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National sovereignty

Cross-cutting theme in the Global Compact for Migration

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) is based on a set of cross-cutting and interdependent guiding principles. This page provides resources for the guiding principle of National Sovereignty:

“The Global Compact 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. Within their sovereign jurisdiction, States may distinguish between regular and irregular migration status, including as they determine their legislative and policy measures for the implementation of the Global Compact, taking into account different national realities, policies, priorities and requirements for entry, residence and work, in accordance with international law” (GCM, 2018: para. 15)

National sovereignty is a core principle of international law governing international relations, which affirms States’ independence and authority to govern their domestic jurisdiction, subject to their international law obligations by virtue of customary international law and the treaties they have ratified. While the Global Compact for Migration is not a legally binding instrument, it provides a policy framework for international cooperation while respecting States’ sovereignty and the human rights of all. National sovereignty entails that States have the authority on internal matters, including the right to determine who can enter and stay on their territory, and under which conditions, in accordance with international law, including international human rights law, which also offers protection to the human rights of migrant populations regardless of their status. The Global Compact on Migration is thus a tool that facilitates at the policy and practice level the operationalization of international law norms that States have committed through treaty ratifications, and also under international customary law and the principle of good faith which applies to all States. Migration is, has always been and will always be a global human phenomenon, and “no State can address migration alone” (GCM, 2018: para. 7). 


National sovereignty in the text of the Global Compact

The guiding principle of national sovereignty is also mentioned in the following sections of the GCM:

  • Preamble, para. 7
  • Unity of purpose, para. 15
  • Objective 11, para. 27: Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) report is available in AR, ZH, EN, FR, RU, ES.

Documents

A chapter which provides a descriptive analysis of the GCM before examining its effect on the global migration governance architecture and the challenges for its implementation, including as they relate to sovereignty.
Date of publication:
01 January 2019
Information Type:
A chapter which outlines how international agreements such as the GCM can contribute to more effective global governance of international migration.
Date of publication:
01 January 2017
Information Type:

Events

On October 22, 2021 the IOM Sub-regional Office for Central Asia, together with the IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (Vienna, Austria) and the IOM Mission in Tajikistan, held a regional information briefing to discuss the new IOM policy for the full
Kazakhstan
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Projects

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development Regional Consultative Process on Migration or IGAD-RCP (also known as the Migration Dialogue for the IGAD Region or MiD-IGAD) aims to promote the common position of the IGAD Member States and African Union (AU) as provided in the AU's Migration Policy
EUDiF is the first EU-funded project that works towards fostering an informed, inclusive and impactful diaspora-development ecosystem on a global scale.

Training and guidance

This Handbook, initiated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and further developed with the contributions of the Global Migration Group (GMG), is the result of a collaborative and fruitful cooperation between the 16 GMG agencies.
Date of publication:
12 October 2015
Recognizing there is no one-size-fits all approach to implementation of the Global Compact, this flexible, self-guided reference document provides a methodology and resources to support member states and stakeholders with GCM implementation, whether through the development of a dedicated national...
Date of publication:
13 May 2022

Videos

A presentation of migrants’ rights, including their relationship with national sovereignty by Mr. Guy S. Goodwill Gill, Emeritus Fellow, All Soul's College, University of Oxford, UK and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law.
A presentation which details what the GCM means with regards to international law, and its impact on States and international organizations.

About the Migration Network Hub

What is the Migration Network Hub?

The Hub is a virtual “meeting space” where governments, stakeholders and experts can access and share migration-related information and services. It provides curated content, analysis and information on a variety of topics.

The Hub aims to support UN Member States in the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Migration by serving as a repository of existing evidence, practices and initiatives, and facilitating access to knowledge sharing via online discussions, an expert database and demand-driven, tailor-made solutions (launching in 2021).

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The Hub aims to help you find information on migration, ranging from policy briefs and journal articles, existing portals and platforms and what they offer, to infographics and videos. The different types of resources submitted by users undergo peer review by a panel of experts from within the UN and beyond, before being approved for inclusion in the Hub. To provide guidance to users based on findings of the needs assessment, the content is ordered so that more comprehensive and global resources are shown before more specific and regional ones. Know a great resource? Please submit using the links above and your suggestion will be reviewed. Please see the draft criteria for existing practices here.

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