The Coordinator's Briefing 4 March 2020
Palais des Nations, Conference Room XII, 3rd floor, Building A
Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues,
It is a pleasure to meet again with you today.
I have the honour to be joined by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madame Bachelet, the Deputy Director General of ILO, Mr. Oumarou, and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR, Ms. Triggs. These are the three UN agencies based in Geneva that are part of the Executive Committee of the UN Network on Migration.
We will focus our remarks on the Network’s collaborative efforts for supporting you in implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
This will include the status of the Network’s workplan, more particularly with a focus on pilot or “champion” countries, as well as on a proposed framework to assist Member States to undertake regional reviews of the Global Compact this year. I will also take this opportunity to provide an update on the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund and inform you of the process for the forthcoming preparation of the SG’s report on the Global Compact implementation.
I will then ask Madame Bachelet, Mr. Oumarou and Ms. Triggs for their remarks before we open the floor to you for questions and comments.
Following this, colleagues will provide you with updates on the Network’s core working groups on the Global Knowledge Platform and Connection Hub as called for by the Global Compact; and the Network’s support at the national level towards implementation of the Global Compact.
The working groups of the Network best represent the spirit of partnership between the UN system and our stakeholder partners. They acknowledge and blend together the migration expertise existing both within and outside of the UN system. This reminds us that a single entity cannot address migration’s challenges and harness its opportunities alone. Indeed, the Network’s working groups are a reflection of the cooperative framework of the Global Compact itself.
We will then re-open the floor to you for your questions. This briefing is also being webcast and recorded; we will share a copy of my remarks with this recording shortly after the briefing. This will also be published on the Network website, as shown on the screen above.
After a nearly two-year consultation, and now more than a year after its adoption, the Global Compact on Migration remains the principal text by which to guide Member States’ collective efforts to improve international cooperation on migration in all its dimensions to benefit governments, communities and migrants themselves. It remains a watershed moment in multilateral relations, to have agreed on a comprehensive text that not only examines migration in a 360-degree manner, but also incorporates wide-ranging partnerships both within governments and throughout society.
The Network strives, through its working principles, to achieve effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States by respecting the principles of the Global Compact itself. In all that it does, the Network is guided by the UN Charter, international law, and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.
The Network seeks ways to work efficiently with a focus on results-oriented objectives. This is why the inaugural workplan of the Network has focused so specifically on rolling out support to Member States at the national level – with an early focus on champion countries, regional reviews and operationalizing all elements of the capacity building mechanism.
Let me turn our attention towards the concept of champion countries of the Global Compact. Through the comprehensive nature of the Global Compact, both Member States and the UN system along with our partners, have an ambitious goal with rather short deadlines: namely, how best to begin implementing the Global Compact on Migration.
The Network is seeking to begin its work with champion countries. This is, in effect, a process designed to establish a non-exclusive group of states – from all regions, representing the Compact’s global nature and comprising all aspects of migration’s narrative arc – to help demonstrate the value of the Compact as a framework for action on safe, orderly and regular migration. The Network would stand ready both to assist and learn from the experiences of these states, the Compact’s follow-up and review, or in generating key insights, lessons learned, and positive practices that can be shared with others.
More specifically, champion countries can both contribute to and test the guidance material, technical assistance, and other tools developed under the Network’s workplan and act as a foundation for future Network action. Such information will feed into the Global Compact’s capacity building mechanism, in particular the Global Knowledge Platform and the Connection Hub.
Further, it is hoped that these countries – whose agreement to play this role, of course, is essential -- will serve as champions of the Global Compact. Whether by promoting the regional reviews; preparing voluntary reviews in consultation with all relevant stakeholders; advocating for inter-state cooperation through peer exchanges; or contributing to a greater understanding as to how to incorporate the Global Compact’s guiding principles in all approaches to migration, we can collectively only benefit from such focused support.
While the Network has identified a short-list of potential champion countries, consultations are still ongoing at the country level between the Resident Coordinator and UN country team, where applicable, with the national government. Once we have confirmations from the respective governments, the initial list of champion countries will be made public on the Network website.
I am pleased to tell you today that El Salvador and Portugal have already accepted to be champions. I look forward to work with both and all others willing to join the group of champion countries.
Let me take this opportunity to highlight – and this is very important - that non-champion countries are not excluded from Network support. Just the opposite – we invite them to seek Network support, as needed. We will continue to encourage the creation of Network coordination structures at UN regional and country levels, as a major element of providing coherent system-wide support to Global Compact implementation, including alignment with its guiding principles.
Member States committed to review the progress made at local, national, regional and global levels in implementing the Global Compact in the framework of the United Nations through a State-led approach and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders. For follow-up and review, Member States agreed on intergovernmental measures that will assist us in fulfilling our objectives and commitments.
They further recognized that most international migration takes place within regions and invited all relevant processes, the UN Regional Economic Commissions and all Regional Consultative Processes, to review implementation of the Compact, beginning in this year in 2020.
This highlights many of the remarkable features of the Global Compact. Namely: i. inclusivity, ensuring the participation of all relevant stakeholders, especially from civil society; ii. a commitment to dialogue, recognizing that no state’s migration priorities can be achieved in isolation; and iii. a premium placed on engagement, ensuring that the Compact does not gather dust but, rather, remains a living document. As we embark on this first round of regional reviews, we should hold these three elements clearly in the forefront of our minds, recognizing the opportunities that they present.
What might they mean in practice? To my mind, the guidance in the Global Compact, followed up in the General Assembly’s modalities resolution (73/326), provides for considerable flexibility in how to move forward, purposefully respecting the diversity of perspectives, trends and challenges of migration in each region.
As each region is different in its migration experiences, so too will there be differences in how Member States in different regions will choose to conduct regional reviews of the Global Compact. Regional reviews do not need to be limited to one forum, one review or one outcome. Rather, we should consider to weave together a process – or series – of discussions, across a range of venues and throughout the year, contributing to a greater understanding of regional and sub-regional migration issues to, in the words of the Global Compact, ‘effectively inform each edition of the International Migration Review Forum’ starting in 2022 under the auspices of the General Assembly.
The vision and guiding principles enshrined in the Global Compact will provide guidance for the regional reviews process.These principles emphasize the Compact’s comprehensive approach to migration; the prerogatives of national sovereignty; the centrality of human rights and the rule of law; and the vital importance of gender-responsive and child-sensitive approaches.
They stress the need for cooperation – internationally; within government at all levels; and within society, allowing space for all voices. And they emphasize that the Compact is rooted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is also the case, and perhaps no coincidence, that the first of the guiding principles reminds us that our task must be to promote the well-being of migrants and their communities – that we must place individuals at the core of all we do.
Seeking to support Member States with the regional reviews, the Network has put forward a proposal to emphasize all these elements:
• The commitment to review, in the framework of the United Nations, through a Stateled approach;
• That there is no-one regional review, rather it presents an opportunity for multiple fora to engage;
• That the content that emerges from this process might differ from region to region (from sub-region, even, to sub-region) while also sharing many – possibly sometimes surprising – similarities. These can only emerge as the process gets underway;
• That discussions to be most fruitful must take place within an environment that is at once both inclusive and tolerant of differing views – features which so marked the process of negotiation for the Global Compact; and,
• That consistency of approach, within and between regions, based on the vision and guiding principles of the Global Compact might best serve as our roadmap in moving forward.
We also hope that national level implementation of the Global Compact can further contribute to these regional reviews.
To assist in moving the process forward, we will, upload the checklist and templates that we have prepared onto the Network’s website.
The Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund (Migration MPTF) is fully operational and will begin to support Global Compact implementation in a number of countries this year.
The Steering Committee of the Migration MPTF agreed on a very ambitious timetable that will see the first joint programmes starting implementation before the end of 2020. It will meet again at the end of this month to review the first concept notes submitted by UN Country Teams and decide on which to support with the resources currently available. The Steering Committee will also constitute a pipeline - and this is very important - of joint programme concept notes to use as a fundraising tool and from which to make future allocation decisions.
In line with the Steering Committee decision, the Network secretariat’s Fund Management Unit focused its outreach and technical support towards a geographically balanced group of 22 countries that, for the most part, overlapped with the potential champion countries identified by the Network. This overlap was intentional as the Migration MPTF Steering Committee and the Network Executive Committee are keen to ensure coherence between their respective work.
However, all countries willing to implement the Global Compact are and will remain eligible to receive funding from the Migration MPTF and all proposals will be considered on an equal footing.
The deadline to receive concept notes for consideration at the next Steering Committee meeting has just expired. Review of these has just started and- to be honest - it is too early to assess their relevance or confirm how many meet the eligibility criteria. However, from the sheer number and variety of submissions, it is clear that the Migration MPTF responds to a real need. The demand for support is strong. Fifty-nine concept notes were received from 48 countries or regional and sub-regional groupings.
A minimum of six concept notes were received for each of the five thematic areas and, while roughly half the concept notes came from Africa, all regions submitted concept notes. This thematic and geographic diversity should enable the Migration MPTF to adopt a balanced approach.
Finally, it is worth underlining the involvement of the United Nations Network on Migration as a whole: 18 different UN Organizations have participated in the elaboration of concept notes, demonstrating the eagerness of the United Nations Development System to engage in joint programming and make the Network an operational reality on the ground.
We encourage countries that have not yet done so and wish to propose joint programme ideas to submit concept notes throughout the year: the concept notes will be reviewed on a rolling basis and can be added to the pipeline of projects at subsequent Steering Committee meetings.
We also strongly encourage Member States to contribute to the Migration MPTF. A broad donor base, including many contributors beyond the traditional donors, is in the spirit of the Global Compact and sends a very positive signal regarding the shared commitment.
To date, contributions or commitments to contribute have been received from Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Thailand, and the United Kingdom for a total amount of over US$ 12 million. I am glad to report that a significant portion is unearmarked and that the earmarked portion is divided amongst three thematic areas, effectively enabling the Steering Committee to abide by the 360-degree principle of the Global Compact.
Finally, in 2020 we will have the first Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Global Compact on Migration. This will include a review of the activities of the UN system in this regard and the functioning of the institutional arrangements including of the Network.
The report will also include an update on a number of the activities described in this briefing today.
We will begin to hold informal consultations with Member States, migrants and relevant stakeholders, as well as UN country teams and regional coordination mechanisms this spring as we begin outlining and drafting the Secretary-General’s report.
As the Network Coordinator I will continue to keep you appraised of this, as well as other Network activity developments, in the course of this year.
I am now pleased to welcome Madame Bachelet in providing remarks.