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COVID-19 and People on the Move - Concept Note


On 3 June, in a major report, COVID-19 and People on the Move, the United Nations Secretary-General urged that global efforts to manage the andemic will depend upon public health responses and a comprehensive recovery that include all people. He pointed to the immense challenges faced by many in this crisis, including those on the move, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities and exposing them to greater dangers and discrimination. In charting a path to a world in which COVID-19 is contained or reversed – alongside addressing the significant economic havoc wrought by the virus – how we ensure future mobility is governed in an equitable manner will present a significant challenge for the international community.

In a discussion led by the Director-General of IOM, António Vitorino, as Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration, this latest webinar from the United Nations Network on Migration will explore some of the key ways to ensure the inclusion of people on the move as COVID-19 response and recovery measures are drawn up and implemented. It will be an opportunity to reimagine how migration can be governed in a more humane and effective way, during and after the crisis, including through the framework of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

COVID-19 is presenting critical challenges for everyone everywhere, compounded by restrictions on human mobility. These restrictions are exposing many people on the move to significant risks, impacting human rights and well-being, impeding effective responses to the pandemic, and imperilling prospects of a recovery in which no-one is left behind.

Yet during the COVID-19 response, migrants have provided critical labour in key sectors. Despite this, migrants have been frequently excluded from health and socio-economic protections, with many vulnerable to high levels of temporary, informal or unprotected work. These actions both violate fundamental human rights, reduce migrants – at least rhetorically – to mere metrics of labour – and undermine collective efforts to contain and rollback the virus.

In his policy brief, the Secretary-General reiterated that an effective recovery from COVID-19 requires national and global responses that include all people. More specifically, he calls on four basic tenets to advance safe and inclusive human mobility during and in the afternoon of COVID-19:

  1. Exclusion is costly in the long-run whereas inclusion pays off for everyone.
  2. The response to COVID-19 and protecting the human rights of people on the move are not mutually exclusive.
  3. No-one is safe until everyone is safe.
  4. People on the move are part of the solution.

This webinar will examine how best to use these four tenets during and after COVID-19 to ensure safe and inclusive human mobility for all.


The purpose of the webinar is to bring together policy-makers, State representatives, the UN system, advocates, and frontline actors, to unpack the aforementioned key issues, ask the tough questions and suggest lines of inquiry to help us, together, find the necessary responses.

The moderated discussion will be led by two or three lead discussants each of whom will suggest two or four main lines of inquiry or reflection. These will then be followed by an open conversation.

Jonathan Prentice, Head of the UN Network on Migration Secretariat


  • António Vitorino,
    Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration, Director-General of IOM
  • Liu Zhenmin,
    Under-Secretary-General, DESA
  • Gillian Triggs,
    Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, UNHCR
  • Charlotte Petri Gornitzka,
    Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Director, UNICEF
  • Asako Okai,
    Assistant Secretary General and Director, Crisis Bureau, UNDP
  • Moussa Oumarou,
    Deputy Director-General for Field Operations & Partnerships, ILO
  • Lead Discussant:
    Meghan Benton, Director of Research, MPI
  • Q&A from the floor


Please note that the webinar will be recorded and posted further on the Network website.



Submitted by Anne Althaus - 30 June 2020


Dear all,
I would like to know whether the recording of this recent webinar is already available and if you could share a Link.
With many thanks,
Anne Althaus

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