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UN General Assembly endorses Global Compact for Migration

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 in New York endorsed the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), the UN Network on Migration said in a statement.

Internal migration
Internal migration

According to the statement, the GCM was formally adopted with 152 votes in favour and five against while 12 abstained.

Welcoming the formal endorsement of the Compact by the General Assembly, the Network said the adoption of the GCM represented a landmark moment in the pursuit of international cooperation on migration for the benefit of all.

The statement said that Compact’s significance also lay in its recognition that effective migration policies, and greater protection of the vulnerable, required the support of many actors.

To that end, the Compact was strengthened by the engagement of a broad alliance of partners, including civil society, the private sector, trade unions, Diaspora and migrant communities, national human rights institutions, local authorities, youth networks and other actors, it noted.

The Compact was adopted on Dec. 10, during at the two-day Intergovernmental Conference on Migration in Marrakech, Morocco.

The GCM is the first-ever negotiated global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions.

Though non-legally binding, the Compact is the product of an intensive process of negotiations.

It provides a strong platform for cooperation on migration now and into the future, drawing on best practice and international law, to make migration safe and positive for all.

In her reaction, Ms. Louise Arbour, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, said in the statement that the formal endorsement of the Compact represented “a resounding commitment to an international migration framework based on fact, not myth.

“It is also based on an understanding that national migration policies are best implemented through cooperation not in isolation.

“As the many initiatives proposed by the Compact start to take root, we will see lives saved, living conditions improve, and communities integrate and flourish through increased development and prosperity.

“Looking to the future, we will be better equipped to rely on a spirit of solidarity, rather than on indifference or – worse – selfishness that could otherwise tear us apart.”

Similarly, Mr António Vitorino, the Director-General, International Organisation for Migration, said: “The Global Compact comes at an important moment.

“It contains within it the promise of an evidence-based less politically charged discourse on migration, a plan for developing more comprehensive policies to improve the lives of migrants and the communities in which they live, and the possibility to reduce dangerous, chaotic and irregular migration flows.”

Vitorino, speaking as the Network Coordinator on behalf of its Executive Committee and wider membership, described migration as a phenomenon with many dimensions.

“It touches on profound and urgent questions of sustainable development, climate change, humanitarian crisis, border control, security, fighting trafficking in human beings as well as smuggling, fostering means of legal migration, including for work, and greater protection of our universal human rights.

“No single part of the UN community can effectively address all dimensions of migration but together, we have the chance to make a real difference. That is what the Network is about,” he said.

The United Nations system expressed its commitment to supporting the implementation of the Global Compact through the creation of the UN Network on Migration.

It is a collaborative community of UN entities coming together to provide effective and coordinated support to member-states and other partners in carrying forward the objectives agreed to in Marrakech.

This Network will leverage the impact of the UN considerable expertise and capacity in helping to strengthen the benefits of migration and to address its many challenges.

It was established at the request of the secretary-general and is welcomed in the GCM.

It currently comprises 38 entities from within the UN system with an executive committee of eight which provides strategic oversight and is the principal decision-making body of the network.

Members of the Executieve Committee are the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Others are UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

By Nkechi Okoronkwo

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