not a new phenomenon, but a dynamic process that continues to play an important role in many countries. In order to have a positive impact on migrants and their families, it has to be well managed through a collective approach. The Global Compact is in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its principle of leaving no one behind. It also builds and complements on regional initiatives and migration management policies adopted by ECOWAS and the African Union. Gambia has a large diaspora, owing primarily to its high population of young people, some of whom have embarked on the Mediterranean route, often with disastrous consequences. As a country of origin, transit and destination, Gambia understands its responsibility and commits to upholding the principles of the Global Compact and the implementation of its objectives. With a focus on addressing the root causes of migration, the new Government is working to develop its democratic institutions and is drafting a national policy on migration that is currently being validated by multiple stakeholders. Overall, Gambia wants to build an inclusive and fair society for all Gambians and those living there.
MARIANNE HAGEN, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Norway said that the Compact is a step in the right direction and that the final text is carefully balanced between those that want it to be a tool for development and those that want a tool for migration management. However, as recent political deliberations in various European nations have shown, not all destination countries agree that the Compact will serve their interests. Recently, there has been growing public interest and political debate in Norway about the Compact. As a result, its Foreign Minister will inform its Parliament about the main elements of the Compact before it is presented to the General Assembly in New York.
Norway will join the Compact, but, due to the ambiguity of the text, there are some points on which it wished to clarify its position, she said. The Compact is not legally binding, nor does it seek to establish international customary law. It reaffirms the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction in conformity with international law. In this regard, States have the authority to distinguish between regular and irregular migration status. All migrants have fundamental rights, but the Compact does not create any new legal categories nor establish a human right to migrate. The Compact recognizes that countries must be able to enforce migration legislation, she noted. Norway’s position is that the detention of foreign nationals may be necessary in some cases, including for minors, but then only as a last resort and for the shortest possible period of time.
GITESH SHARMA, Vice-Minister for External Affairs of India, said regular migration is a positive phenomenon that is primarily voluntary, economic in nature and is essential for achieving sustainable development in line with target 10.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals. While the Global Compact seeks to facilitate legal pathways for migration, it does not deal with refugees. The agreement recognizes the sovereign right of each State in determining its migration policy. In addition, individual States can distinguish between regular and irregular migrants, determine the conditions of entry and length of stay of non-nationals in their jurisdiction and need not follow a prescriptive approach. Migrants are said to contribute nearly 10 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP), even as they form only 3.4 per cent of the global population. Migration is an important dimension of the integration of economies and global supply chains, where specific labour or skill shortages tend to drive the phenomenon. Legal migration has a legitimate purpose as an engine of economic development and growth, as opposed to illegal migration. As such, closer international cooperation can help to manage irregular migration and address genuine sociopolitical or security concerns. While humane treatment of irregular migrants is absolutely essential, cooperation must be enhanced to combat smuggling and trafficking in persons.
NORIKAZU SUZUKI, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, welcomed the fact that the United Nations has tackled migration issues and committed to the adoption of the Global Compact as the first international framework of its kind. The Global Compact demonstrates a collective will to foster international solidarity, which is essential for promoting safe, orderly and regular migration. To address the root causes of forced displacement, save migrants’ lives and manage national borders, Japan will provide emergency assistance, as well as engage in mid- to long-term cooperation as it cherishes the concept of human security and wishes to enhance the humanitarian, development and peace nexus. Japan will work closely with the international community and support the countries of the world in tackling migration issues together.
DORIN PURICE, Secretary of State for Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, said his delegation has been actively involved in negotiations and supports the Global Compact’s core principles. For the Republic of Moldova, 20 per cent of the GDP relies on remittances and one third of its students are educated abroad, benefiting from enhanced knowledge and access to professional opportunities. However, the Republic of Moldova cannot afford so many educated people leaving the country, so its 2030 Agenda strategy is focused on changing the current development paradigm. After the Government aimed at developing its goods and services industry and focusing on economic development, the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in the first half of 2018. Making the country a better place to live in is a priority of his Government, which has partnered with the European Union to implement projects on border management, human trafficking and strengthening its institutional capacity. The United Nations is also an important source of complementary expertise. Already, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided his Government with important data and indicators. The Global Compact is a significant opportunity to strengthen migration governance to address challenges and reap the benefits of migration, while upholding fundamental rights and freedoms.
NGUYEN QUOC DUNG, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, said safe, orderly and regular migration is a key ingredient to sustainable development and no country can address the issue on its own. The Global Compact creates a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migration, maximizes its advantages and contributes to the prevention of human trafficking caused by irregular flows. However, there is no perfect multilateral and global agreement that can meet or reflect all the different requirements and interests of all countries. During the Global Compact’s implementation, efforts must be continuously improved in line with the development of the world and of each country. As an origin and destination country, Viet Nam maintains a consistent policy to promote regular migration, especially labour migration, combat irregular flows and prevent human trafficking. It always creates favourable conditions for all citizens to migrate domestically and internationally in accordance with national law, international law and related treaties that Viet Nam has either signed or to which it is a party.
VIKTOR DIMOVSKI, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said that, during the 2015 peak of Europe’s migration crisis, his country provided assistance to more than 800,000 people along the Balkan route. It became obvious that no country on its own could manage the chaotic migration flows and that cooperation — including among origin, transit and destination countries — is imperative. The Global Compact can be a tool for bolstering global governance on migration through better cooperation, while a joint approach and shared responsibility can transform a massive influx of people into safe and regular migration. Such efforts will benefit national security interests on the one hand and human life on the other. As a transit country, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia believes that strong border control is essential to fight smuggling, human trafficking, transnational organized crime and terrorism. In parallel, his delegation favours a focus on the humanitarian aspects of the most vulnerable.
MARKOS TEKLE, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said the challenges facing the world today require a global solution through enhanced international cooperation. Migration is a big part of a humanitarian picture that has sharpened a sense of alienation and helplessness among millions of people. While increased human mobility has become a defining feature of today’s world, narrow legal pathways, economic marginalization, inequality and youth unemployment are forcing people to fall prey to human traffickers and smugglers. This situation clearly demonstrates that attempts to respond to the complex realities are far from satisfactory and significant gaps remain to ensure robust migration flows. He called on the international community to resolve the issue and bring an end to the suffering of migrants by rethinking the global migration architecture. Migration must be underpinned by the principle of shared responsibility, taking into account national and regional realities. At the same time, it is fundamentally a development issue and should be managed in a manner that responds to labour needs of destination countries. A rights–based approach is crucial. As a country with experience with its own migrant workers experiencing poor working conditions, exploitation and forced labour, Ethiopia places strong emphasis on a need to respect and protect human rights of migrants irrespective of their status.
SANDI ČURIN, State Secretary for the Interior of Slovenia, expressing support for the Global Compact, said international cooperation on all migration‑related issues is urgently needed and long overdue. This conviction is based on Slovenia’s own experience of the massive flow of refugees and migrants on the Western Balkans route, which Slovenia faced in the winter of 2015-2016. Pushed to the limits of its capabilities to manage the flows, Slovenia was among the first to call for a better exchange of information and closer cooperation among the countries along the route. It showed the importance of effective regional cooperation. The current migration situation works for no one, with countries of origin experiencing “brain drains”, migrants dying at sea and in the deserts and transit countries struggling to organize accommodation, care and assistance to refugees. Countries of destination are facing the impact of disproportionate pressure on their absorption systems and labour markets. Xenophobia and discrimination against migrants are also on the rise. To tackle the root causes of illegal migration, the issue must be discussed in a comprehensive manner and include States, international organizations and other stakeholders to cooperate in with a spirit of partnership, solidarity and shared responsibility. A result of extensive and complex negotiations, the Compact is not a perfect document, but it is a good compromise.
NURZHAN ALTAYEV, Vice-Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of Kazakhstan, said his country has always been an active participant in global processes. As a non-permanent Security Council member, Kazakhstan has urged the international community to engage in open dialogue on all global issues. With the Global Compact, his delegation once again expresses its resolve to expand cooperation in the area of international migration. The Almaty Process on Refugee Protection and International Migration is something that has enabled an exchange of experience and helped to create monitoring mechanisms for migration trends. Governments have a right to monitor irregular migration. Before seeking safety in other places, people often seek it within the borders of their own countries. To discourage migration, conditions must be good in countries of origin. As a transit country, Kazakhstan recognizes the particular risks facing children and has adopted a four-year programme to protect them, in partnership with the European Union and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Kazakhstan also has a blueprint for a migration policy 2017 to 2021 based on respect for the rights of migrants.
MAGDY MOHAMED ABDELHAMID ABDELGHAFAR, Adviser for Security and Anti‑Terrorism to the President of Egypt, said his Government has participated effectively in Global Compact negotiations and shoulders its responsibilities on the issue. Nevertheless, migration is a challenge that no one can address alone and the Global Compact developed a framework based on principles of understanding, international cooperation and responsibility. While migration has been a part of human history that has led to the transfer of knowledge, culture and science, the enrichment of civilizations and the exchange of ideas, it has also led to intolerance. As a country of origin, transit and destination, Egypt currently hosts 5 million refugees and migrants from 58 countries, many of whom had to leave their countries because of war, conflict or difficult economic conditions. Since 2016, Egypt has succeeded in not allowing any illegal migration vessels to land on its shores, however, this has led to the arrival of even more illegal migrants, placing an increased burden on Egypt. While these high numbers represent tremendous pressure on his Government’s budget, it is part of Egyptian culture to help those in need. He called on the international community to tackle the root causes of migration and achieve sustainable development in countries of origin. Migration must be a choice, not an alternative.
CHOU BUN ENG, Secretary of State for the Interior of Cambodia, said that as an origin, transit and destination nation, her country recognizes migration for its crucial role in development. At the same time, it leads to smuggling, exploitation and abuse, including new forms of modern slavery. She drew attention to income generated by migrant workers for host and home countries alike and the huge number of victims who are exploited physically and sexually during the migration cycle. The next generation of migrants will be negatively impacted if proactive action is not taken. Recognizing the challenge faced by origin and destination countries, she welcomed the Global Compact as a tool for helping nations resolve pressing issues. “We still have a long way to go,” she cautioned.
SAMUELU LALONIU (Tuvalu) said his country is “inspired” by the Global Compact’s recognition of environmental degradation and climate change as drivers of migration, noting that sea-level rise is already prompting people to leave the Pacific region. The Global Compact should not be viewed as an isolated instrument. Policy coherence must be ensured with other global climate change, disaster and environmental governance instruments. He advocated fostering knowledge and research on environmental migration to support climate-displacement policies and regimes, highlighting a need for technical and operational capacities that support vulnerable populations. Most importantly, as the Global Compact is rooted in the 2030 Agenda, its implementation — along with development of the climate-displacement regime — should be well managed. By respecting the knowledge, cultures and traditional practices of origin countries, the Global Compact should be engrained in sustainable development processes. “Now is the time to put aside our political differences,” he said, and work together to fulfil the Global Compact.
E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said his country is a place of destination, origin and return for many around the world. Jamaica has taken steps to align the Global Compact with its migration policy, the 2030 Agenda and the Vision 2030 Jamaica national development plan, including by hosting on 6 November a consultative workshop with its partners to chart a path for implementing the newly adopted agreement. While fulfilling the Global Compact’s objectives is of utmost importance, each Member State and stakeholder must craft the most appropriate response that prioritizes such actions within a national context. A delicate balance must be struck to ensure that migration policies reflect a people-centred approach, given Jamaica’s location along a heavily traversed global transport route, and the related challenges to ensuring the security of its porous borders. The interests of the 1.3 million Jamaican-born nationals residing abroad must also be considered.
LESEGO MAKGOTHI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Lesotho, said that, following the New York Declaration and the establishment of the Global Compact, his Government created a platform to lead discussions on the Compact by reviving an inter-agency multisectoral National Consultative Committee on Migration, chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs. According to studies, Lesotho is among the highest recipient of remittances in the world. The positive benefits of migration should be maximized and the negatives minimized, in line with both the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 of the African Union. With regard to the policy and legal framework that could enhance the Global Compact’s implementation at the national level, he said Lesotho passed a law in September allowing dual citizenship, addressing the long overdue status of some irregular migrants who reside outside the country.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said the Global Compact is an important step for the international community and a reaffirmation that through goodwill, States can find solutions to critical issues. Without joint efforts, Member States cannot address the situation of migrants. Moreover, failure to act is morally unacceptable, given the technological and economic progress in the world. He condemned the violation of migrants’ human rights, including their detention in makeshift cells and their separation from relatives. The international community must find a fresh impetus to eradicate discrimination and xenophobic policies. Closing borders are in no way an effective solution. In fact, it is unacceptable that border walls and fences are being erected, military troops are being deployed and parents are being separated from their children. Eradicating the root causes of migration is the only sustainable solution. All of its drivers, including under-development, hunger, poverty and crime, lead to desperation in people who see no other solution than to leave their countries. The international community must transform the unjust economic order and build just societies free from the socioeconomic pressures that lead people to situations of acute vulnerability. The Global Compact should serve as a compass as the international community seeks to ensure that migration flows benefit all States. Meanwhile, the world can count on the full support of Cuba in the implementation of the agreement.
ALEXANDER OPIMAKH, Director of the Department of Global Policies of Belarus, said migration has a direct impact on the social and economic development of individual States and entire regions of the world. Belarus was actively involved in drafting the Global Compact and was one of the first States in the eastern European region to hold national consultations. Now that the agreement has been adopted, his Government will work with all partners to take the specific steps needed to implement it. Belarus is working on a blueprint for a migration policy and the Global Compact will be an important guide. Several proposals by Belarus and its partners have been considered in the agreement, particularly on human trafficking. Without dialogue and strengthening trust among States, problems can remain unresolved. In 2017, the President of Belarus presented an initiative to start a new international negotiation process to discuss matters of trust and security. While the Global Compact is an important political step, it is just the beginning. It must now be implemented and the active efforts of the international community are needed at all levels.
NEBIL SAID (Eritrea) said a framework for global governance of human mobility is crucial and long overdue. Despite much talk about its negative impacts, migration has made possible much of the world’s economic, technological and cultural progress and dynamism. Moreover, due to demographic transformations, growing global inequalities and improved international communication, migration is here to stay. It is unfortunate that, despite advances in the cross–border movement of commodities and services, a non–binding agreement on migration is still firmly resisted by some. “We cannot continue to turn our eyes away from an issue of immense consequence for public policy and hope for it to go away,” he said. While every State has a right to legislate and implement national immigration policies, no country on its own can address the complexity of migration without international cooperation. Nothing in the Global Compact infringes on the sovereignty or authority of the State over its immigration policies. Indeed, the agreement aims at maximizing the benefits of human mobility for all. How far the international community implements the objectives of the Global Compact will determine the success of future efforts on global migration governance.
MERGEN GURDOV, Chair of the State Migration Service of Turkmenistan, said the Global Compact represented a unique opportunity to coordinate efforts regarding migration. The commitment to its objectives will make a significant contribution to governing migration flows. Turkmenistan’s sustainable development programme includes migration issues, such as border control and biometric entry systems. Highlighting a need to protect refugees and stateless people, he said Turkmenistan is the first central Asian country to accede to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and aimed to achieve a 10‑year plan to eradicate statelessness. Efforts are under way with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to eradicate statelessness by 2024, and in September, 735 stateless persons were provided with Turkmen citizenship.
CHAISIRI ANAMARN (Thailand) said his Government supported the Global Compact process from the beginning and had undertaken national consultations to reflect, review and identify gaps in its migration policy. Meanwhile, some countries still have doubts about the agreement, questioning the timing of its adoption. Thus, it is ever more important that all Member States prove the Global Compact can work. Emphasizing the importance of implementation and follow-up, he expressed support for the establishment of the United Nations Network on Migration, with IOM playing a central role to support Member States and relevant stakeholders. For its part, Thailand is committed to implementing the Global Compact and taking a balanced approach on security, development and the human rights of migrants. Meanwhile, his Government will continue to strengthen existing national and regional mechanisms to advance the agreement’s objectives.
ALIMIRZAMIN ASKEROV (Azerbaijan) said migration is a global phenomenon that can bring benefits if managed properly. Azerbaijan contributed to the Global Compact’s negotiation process and supports its non-legally binding nature. The agreement also underlines the sovereign right of States to determine their own migration policies. The international community should be proud of the Global Compact’s collective wisdom and its protection of migrants’ human rights. The implementation of the promises made, taking into account different national priorities and capacities, will make countries the beneficiaries of global mobility. Migration should be a voluntary choice and not a desperate act to escape poverty, climate change or conflict, he said, adding that attention should be paid to its root causes and drivers.
CARLOS CASTANEDA (Peru) said his country’s national migration policy reflects its full commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Global Compact provides guidance along a fresh pathway to strengthening efforts and giving guarantees for the rights of migrants and their families. For its part, Peru promotes targeted initiatives while recognizing migrants’ input to the country’s social and economic development. Voicing unconditional respect for migrants and their families, especially those in vulnerable situations, he said Peru has welcomed more than 500,000 of its Venezuelan “brothers and sisters”.
RAGNHILDUR ARNLJÓTSDÓTTIR (Iceland) said migration affects every country — whether origin, transit or destination. Resting on the sovereign right of each State to govern migration into and within their jurisdiction, the Global Compact is comprehensive in its approach to addressing voluntary and forced migration. She particularly welcomed its focus on human rights and consideration of both gender aspects and the rights of children. The emphasis on actions to combat human trafficking and the connection to the 2030 Agenda is also important. For its part, Iceland has been resettling refugees since 1956, and in recent years, has bolstered programmes to focus on women at risk, medical cases and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex refugees. The adoption of the Global Compact does not alter the rights which Icelandic citizens enjoy under the Constitution or law, notably legislation governing free speech and freedom of the media.
LI LI (China) said orderly migration flows stimulate innovation, inclusive growth and cultural integration among nations, but irregular flows can have a negative impact and increase pressure on countries. In this context, he called on the international community to strengthen migration governance to bring about safe, orderly and regular migration. Overall, China supports multilateralism to tackle problems through cooperation. Highlighting the importance of upholding national sovereignty as the basis of migration governance, he welcomed the Global Compact’s reaffirmation of the related principles of the United Nations Charter. Calling for the regularization of migration flows, he expressed support for providing employment opportunities to migrants and eliminating discrimination against them. Tackling the root causes is equally important, he said, calling for a focus on implementing the 2030 Agenda and providing assistance to countries of origin in addressing challenges such as climate change. Unilateralism is not a solution, nor is the politicization of the issue. While the Global Compact is a non–legally binding agreement, it provides an important framework for international cooperation. However, it would be ill–advised to establish compulsory targets or set timelines. China supports the United Nations Network on Migration to provide support to Member States in their voluntary implementation of the agreement. For its part, China continues to take positive steps to safeguard the legitimate interests of migrants.
SEYED ALI MOHAMMAD MOUSAVI (Iran) said addressing the root causes of migration and paying special attention to the nexus between migration and development is vital during the Global Compact’s implementation phase. The tendency of migration to result in a “brain drain” for some countries and a “brain gain” for others must be rectified. Furthermore, migration should be transformed from a means to escape poverty for some to an instrument to eliminate poverty for all. Sustainable Development Goal 10 should be at the heart of the Global Compact for migration to work for everyone. For its part, Iran sees the agreement as a voluntary vehicle to enhance cooperation among States in the management of migration flows without creating new legal obligations. Outlining the direction in which his Government hopes the Global Compact will take, he said reducing inequality within and among countries requires an inclusive approach. Only such an approach will pave the way for a fair division of shared responsibility regarding migration flows.
LUTFI ALMUGHRABI (Libya) said the Global Compact’s adoption is a significant achievement demonstrating the international community’s knowledge of related challenges and that countries cannot face them alone. The Global Compact should have given more attention to the drivers of irregular migration, which should have been the main focus. The emergence of terrorist groups must also be considered, he said, highlighting a range of concerns, including that they use migration to allow operatives to infiltrate certain countries and carry out crimes such as human trafficking, which in turn finances their activities. In addition, they try to recruit young people and radicalize them. The challenges of migration in Africa should be focused on. Genuine action is needed to allow African countries to invest in their natural and human resources, which would also have a positive effect on the international community. However, the Global Compact refers to the need to grant rights to regular and irregular migrants, which might not be consistent with national policies.
MARTIN FRICK (Liechtenstein) said his Government recognizes the importance of international cooperation in implementing its national migration policies and ensuring that migration takes place in a safe, orderly manner, having repeatedly underscored a need to collectively fight the drivers of irregular migration, including poverty, trafficking and modern slavery. Liechtenstein has provided financial support for projects to improve migration management, reduce irregular migration, combat trafficking and bolster education in origin countries. It is already implementing most of the Global Compact objectives, however, a “lively and critical” parliamentary and public discussion about the agreement is ongoing, reflecting uncertainties in parts of the population. Liechtenstein participates today with the understanding that the Global Compact does not prejudice final positions to be expressed when it is considered by the General Assembly in New York.
Because the Global Compact is a non-legally binding document that does not create any new rights or obligations, he said, Liechtenstein will not aim at fully implementing all its 23 objectives. On objective 5, the Global Compact will not lead to any individual right to migration, while on objective 7, he clarified that the agreement cannot be interpreted so as to provide for a universal right to family reunification or to a regularization of an irregular migration status. Liechtenstein has committed to avoiding child detention to the extent possible, with regard to objective 13, while it views, on objective 18, that its national policy concerning the recognition of job qualifications is sufficient. On objective 22, clear rules exist for the portability of social security entitlements of migrants.
AMATLAIN KABUA (Marshall Islands) said that small island developing States face inherent challenges in pursuing economic growth. As a low-lying nation, the Marshall Islands face climate risks that are pushing the population to leave, she noted. “We have a truly urgent need to boost resilience and adaptation to climate impacts,” she said. Preliminary data indicate that, while remittances are returning to her country, that may be outweighed by a greater economic drain from migrants who need continued support after their departure. This factor is underrecognized by the international community, she emphasized, calling for greater attention for it. While migration has opened up educational and employment opportunities that would not otherwise have been possible, it also raises the risk of her country losing young talent required to build the economy and culture. Moreover, the Marshall Islands also hosts migrants, she observed, pointing out that continued dialogue on migration can lead to progress and collaboration between nations.
Mr. SHAWABKAH (Jordan) said the Global Compact is a starting point to address the varied and complicated challenges of migration and displacement around the world. He expressed hope that migration will eventually become a choice and not a necessity. As a country that has suffered from displacement and migration, Jordan has hosted successive flows of migrants and forcibly displaced persons as a result of conflicts in the region over the last century. Consequently, this trend has had a social and economic impact on the country, which has experienced a sharp population increase and pressure on its limited resources. Despite having scarce resources, Jordan has hosted 1.3 million Syrian refugees in addition to Palestinian and other refugees. In this context, he launched an urgent appeal for the international community to distinguish between refugees and migrants. Refugees fleeing conflict cannot be considered migrants and must be viewed as a common international responsibility. Meanwhile, countries have a sovereign right to design their own migration policies and govern migration within their national jurisdiction. When it comes to refugees, Jordan has made clear that displacement is a matter for the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and has called for international cooperation and solidarity. The Global Compact will not redefine Jordan’s international obligations. While the agreement is non-legally binding, it is a way to attain safe, orderly migration that considers the needs of migrants and contributes to development in countries of origin and destination.
GAMINI SENEVIRATNE (Sri Lanka) said that the Compact marks the beginning of a new and collective journey that consciously departs from the negative narrative of migration and looks towards safe, regular and orderly migration. He reiterated the importance of the 10 cross-cutting guiding principles agreed upon in the Compact, which range from being people-centred and human rights‑based to gender‑responsive and child‑sensitive. All of these require solid national ownership, he said, emphasizing that the success of the Compact’s implementation, follow-up and review will depend on how it can provide flexibility and space for Governments to decide and lead the process forward according to their national priorities.
He highlighted that Sri Lanka has already initiated work to identify the priority areas and objectives with regard to international migration, particularly taking into consideration inward migration, outward migration, border control and migration data. In some areas, much work has already been undertaken successfully, while in others it may take time to incorporate the relevant objectives into the system and to take action. This work involves national consultation that underpins the importance of the “whole‑of‑Government” approach. Sri Lanka has developed an extensive policy framework for regulating and protecting migrant workers’ rights with regard to outward migration, he said, by regulating international labour migration through the standardization of the recruitment process, predeparture training and access to social protection.
Mr. SHUVAEV (Russian Federation), while commending the Global Compact for covering many dimensions, emphasized a need to facilitate the establishment of a solid basis to ensure the peaceful return of people to States experiencing a mass exodus. Causes of migration must also be addressed by achieving political settlements in the States of origin. Every effort must be made to rule out the possibility of terrorists and other criminals infiltrating the States hosting migrants. He urged the international community to work together to eradicate xenophobia and social, racial and religious hatred. He repudiated the “shared responsibility” concept that implies sharing the burden of hosting migrants between the States that frequently have nothing to do with the causes of a mass exodus. The current complicated migration situation is largely a result of irresponsible interference into the internal affairs of sovereign States of the Middle East and North Africa. It is also inappropriate to refer to the activities and recommendations of the Agenda for the Protection of Cross-Border Displaced Persons in the Context of Disasters and Climate Change and the Platform on Disaster Displacement. There is no reliable and universally recognized evidence pointing at a direct correlation between climate change and displacement, he said, emphasizing that the Global Compact is not a legally binding instrument and does not impose legal or financial obligations on the acceding countries.
ARMEN GHAZARYAN (Armenia) welcomed that both Global Compacts, on migration and refugees, reflect a holistic approach with action-oriented commitments. Syrian Armenians, whose ancestors found refuge in Syria 100 years ago after fleeing massacre and mass deportation, were among those forced to again flee. Armenia did not stand idly by ‑ it dispatched and distributed aid in Aleppo, Damascus, Latakia, Kesab and other regions in Syria. As well, Armenia respects the skills and entrepreneurism of people displaced from Syria in its own territory. It is doing its utmost to provide for their rapid integration into society. The Government has taken an open approach, offering protection options and a set of benefits to those displaced from Syria, notably accelerated asylum, naturalization for ethnic Armenians and residence permits. Armenia also hosts refugees from Ukraine, Iraq and a variety of African and Asian countries, he said, advocating support for UNHCR in transforming immediate emergency response measures into durable solutions.
HORACIO JOSÉ GARCÍA (Argentina) said migration is a multidimensional issue with many causes that cannot be simplified and must be approached from different angles. The mobility of people is a reality and the international community must address it properly, striking a balance between the root causes of migration and the ability to host people in destination countries in a dignified manner. The talents of migrants should be channelled to create a win-win situation for all. While most migrants in Argentina come for economic reasons, his Government wants to prevent the arrival of those who flout the law. In an ever-more connected world, the global community must work together to identify those linked with crimes. At the same time, his region must show solidarity and devise a coordinated response to the rise in Venezuelan migrants. Already, Argentina has taken in approximately 120,000 people coming to seek a new future and is working with IMO and UNHCR to find solutions to the large displacement of people in South America. As a baseline, the Global Compact goals will be reflected in Argentine law, he said, noting that the country has, in some cases, exceeded those standards. Highlighting Argentina’s generous and hospitable nature, he said those fleeing war and persecution have found home and freedom in the country, adding that of its previous six Presidents, four were first-generation children of migrants.
CHUNG BYUNG-HA (Republic of Korea) said that the last 18 months of consultations and negotiations had not been easy. During consultations, the Republic of Korea particularly emphasized the importance of including gender-responsive and child-sensitive approaches. “We are pleased to see that these approaches are included in the guiding principles,” he added. The Global Compact contains many actions that will contribute to more effective migration management. He underscored the need to strengthen transnational cooperation against trafficking in human beings. Noting the non-legally binding nature of the Global Compact, he reaffirmed the inherent sovereign rights of States to determine their national migration policy. The Republic of Korea will participate in the Global Compact as long as it does not infringe upon its national rights to take decisions. He also welcomed comprehensive partnerships with States, civil society and local communities.
XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said the Intergovernmental Conference is being held at a time when the international arena is facing unprecedented migration flows. The holistic approach underpinning the process leading up to the Global Compact demonstrates the determination of countries across the world to move beyond outmoded clichés of migration to achieve consensus. The agreement is a response to one of the great challenges of this era, providing a framework for cooperation that recognizes the principle of State sovereignty in line with commitments made to the New York Declaration. It is also the culmination of a dialogue process highlighting the realities of migration. The international community now has a North Star to guide it when addressing today’s challenges. As a host country for migrants of all backgrounds, Gabon remains convinced that all migrants, whatever their legal status, are entitled to enjoy the full respect of their human rights.
JORGE ENRIQUEMUIÑO DE CORSO (Uruguay) said his country was built because of immigrants, whose descendants make up a significant part of today’s population. From the 1960s onwards, Uruguay faced democratic instability, including a period of dictatorship, which prompted many to leave the country, a trend that has slowed in the twenty-first century. Uruguay understands what it means to welcome immigrants, many of whom come from the region, trying to improve their living standards, or forced to move because of social, political or economic crises, and increasingly, environmental reasons. Noting that Uruguay has ratified the most important international migration treaties and adopted national laws respecting migrant rights, he said principles guiding such efforts include equal treatment between nationals and non-nationals, sociocultural integration, gender-equality and the protection of vulnerable migrant groups. Migration is a consequence of an unfair world and States must work with a great deal of empathy to help migrants; all are potential drivers of development. He voiced concern that countries, some with large migrant populations, have not joined the Global Compact and expressed hope that they would revise their positions. Migrants are not a threat to national security, he said, adding that Uruguay will continue to build regular and secure pathways and provide clear information for those choosing to live in the country.
Mr. SUKHARULIDZE (Georgia) said the Global Compact is an expression of goodwill to prevent irregular migration through a balanced approach based on national interests and existing needs. Two facts prompted Georgia to join ‑ a number of measures envisioned by the Global Compact cooperative framework have already been put in place or implemented to improve migration management. In addition, Georgia is implementing these measures in cooperation with the European Union, the United Nations and other partner organizations and States. The non-legally binding nature of the Global Compact allows for the consideration of national interests, alongside modern challenges to be faced globally.
FARAJI K. MNYEPE (United Republic of Tanzania) said migration must be managed in a manner that harnesses the potential for immense benefits for migrants, host communities and communities of origin. The United Republic of Tanzania is a country of origin, transit and destination, having faced the challenge of migration movements in Africa. He urged Member States to put in practice all the short-, medium- and long-term approaches to migration governance. These approaches must respond both to the right to migrate and to the sovereign right of States to protect their borders. His Government recognizes the importance of the Global Compact’s objectives and its links with the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which showcases a new way States are tackling complex issues. Commending IOM efforts, he reiterated the non-legally binding nature of the Global Compact.
SHEILA CAREY (Bahamas) said that, as a porous, archipelagic nation located near both source and destination countries, her nation experiences mixed migration from within and outside the region. While it welcomes the value added by migrants’ contributions, it is challenged by the enormous influx of undocumented migrants making the Bahamas their destination country. Welcoming the non-legally binding nature of the Global Compact, she said its adoption offers a foundation for bolstering cooperation and governance. Its implementation relies on efforts at grass‑roots, national, regional and global levels, she said, emphasizing the value to be added by the United Nations capacity-building mechanism, especially in the collection of data that will inform responses.
ELISENDA VIVES BALMAÑA (Andorra) called the Compact an indispensable road map, recalling her own country’s history of migration. “Through migration, Andorra has found other opportunities for development. Immigrant populations participate every day in our country’s growth,” she said. Currently, there are over 100 nationalities living side by side in Andorra. Recognizing that the country will not be spared from the phenomenon of migration and the challenges that come with it, Andorra’s Government is working to construct a moral defence against actions that run counter to its beliefs. That includes discrimination on the basis of origin. Migration is as old as humanity, she said, also adding that it is a complex phenomenon. She welcomed the Compact’s focus on children, women and girls, who are often the victims of trafficking and exploitation. The fight against human trafficking must be a priority, she added, calling on Member States to bring traffickers to justice and protect victims.
MILOS PRICA (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said the history of the world is partly the history of migration. In modern times, its main drivers are weak economies, wars, political turmoil, natural disasters and climate change. During and after Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tragic war from 1992 to 1995, there was a huge wave of migration, followed by a second wave in which many of the country’s skilled and educated citizens migrated to advanced European countries that opened their job market to foreigners. Turning to the current migration crisis in Europe, he said that until recently, Bosnia and Herzegovina had not been significantly affected. However, since the beginning of 2018, illegal migration has sharply risen, with many attempting to reach Croatia and the rest of the European Union. With the assistance of international organizations, his country is doing its best to cope with their needs for food, health care and other basic social services. He called for orchestrated efforts at national, regional and global levels to respond to the needs of migrants and respect their human rights. Highlighting some of the illegal groups and activities that can stem from such situations, he welcomed the attention the Global Compact gives to migrant smuggling and a need for a transnational response.
AUSAMAH ALABSI (Bahrain) said “we are at a dangerous era” amid decreased empathy. The Global Compact is not about who passes through borders — the sovereign right to admit foreign nationals is uncontested — but rather about how to address their needs once they arrive. In 2004, Bahrain started by changing the narrative, with the goal of leaving behind the legacy sponsorship system as the one and only way to manage migration. In 2006, Bahrain started to change its laws, reforming sponsorship to give due rights and protections to migrants and educate host communities. In 2017, Bahrain took a leap of faith, introducing a first-of-its-kind system that allows migrants to live and work in the country without a sponsor, an employer or a job. Holders of the new “flexi permit” are “masters of their own fate”, allowed to work anywhere with anyone, demand their own wages and unleash their potential, regardless of their skills or education, or from where they come — for as long as they want. “Temporary migration has never seen anything like this,” he said, clarifying that it is not a permanent immigration scheme. By empowering migrants, Bahrain alleviated hardship, opening access to justice, and more importantly, choice.
KEISHA MCGUIRE (Grenada) expressed her delegation’s commitment to the Global Compact, recalling that, on 29 June, her country officially joined IOM. Recognizing the positive contributions of migrants, she said that policies and strategies confronting the challenges posed by such activity represent the means towards securing economic well-being and sustainable societies. “Migration is not a foreign term to our vocabulary,” she said, noting however that it is sometimes unpredictable. In neighbouring Caribbean Community (CARICOM) States, a focal point of influx for migration issues exists, she observed, adding that, as a small nation, Grenada cannot disregard the prospect of getting swept up by the “migration wave”. Caribbean islands are especially vulnerable to extreme weather and climate change which can cause displacement and set the migration process in motion. As such, a global agreement on long-term commitments must be consistent with science and guided by ethics, carrying a sense of urgency. The adoption of the Global Compact is a positive response to the international situation, demanding cooperation for problems that transcend borders, she observed.
GALEN LEE (Singapore) said that it is in keeping with the spirit of international cooperation, multilateralism and the Charter of the United Nations that his country has participated actively and constructively throughout the intergovernmental processes of the Compact. Singapore has kept its borders open to safe, orderly and regular migration by adopting a pragmatic and balanced approach. As the international community through the Compact seeks to address the underlying issues affecting the safe, orderly and regular migration of people, different national contexts must be taken into account. Singapore would like to place on record its understanding that the Compact is a non-legally binding cooperative framework that respects the sovereign right of each State to manage migration within its jurisdiction in accordance with its domestic laws, policies and circumstances, including the determination of the conditions in which migrants may enter, reside and take up employment, as well as in accordance with international law and applicable human rights obligations. States also have the discretion to consider implementing the operating principles and policy options listed under the objectives of the Global Compact.
RALALA ROGER PIERRE (Madagascar) said a long road has been travelled on the way to the Global Compact on topics that were not always easy to approach. Despite a few withdrawals, the convening of the Intergovernmental Conference demonstrates a will to move forward and manage migration. The world is at a historic turning point that he hoped would herald multilateral cooperation. This is the only way to achieve a balanced management of migration. Perhaps people do not want to see the hidden human drama and flouted human rights in migration, but these situations must be seen and awareness must be raised. Madagascar’s national migration policy is currently on the Government’s short-term agenda, he said, voicing support for the role international cooperation plays in the Global Compact, particularly with regard to trafficking and climate change.
Mr. HASHMI (Pakistan) said the Global Compact represents the success of multilateralism. Despite divergent interests, States came together to address migration in ways that are agreeable to origin, transit and destination countries. The agreement is a guide for exploring avenues for bilateral, regional and international cooperation; however, he expressed disappointment that some had stayed away from a global framework of political commitments and expressed hope they would soon revert to the Global Compact fold. While the agreement marked a new era of migration governance and dialogue, the litmus test will be the degree to which States are willing to sustain engagement, mutual understanding and mutual benefit, he said, noting that most migratory movements are taking place among and between developing countries. At the centre of the dialogue should be evidence, data and facts.
As an origin, transit and destination country, he said, Pakistan believes migration offers a win-win for all countries and is pursuing a whole-of-government approach, engaging bilaterally, notably with the European Union, on a range of issues, and contributing to regional consultative processes. As a destination country, it hosts more than 1 million irregular migrants from neighbouring countries and the region. Their numbers and status notwithstanding, they enjoy social mobility, job opportunities and access to health care and education. No political party or group has resorted to xenophobic rhetoric. The impacts of restrictive policies and stringent border controls on the cycle of migration must be assessed. Regardless of their status, migrants are entitled to universal human rights, and racial profiling and Islamophobia must be countered in destination countries.
Ms. VARGAS JAUBERT (Costa Rica) recalled a report about Tiya, a small girl who was left in 2016 in the hands of Costa Rican authorities by the group she was traveling with. She was moved to a hostel for minors and only ate bread, not knowing where her mother was, and in her limited vocabulary, told a tale of horror. With stories like this in mind, Ms. Vargas Jaubert said, migration must be addressed at the global level, made visible and be managed in a coordinated manner at the international level. This migrant girl will now be the responsibility of States that have adopted the Global Compact. She will have access to education, will learn at least three languages and will have emotional and physical health. Her family will be given rights and she will grow up and study and become the doctor that she wants to be, in a global society that is acting responsibly. The human face of migration needs to be presented and the international community needs to work together to look for common solutions. The Global Compact will facilitate action and lead to the protection of migrants while dovetailing with the 2030 Agenda.
Mr. BWESIGYE (Uganda) said that the Compact has set out to strengthen international cooperation and solidarity by addressing migration in a holistic manner. It has been demonstrated that no State can address migration on its own, due to the transnational nature of the phenomenon. It is, therefore, critical that efforts are redoubled to strengthen mechanisms for enhanced international cooperation that will engender a comprehensive and integrated approach to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. Uganda, as a country of origin, transit and destination, attaches great importance to the Compact. At the subregional level, it is working with neighbouring countries within the East African Community and has launched the Northern Corridor Integration Projects, which are anchored on critical infrastructure projects on railways, roads, energy production and transmission, and oil and gas exploitation, to bring about socioeconomic transformation. This will significantly contribute to addressing the root causes and adverse drivers that compel people to leave their countries of origin.
Mr. AYADOKOUN (Benin) drew attention to the Global Compact’s 23 objectives, notably covering the free circulation of goods and people, access to social services and the integration and protection of the most vulnerable. Having chosen to open its borders to mobility, Benin also had participated in all stages of work to agree on the Global Compact. “Human mobility gives the world meaning,” he said, underscoring the importance of the agreements to migrants themselves, and describing it as the fruit of dialogue among States and national, regional and global organizations. He appreciated the work of civil society in forging the Global Compact. Benin, which has more than 11 million inhabitants, is both a host and transit country, making it part of the migration chain. The Government has created a national employment agency, removed entry visa requirements for all African citizens — making the country a “precursor” to the Global Compact — and ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
ALEXANDER GRANT NTRAKWA (Ghana) recalled that the nations of his continent negotiated the Global Compact as a group based on the African common position. However, Ghana wished that particular concerns raised had been included in the agreement to ensure a complete and holistic approach. Such concerns include the call for an absolute prohibition of migration holding camps and shelters or other similar detention centres which may lead to serious violations and abuses of migrants’ human rights. Moreover, the need to end child detention did not receive the attention it deserved, he pointed out. On implementation, he noted that Ghana launched a national migration policy and implementation plan in 2016. The major objective of that plan is to promote and protect the rights, interests, security and welfare of citizens and migrants within and outside Ghana. It is anchored within the context of the 2006 African Union Strategic Framework for Migration, as well as the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration and Development.
RUDDY FLORES MONTERREY (Bolivia) said that his country promotes universal citizenship as a way of bringing people together. This is a demonstration of the strength of multilateralism and it is important that the Global Compact has been approved. However, this is only the first step and the great challenge is to strengthen it during its implementation. The crisis of migrants in various parts of the world is due to the failure of the global system to prevent the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few to the detriment of the majority. A global system must be developed in which people and nature live in harmony. Bolivia advocates living in harmony with Mother Earth and all human beings regardless of their place of origin. Migration is a right and not a crime. The contribution of migrants to populations is reflected in many spheres, including social, academic and political. This is in contrast to the security policies of some States which criticize migration and categorize some migrants as “illegals”. Migrants should have rights and access to justice. The principle of non-refoulement and the best interests of children should be respected. Achieving universal citizenship should be the end goal.
PASCAL TEIXEIRA (France) welcomed the Global Compact as the first of its kind at the United Nations, involving commitments to respect State sovereignty and distinguish between regular and irregular migration, and recalling the need for origin countries to readmit their nationals. The Global Compact must be managed with full respect for human rights. It will help reduce irregular migration and combat both smuggling and its related criminal networks. All countries are those of origin, transit or destination — and sometimes all three, a fact underpinning the shared responsibility among all nations. He reaffirmed the need for cooperation and permanent dialogue among concerned States, stressing: “I know this is not a conviction shared by everyone.” France is driven by the belief that multilateralism is the only response to global challenges and that human mobility will likely increase in the coming decades. “It is illusory to think we can build walls,” he said, noting nonetheless that there is no absolute right to migration and that the Compact does not create one. States have the prerogative to determine who enters their territories and all cooperation is underpinned by rules. Pressing States to commit to dismantling smuggling networks and bolster border control, he said the Global Compact proposes measures to those ends. Migration also involves facilitating return home from States where they have landed. A primary responsibility is to protect migrants’ lives by ending situations where their safety and dignity is under threat.
Ms. De SUZA (Saint Kitts and Nevis) said migration benefits both migrants and host communities in economic and social terms and thus called for united efforts to address the challenges that meet “our shores”. A destination country, Saint Kitts and Nevis has advanced its legislation to better address new realities, notably to protect its borders. Noting that climate change is likely to exacerbate economic, environmental and social pressures in the coming decades, she welcomed that the international community has committed to minimizing climate effects and other structural factors compelling people to leave their countries of origin. More broadly, she echoed the Global Compact’s call for the reduced transaction costs of remittances and, noting the increase in migrant communities from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba and Saint Kitts and Nevis promotes mutual respect for their cultures by incorporating festivals into its entertainment calendar. “Public discourse on perceptions of migrants is vital,” she said, noting that, for small island developing States like hers, bolstered cooperation is vital.
Mr. Al DAHHAK (Syria), commending the adoption of the Compact, said that the objectives of the text are in line with international law and the United Nations Charter, including the principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs. Interference in domestic affairs threatens international peace and security. The Middle East suffers from hegemony, including occupation by Israel and support for terrorists by some United Nations Member States, including the United States-led coalition. This has caused many Syrians to leave the country. It is necessary to prevent terrorist groups from grabbing financial resources. Over the past seven years, the Syrian Government has strived to protect its own people, and has undertaken measures to combat human trafficking in cooperation with IOM and other partners, including non-governmental organizations. Some States have politicized the issue of reconstructing Syria.
DAVID MAJED (Afghanistan) said that his country is faced with long-lasting challenges caused by war and poverty. These challenges and fear for the future create pressure on Afghans to leave their country and seek better opportunities for themselves and their children. About 6 million Afghans currently live overseas. The Government is committed to coordinate among national and international stakeholders to manage its migration affairs. It has put in place the necessary policies and related instruments, such as a High Commission for Migration, a ministerial committee and an action plan for returnees and internally displaced persons. Afghanistan faces difficulties and has not found an ideal method to address illegal immigration. His Government stands behind the Compact and notes the need to reduce vulnerabilities in migration. There is also a need to stop building immigration detention centres, which, in reality, are jails. It is important that Governments and politicians respect migrants as dignified human beings.
ANTONIO VITORINO, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, said the Global Compact is a truly historic achievement. As the United Nations Secretary-General said yesterday, the agreement does not encourage migration nor does it aim to stop it. It respects the sovereignty of States and it is not legally binding. It is self-evident, however, that Member States will play the leading role in its implementation, starting at the national level. Each State must determine its own priorities, he said, emphasizing that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. During the Intergovernmental Conference, many good ideas about implementation have been shared, but the common thread is that implementation will require not only cooperation between States, but also cooperation with other relevant stakeholders, including civil society, diaspora and academia. Engagement in regional efforts will also be important. One innovation is the Global Compact’s recognition that implementation should be closely aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. He stressed that building the capacity of Member States and other stakeholders will be important for achieving the agreement’s objectives. In that regard, the IOM stands ready to assist all Member States through a systemic, robust and balanced approach to implementation, building on regular, safe and orderly migration while combatting human trafficking and irregular migration, he said, adding that the agency will also play a coordinating role between other entities within the United Nations system. Throughout the migration process, human dignity must be at the centre of concerns and action.
ALBRECHT FREIHERR VON BOESELAGER, observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta, said that even though the Order had hoped for stronger language in some areas, it broadly supported all 23 objectives of the Global Compact, which provided a balanced approach for all countries concerned. While migration provides opportunities and benefits for migrants, host communities and countries of origin, poorly regulated migration can create significant challenges. Placing human life and dignity at the centre of its action, the Order provides humanitarian assistance to the sick, poor and vulnerable. Raising walls and closing off borders will not reduce the influx of migrants, and are far–sighted solutions to a phenomenon that will continue well into the future. Legal pathways, agreements with countries of origin and transit, and better and more humane facilities are needed for a safe, orderly and regular migration. He welcomed the reference in the Global Compact to the role of religious institutions and faith–based organizations in its implementation as they are often trusted first responders and long–term community partners in crisis situations.
PEDRO ROQUE, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, said the Assembly has promoted the Global Compact since the beginning of the drafting process and it is committed to its follow-up. Parliaments should play a key role in monitoring and supervising the implementation of the commitments made by their respective Governments. It is important to harmonize national legislation with the Global Compact and its implementation. To that end, the Assembly will hold a dedicated meeting next June, in Turkey, to discuss how the values and provisions of the agreement can be applied in the Euro-Mediterranean region. The Assembly wishes to involve the Parliaments of those countries that abstained from the adoption of the Global Compact, he stressed.
MICHAEL SPINDELEGGER, Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, said the Centre is a regional organization with a global outlook and, therefore, welcomed the great leap forward reflected in the Global Compact. Its adoption is not an end in itself, rather it marks the beginning of an ambitious, long-term endeavour. “We will be able to convince those who have concerns towards some provisions of the agreement as a whole as soon as we can show that the Global Compact for Migration brings the envisaged results of better-regulated migration,” he said. Migration connects people, communities, countries and regions in unprecedented ways. In Europe, a number of well-developed regional partnership frameworks are in place, he said, expressing hope that the agreement will create an enabling global climate to reinforce these regional structures.
DAVID FISHER, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said it is pleased that many of its concerns are reflected in the Global Compact. However, the hard work of implementation lies ahead, he said, stating that the ICRC, with its expertise, stands ready to support States in turning the agreement into action. Fields in which the ICRC can assist include ensuring the proper and dignified management of the thousands of migrants who die or go missing every year. The ICRC can also visit detained migrants, providing them with humanitarian assistance and determining if they are being afforded due process. More broadly, the organization is ready to work with States to ensure that migration policies respect international law, thus protecting the rights and dignity of migrants while alleviating human suffering.
ISABELLE DURANT, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), discussed the entity’s contribution to the Global Compact. She noted that, in Africa, better managed migration could produce a 2.3 per cent increase in GDP. Emphasizing that small actions can have a significant impact, she drew attention to a guidebook – produced with UNHCR and IOM – to assist States in developing policies to encourage entrepreneurship among migrants and refugees, drawing on their experiences and their resilience while remaining mindful of local populations and host communities which are themselves often in difficult situations.
PHILIPPE TREMBLAY, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that while people move in large numbers in an increasingly interconnected world, the governance of the complex and multifaceted phenomenon of migration is only now coming into being. Recent large-scale migratory movements have engendered pressures at the local, regional and national levels which authorities and communities have found increasingly difficult to respond to. Public debates are being driven to extremes, bringing xenophobia back into the mainstream. Against this backdrop, OSCE aims to be an inclusive, broad-based, regional platform where the connections between regular and irregular migration can be better understood and tackled. It offers the concept of comprehensive security, spanning human, economic and environmental, as well as politico-military issues. A key area of its work focuses on combatting cross-border crime, including fighting trafficking in persons along migration routes. The OSCE is uniquely placed to complement ongoing efforts ensuring that the protection of migrant rights “is not sacrificed on the altar of security”, while also ensuring that migration’s benefits are not undermined by ill-conceived policies, he pointed out.
HENRI ELI MONCEAU, observer for the International Organization of La Francophonie, said that the adoption of the Global Compact is an important step in international efforts to govern migration. His organization comprises 88 member States on five continents. They are affected by migration and mass displacement. At the 2016 meeting during which the New York Declaration was adopted, his organization’s head stressed the urgent need for a multilateral, comprehensive approach to address this phenomenon. No organization can alone deal with the challenges posed by migratory movements, which require a comprehensive approach to ensure that migration benefits everyone. He expressed his organization’s commitment to stand by all Government efforts to implement the Global Compact.
ENAS MOSTAFA EL-FERGANY, observer for the League of Arab States, said the number of migrants and refugees in the Arab region has increased since 2011. Arab States host 40 per cent of the world’s migrants. The League has established many mechanisms within the region to address migration concerns, including a working group to further understand the phenomenon and a technical committee. The League is considering the establishment of a working group to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation with the European Union. During the regional consultative process in 2017, Arab States adopted their positions on the Global Compact and they are planning to hold consultations on its implementation.
Tomas Bocek, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, said sustainable governance can only be effective if it is founded on human rights and the rule of law. Migration is no different. In that spirit, the Council of Europe welcomes and supports the Global Compact. Emphasizing the role of capacity development and partnership, he underscored the Council of Europe’s expertise while acknowledging that implementation will be challenging at a time of shifting public opinion and a hardening of State attitudes to migration, with security approaches prevailing. He pointed to the Council of Europe’s response to the appalling situation of refugee and migrant children, including the adoption of an action plan by its member States, as a successful example of capacity-building. This is a challenging time, but there can be no compromising on values and principles.
JESÚS GUADALUPE FUENTES of the Fund for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean said there are about 800 indigenous peoples in the region with a combined population of 45 million people. While most of these peoples migrate for economic and commercial reasons, others are forced to move because of mega projects, poverty, lack of basic services, climate change and other factors. Agreements must recognize their unique situation, especially their human rights and vulnerability. He welcomed the inclusion of language in the Global Compact to reduce their vulnerability. Indigenous peoples are not as visible as they should be, but they do exist, he said, emphasizing the need to consider their needs in migration governance.
FRANCESCO ROCCA, observer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said volunteers are doing what they can to help migrants on their journeys by providing health and psychosocial services, food, shelter, information and more. They respond to such needs without seeking to encourage, discourage or prevent migration, also supporting persons in need in host communities. “It is critical that we not artificially place these needs and these vulnerable people in opposition to each other,” he said. Many problems could be avoided with more investment in rescue efforts, better information and a more victim-centred approach to preventing trafficking and smuggling. Moreover, migrants must have effective access to essential services without fearing detention or arrest, he said, urging States never to use detention except as a last resort. The impact of such detention is especially heavy on children, who suffer irreparable damage to their well-being.
ALICIA BARCENA, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Current Co-ordinator of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions, said that while international migration is a global phenomenon, it occurs mostly within regions. The root causes of migration have different regional particularities, she observed, noting that regional economic commissions can contribute by promoting data improvement to support evidence-based migration governance for the benefit of countries and migrants alike. Moreover, regional economic commissions have convening power to bring countries and other stakeholders together to discuss follow-up measures and propose concrete action, providing intergovernmental regional platforms and participating in interagency forums. They can also contribute by proposing evidence-based policy analysis to establish critical links between demographics, migration and economic aspects. Also, they can provide a regional online knowledge platform as an open data source, supporting regional centres for research and training on migration. In addition, they can help link the implementation of the Global Compact to South-South cooperation, enhancing the portability of rights, social security and education titles among others.
MAUREEN HINDA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Namibia, emphasizing that respect for human rights is a cornerstone of her country’s Constitution, said there is an urgent need for a new global governance framework to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration while combatting exploitation. She underscored the importance of reliable civil registration and conveyed her Government’s support for efforts to put migration on the global agenda. Namibia is committed to the Global Compact and will implement it in a manner that is relevant to its context. Migration is as essential as the movement of goods and natural resources, she said, adding that it has only been through migration that the world has advanced.
GUY RYDER, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said ILO founders would have enthusiastically welcomed the employment-related provisions of the Global Compact, including those dealing with forced labour and child labour. Realizing the agreement’s objectives will be no less challenging now than in other periods of history. Citing recent ILO estimates, he said there are now 164 million migrant workers around the world, representing a 9 per cent increase from four years ago. Many of these workers are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. In this context, the Global Compact offers Member States, international organizations and others an opportunity to put the situation right so that migration truly renders benefits to countries of origin and destination and to migrants themselves and their families. Going forward, he said ILO can bring to the task of implementation a strong normative framework, direct involvement of its worker and employer constituents, efforts of its Government members and nearly 100 years of commitment to promoting social justice for all.
KOSTAS STAMOULIS, Assistant Secretary-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), outlined ways for his agency to contribute to implementing the Global Compact. Migration is closely linked to FAO goals, including the aim of eradicating hunger through agriculture and rural development. More than 1 billion people move within their countries, including within rural areas. Understanding the drivers of migration is key to formulating adequate responses. Investing in agriculture and rural development is vital for migration to work. FAO is committed to strengthen partnership with countries in implementing the new agreement.
ILIAS CHATZIS, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), welcomed the inclusion in the Global Compact of objective 9 and 10 on strengthening the transnational response to smuggling of migrants, as well as on preventing, combating and eradicating trafficking in persons in the context of international migration. These objectives reinforce the existing international legal framework, referencing the United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons as relevant, actionable instruments. These protocols have almost universal acceptance today with 147 and 173 State Parties, respectively, yet there remains a need to fully implement the contained obligations and rights.
MEHREEN AFZAL, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said it considers the Global Compact to be both principled and actionable, respectful of State sovereignty and a catalyst for collective action. It reflects current migration dynamics with a forward-looking objective of identifying areas where more evidence and thought is needed. The agreement has resulted in the creation of the United Nations Migration Network, of which UNHCR is a part. Next week, the General Assembly will consider its annual resolution on the work of UNHCR. This year is significant as the adoption of the resolution will herald the Global Compact on Refugees, which offers an approach for securing more predictable and sustained support for countries hosting refugees. Together, both compacts mark a watershed moment in fulfilling the objective of the New York Declaration of more effectively and equitably addressing large movements of refugees and migrants.
MARIKA PALOSAARI, Programme Coordinator at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said that, at first glance, environmental degradation and climate change often constitute the hidden drivers of migration. “But, worsening environmental conditions that affect livelihood opportunities are increasingly the actual root causes of the problems,” she said. The Global Compact recognizes the need to better map, understand and address such movements, calling for adaptation and resilience strategies and mechanisms. Highlighting the importance of implementing existing frameworks related to the environment, climate change and disaster risk reduction, she said UNEP is firmly committed to further engage partners to identify approaches required to address such drivers of migration. It is also keen to implement community-led and nature-based solutions, such as vegetation regeneration, watershed restoration and constructed wetlands. “Cooperating over shared resources or common environmental challenges can rebuild trust and resilience among divided communities,” she noted, pointing out that early action and support to enable communities to adapt in place can significantly reduce migration.
CRAIG MOKHIBER, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that with the Global Compact the international community has drawn a line between the abusive, chaotic and ultimately failed approaches to migration of the past and a new human rights-based vision for safe, orderly migration. “In drawing this line, the United Nations remained true to its founding principles, and has come down boldly and unapologetically on the side of dignity, the side of humanity, and the side of human rights,” he said. “It has chartered a course away from a failed paradigm of migration that in recent years has left migrants to drown at sea or die in the desert, destabilized Governments, fed self-destructive securitization, wasted resources, and violated the human rights of millions of migrants,” he said. Working through the Global Compact, OHCHR had provided detailed guidance on protecting migrants in vulnerable situations and protecting their human rights at borders. OHCHR is providing assistance on protecting and reducing vulnerabilities for migrants, combatting hate speech and xenophobia, countering misinformation and distortions about migrants, and effective and humane border management.
VERENA KNAUS, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said the Global Compact provides States with a critical tool to better meet their existing legal obligations to protect, integrate and empower all children. One in three international migrants is younger than 30, she observed, noting that 30 million children have been forced to leave their homes. “When migration is poorly managed, child migrants remain invisible and extremely vulnerable,” she said, adding that well-managed migration policies can make young people targets of investments and development assistance. By implementing the agreement, States can better address causes that uproot children from their homes, provide migrant children with better access to education and health services, and offer them stronger protection from exploitation and violence. Moreover, the number of children detained because of their migration status can be reduced to zero because effective alternatives exist that ensure both compliance and protection. Cross-border cooperation can also be strengthened in order to protect children at every step of their journeys, she noted.
SANTINO SEVERONI of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that he welcomes the Global Compact and its inclusion of the issue of health. Through the Compact, the agency would like to avoid parallel services for migrants and encourage national health system strengthening for both host communities and migrants. It would also like to strengthen local and national health systems to be prepared, resilient and migrant‑sensitive, taking into account cultural diversities and specific health needs of migrants, particularly women and children. It would also like to establish and support cross‑border, multi-country operations to safeguard migrant health in places of origin, transit and destination. In addition, it would welcome a coordinated approach, considering health as a common guiding principle in acknowledging migrants on the basis of the “one population” concept and stands ready to provide the technical support needed in the implementation of the Compact.
OWEN SHUMBA, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said that Member States can count on UNDP as a key development partner. UNDP works with other United Nations agencies to “support you effectively and bring its economic expertise to migration governance”, he said. Migration is a global reality which, in addition to national solutions, requires a global approach and shared responsibilities. UNDP is pleased to be a member of the United Nations Network Executive Committee on Migration. UNDP will support Member States in the implementation of objective 2 of the Global Compact on root causes of migration, objective 19 on the contribution of migration to sustainable development and objective 21 on the sustainable integration of migrants. In that regard, UNDP has already worked jointly with IOM to mainstream migration into national development plans, including in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Serbia and Tunisia, which has helped raise awareness of the close link between migration and development.
DENNIS SINYOLO, Senior Coordinator at Education International, expressed regret that some countries have opted out of the Global Compact. “Multilateralism has to be the cornerstone for cooperation in a globalized world,” he said. The agreement offers a much‑needed opportunity for States to work with the United Nations, trade unions and civil society in tackling migration challenges. Underscoring a need to address the cause of migration and displacement, he said host and transit countries should ensure migrants’ access to quality public services, notably education regardless of their status and guarantee that curricula reflect the increasing diversity of student populations. Most migration is employment related, and thus, the ultimate measure of the Global Compact’s success will be whether it makes a difference in the lives of migrant workers by ensuring their right to form and join trade unions, access social protections and engage in social dialogue, including collective bargaining. “Migration is not a crisis,” he said. “It is the governance of migration — or lack of it — that has become a crisis.”
IBRAHIM ABUBAKAR of the University College London-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health recalled that its first report was published in The Lancet in early December, saying the focus aspired to move forward action needed to ensure that migrant health is included in all policies. Creating health systems that integrate migrant populations will benefit entire communities with better access for all, but failing to do so could prove to be more expensive for national economies. Migrants are often met with restrictive access to services, despite the fact that the right to health is encompassed within several human rights instruments. Effectively addressing their health needs will advance not only their quality of life, but also ensure progress in sustainable development. International and regional bodies, as well as Member States must implement equitable access to health services within the scope of universal health coverage for migrants and rebalance policymaking to accord the appropriate prominence to related concerns. Further, he called for a paradigm shift in research on migration and health, including a deliberate effort to enhance funding mechanisms and networks supporting the change.
JILL GOLDENZIEL, Academic Council on the United Nations System, said that many academics stand ready to assist in the follow-up, review and implementation of the Global Compact. Academics have data on such topics and are willing to share the information. They are also skilled in designing monitoring and evaluation programmes while remaining objective. Academics can also help educate others about migration and about the Global Compact itself. They are skilled in translating complex phenomena to the general public and can educate stakeholders about the implementation process. In this way, they can help generate the political will necessary for its success. “Academics stand ready to help get the job done,” she said.
MARVELOUS MISOLAS, Maryknoll Sisters of Saint Dominic, said it works in cross-cultural missions in 29 countries, engaging with vulnerable peoples on the move. Large‑scale unsustainable developments have caused unmitigated destruction to nature and livelihoods, especially in rural areas. “As a faith-based community who worked with people on the move, in both countries of origin and destination, we stand in solidarity with migrants and their families,” she emphasized. As such, Maryknoll stands ready to work with Member States to implement the Global Compact for a robust and swift implementation and review.
STEFFEN ANGENENDT, Head of Global Issues Unit, German Institute for Foreign and Security Studies, said that, as researchers and foreign policy advisers to Germany’s Parliament and governments, his organization is concerned about the polarization of the Global Compact debate, making it more difficult to find common ground on migration policy. Questions must centre on how such divisions came about and what Governments can do. Often, the debate was based on insufficient information or fake news. The Internet is full of hate speech and supporters of the agreement are being defamed. No one involved in the drafting expected such debate. Governments negotiated as usual and the process was transparent. “Governments cannot be blamed,” he said. Going forward, they should create more scope for debate and bring critics and supporters to the table to voice their arguments. The debate should primarily take place in parliaments, but also at the local level, always in cooperation with civil society, with similar debates organized at regional and global levels. Such efforts should be the easier part of a better communication and implementation strategy. Far more difficult will be to address the misinformation and disinformation campaigns, he said, stressing that, in Germany, there were reports that a large number of recent critical tweets on the Compact were based on “social bots” — computer programmes pretending to be real people.
LOUISE ARBOUR, the Secretary-General of the Conference, said the meeting could not have benefited from a more inspiring and convivial environment in which to launch “one of the defining projects of our generation”. The Marrakech Compact will remain the reference for all future initiatives dealing with cross-border human mobility. Most importantly, the adoption of the Global Compact is a re-affirmation of the values and principles embodied in the United Nations Charter and in international law, and a demonstration that national and regional specificities can always be accommodated in the pursuit of a global common good. “For the first time in the history of the United Nations, we have been able to tackle an issue that was long seen as out of bounds for a truly concerted global effort,” she said, noting that there is probably no principle more fundamental in international affairs than the geographic allocation of space on the planet, confirmed by the universal recognition of State sovereignty.
Yet the drawings of lines on maps have never sufficed to confine people whose needs, ambitions, dreams and opportunities expanded their horizons, she said. Rather than ignore the impetus of some to relocate, or worse, attempt to crush it at unconscionable costs, the international community is now committed to safer and fairer ways of managing borders. As the many initiatives proposed in the Global Compact start to take root, lives will be saved, living conditions will improve, and communities will integrate and flourish through increased development and prosperity in many parts of the world. “Our efforts will, over time, contribute to reducing the profound inequities that the lottery of birth would otherwise continue to aggravate. We have attained an unsurpassed level of knowledge, competence and ingenuity, allowing us both to imagine a better world and to actually begin to construct it,” she concluded.
MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA GARCÉS, President of the General Assembly, said: “We came here with a clear goal and we have achieved it.” She noted that the Intergovernmental Conference enriched global dialogue on migration, providing a robust agreement. The eyes of the world have been focused on Marrakech, which has sent the message that multilateralism works and constitutes the only possible response to global challenges. A long and promising road remains for the agreement, she noted, calling attention to a General Assembly plenary to be held on 19 December to adopt a resolution formally endorsing the Global Compact. She will also designate co-facilitators who will conduct intergovernmental consultations to determine modalities for the agreement’s review forum, meeting every four years beginning in 2022.
She went on to note that the regional reviews reporting to that forum will also be of vital importance. The agreement’s implementation phase will require concerted efforts, cooperation and exchanges at all levels. As such, that phase will prove successful if a cross-cutting approach reflecting all migration dimensions is adopted. Each country must disseminate the agreement, avoiding incorrect or malevolent interpretations, she cautioned, also calling for the sharing of best practices and facilitating alliances with relevant stakeholders. “The path of hope that led us to Marrakech must continue; the opportunities are within our grasp,” she stressed, calling for decisive work to ensure that the United Nations is more relevant for migrants.
NASSER BOURITA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Morocco and President of the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, said Morocco’s teams have spared no effort to provide appropriate working conditions for the Conference. Marrakech has seen goodwill over the two days of the Conference, he observed, welcoming the delegations that have been able to broaden the dialogue on migration and implement the Global Compact’s commitments into action. “New York set the tone, Marrakech breathed new life into it and was a rallying point,” he said, observing that the commitments of the Global Compact remain to be implemented. In that regard, States must mobilize synergies in order to face challenges, including countering disinformation around the agreement and migration. Moreover, the Global Compact must seek to be universal, fostering State ownership. The United Nations Network on Migration will represent the cornerstone of cooperation in that regard. “I am proud that Morocco hosted this conference; Marrakech is the birthplace of this Global Compact,” he said, adding: “This will last in our memories forever.”