Terms of reference of the Network
The United Nations system is committed to supporting the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).
To this end, the United Nations establishes a Network on Migration to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States. In carrying out its mandate, the Network will prioritize the rights and wellbeing of migrants and their communities of destination, origin, and transit. It will place emphasis on those issues where a common UN system approach would add value and from which results and impact can be readily gauged.
In all its actions the Network will respect the principles of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and be guided, inter alia, by the United Nations Charter, international law, and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. Due regard, too, will be given to the importance of the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda.
The objectives of the UN Network on Migration (Network) as stated here are drawn from the Executive Committee decision of 23 May 2018 and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) (see Annex I).
- The objectives of the Network are to:
- Ensure effective, timely, coordinated UN system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM, for the rights and wellbeing of all migrants and their communities of destination, origin, and transit
- Support coherent action by the UN system at country, regional and global levels in support of GCM implementation, where such action would add value, while ensuring well-defined linkages with UN structures at all levels;
- Act as a source of ideas, tools, reliable data and information, analysis, and policy guidance on migration issues, including through the capacity-building mechanism established in the GCM;
- Ensure Network actions promote the application of relevant international and regional norms and standards relating to migration and the protection of the human rights of migrants;
- Provide leadership to mobilize coordinated and collaborative action on migration by the UN system, including by speaking with one voice as appropriate, in accordance with the UN Charter, international law, and the mandates and technical expertise of relevant UN system entities;
- Ensure close collaboration with other existing UN system coordination mechanisms addressing migration-related issues, actively seeking out synergies and avoiding duplication;
- Establish and provide support to the capacity building mechanism, as outlined in the GCM.
- Engage with external partners, including migrants, civil society, migrant and diaspora organizations, faith-based organizations, local authorities and communities, the private sector, employers’ and workers’ organizations, trade unions, parliamentarians, National Human Rights Institutions, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, academia, the media and other relevant stakeholders at global, regional and national levels;
- Report to the Secretary-General as required on the implementation of the GCM, the activities of the UN system in this regard, as well as the functioning of the institutional arrangements, and support the Secretary-General’s biennial reporting to the General Assembly, as called for in the GCM.
- In its work, the Network will be guided by the following principles:
- Accountability: The Network and its members have the responsibility to implement their decisions as agreed and will be accountable to the Secretary-General who, in turn, is accountable to the General Assembly, including through the biennial reporting requested by the GCM, and other follow-up mechanisms of the GCM;
- Human rights-based, gender-responsive and child-sensitive approach: The Network will uphold and advocate the laws and principles to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of all migrants and their communities, especially those in the most vulnerable situations;
- Coherence: The Network will draw from the mandates, technical expertise and experience of relevant entities within the UN system in supporting GCM implementation and promoting the overall coherence of the system’s work on migration;
- Unity of purpose: All members of the Network will be jointly committed to its success, placing emphasis on the added value of their coordinated work and of collaborating to achieve common goals;
- Efficiency: The Network will be fully aligned with existing UN system coordination mechanisms and will adopt a streamlined and efficient approach in all its activities;
- Inclusivity: The Network, in its own working methods and in engaging others, will operate in an inclusive, systematic, predictable and transparent manner;
- Results-oriented: The Network will focus on supporting the progress of Member States towards achieving implementation of the GCM;
- Agility: The Network will regularly review – both formally and informally – and where necessary recalibrate its methods and the focus of its work to ensure its impact is maximized.
Membership and Structure
- The Network will consist of those members of the UN system who wish to be a part of it and for whom migration is of relevance to their mandates. Within that Network, an Executive Committee will be established, comprised of those entities with clear mandates, technical expertise and capacity in migration-related fields.
- The initial membership of the Network and of its Executive Committee is indicated in Annex II. Other UN system entities may become members of the Network upon approval by the Executive Committee. An update on any changes to the membership of the Executive Committee will be submitted to the Secretary-General on an annual basis.
- IOM will serve as the Coordinator and Secretariat of all constituent parts of the Network.
- The Network will include Working Groups with IOM serving as their Secretariat. Participation of other partners in a Working Group can be established upon the agreement of the Executive Committee, in consultation with other relevant members of the Network.
- The Network will endeavour to take all decisions by consensus. Decisions of the Network will be made by the Executive Committee. In instances where there is no consensus, the following steps shall be taken:
- The Network Coordinator will work with other Principals of the Executive Committee and, as advisable, of the Network to agree on an effective, timely and principled way forward;
- Should this fail, the Executive Committee, through the Coordinator, will refer the matter to the Secretary-General;
- All decisions will be taken in full respect of the mandates of Network members;
- The Network may adopt any additional working methods as necessary.
- The Network Coordinator is IOM. The Director General of IOM or his/her designee will serve in this capacity.
- The Network Coordinator will have primary responsibility for:
- Fostering collaboration and consensus among Network members in all aspects of its functioning and work, and ensuring effective collaboration with existing coordination mechanisms and stakeholders;
- Working with Network members to identify priorities and opportunities for action by the Network, focusing on the added value of coordinated work;
- Convening and ensuring the smooth functioning of the Network, including the capacity building mechanism;
- Facilitating regular interaction between the Principals of the Executive Committee.
- Briefing the UN system, Member States and other stakeholders on the activities of the Network;
- Proactively identifying funding opportunities for Network operations, with the support of the Executive Committee;
- Maintaining an effective Secretariat in support of the Network.
- Network members will contribute to the design and implementation of the Network’s objectives, promote coherence on migration within the UN system, and provide input and advice to the Executive Committee, including on strategic priorities.
- Network members may serve as chair or co-chair of the Network’s Working Groups and participate in them as members. They will be consulted on the focus, composition and review of the Working Groups.
- Network members will provide inputs to the Secretariat for the preparation of the Network’s reporting to the Secretary-General and the annual meetings of the Network (see para. 36).
- Network members will also serve on the multi-partner decision-making body of the capacity building mechanism’s start-up fund.
- The Executive Committee will provide overall guidance to the work of the Network, setting strategic priorities to support Member States in the effective implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM, including in the International Migration Review Forum established in the GCM.
- The Executive Committee will support IOM in coordinating the work of the Network, overseeing coherent country- and regional-level Network support, and ensuring effective collaboration with existing coordination mechanisms and stakeholders.
- The Executive Committee will provide overarching guidance for reporting by the Network to the Secretary-General.
- The Executive Committee will, working with other members of the Network, decide on the annual workplan for the Network, determine the establishment, focus and composition of the Working Groups, including their chairperson arrangements; support the development of their work plans; and develop collaborative processes by which to oversee their effectiveness and ongoing relevance.
- The Executive Committee will oversee the capacity building mechanism’s connection hub and global knowledge platform. Members of the Executive Committee may also serve on the multi-partner decision-making body of the capacity building mechanism’s start-up fund.
- Executive Committee members will be jointly responsible for the Network attaining its objectives and adhering to its working principles. They could provide, as appropriate, technical and/or human resources to the Network’s Secretariat.
- The Working Groups will focus on specific issues and be results-oriented, providing technical advice and inputs to the Network as a whole, including by providing tools and guidelines; and through facilitating joint action at the regional and country levels. Their work will be guided by work plans developed in consultation with the Executive Committee and aligned with the overall work plan of the Network.
- Working Groups, including their focus, composition and chair, will be developed over time as needs and opportunities emerge.
- The composition of Working Groups will be drawn from Network members and other partners, as relevant. Chairing or co-chairing will be open to all Working Group members.
- The Working Groups will be reviewed periodically by the Executive Committee, in consultation with Network members, and others as appropriate, at a minimum, every four years immediately after the International Migration Review Forum.
- Under the overall authority of the Director General of IOM, a Network Secretariat will be established.
- The Secretariat will be staffed by IOM and would also be open to secondments from UN system partners.
- The Secretariat will be responsible for servicing the work of the Network.
- The Network Secretariat functions would include:
- Providing support to all constituent parts of the Network in the discharge of their functions;
- Supporting collaboration between all constituent parts of the Network and between the Network members and existing UN system coordination mechanisms, as well as external partners;
- Collating and suggesting issues for action within the Network;
- Coordinating the preparation of an annual work plan for the Network, in line with inputs from Network members;
- Facilitating the Network’s support to the capacity building mechanism;
- Overseeing the preparation of the Network’s reporting to the Secretary-General, based on inputs from Network members;
- Facilitating preparations for the Network’s annual meeting and meetings of the Network and its Executive Committee;
- Facilitating the Network’s support to Member States in their follow-up and review of the GCM;
- Timely dissemination of minutes and records of meetings and decisions taken; and
- Monitoring the implementation of decisions.
- The capacity building mechanism (CBM) called for in the GCM (OP43) will serve to contribute, on a voluntary basis, technical, financial and human resources in order to strengthen capacities and foster multi-partner cooperation in pursuit of GCM implementation.
- The CBM will consist of a) a connection hub that facilitates demand-driven, tailor-made and integrated solutions, b) a global knowledge platform as an online open data source, and c) a start-up fund for initial financing to realize project-oriented solutions.
- The start-up fund of the CBM will be administered by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office. A multipartner decision-making body, chaired by the Coordinator, will be established to ensure the smooth functioning of the Fund, supported by the Network Secretariat. The decision-making body’s composition will consist of Network members, donor and recipient countries and other stakeholders, on a rotating basis.
- The Network will articulate a strategy by which the UN system can best facilitate the connection hub and knowledge platform components of the CBM.
- The Executive Committee, in consultation with all members of the decision-making body, will review the functioning of that body on an annual basis.
Regional and Country-Level Engagement
- The Network will support actions to assist Member States in implementing the GCM at the country and regional levels, in alignment with the UN Development System.
- Where applicable, support to the UN system country- and regional-level coordination mechanisms will be provided via the relevant UN regional body or the Resident Coordinator. Engagement at the national level will, where relevant, be anchored in the UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs) to ensure strong national ownership.
Review and annual meeting
- The Secretary-General will formally review the functional arrangements of the Network on a biennial basis, beginning in October 2020.
- The Coordinator of the Network, with support of the Executive Committee and in consultation with the Network members, will ensure an ongoing process of review of the working arrangements of the Network to ensure that the Network pursues its objectives in an as effective, focused and coherent manner as possible, taking account of new developments. At a minimum such reviews will take place every 12 months.
- The Coordinator, with support of the Executive Committee and in consultation with the Network members, will convene an annual meeting of the full membership of the Network. This meeting will include dialogue with other relevant stakeholders who shall be consulted in the preparation of that agenda. The purpose of the meeting will be, among other things, to review Network progress; explore ways to further enhance collaboration; identify emerging challenges; and take decisions as necessary.
Annex I: Background
- In his December 2017 report, entitled “Making Migration Work for All”, the UN Secretary General outlined his vision on strengthening the UN system’s coordination on migration, to enable the UN to act as a source of ideas and policy guidance, as well as a convener, for the implementation of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the GCM to be adopted in 2018.
- Following extensive system-wide consultations and the proposal by the Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, the SecretaryGeneral decided, at a meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 May 2018, to establish a UN Network on Migration, as a successor to the Global Migration Group, to ensure effective, coordinated systemwide support to the implementation of the GCM.
- In the GCM, Member States “welcome the decision of the Secretary-General to establish a UN Network on migration to ensure effective and coherent system-wide support to implementation, including the capacity-building mechanism, as well as follow-up and review of the Global Compact, in response to the needs of the Member-States. (para 45 GCM)” The GCM further notes that a) IOM will serve as the coordinator and secretariat of the Network; b) the Network will fully draw from the technical expertise and experience of relevant entities within the UN system; and c) the work of the Network will be fully aligned with existing coordination mechanisms and the repositioning of the UN Development System.
Annex II: Network membership
Chief Executives Board Secretariat (CEB)
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) *
Department of Public Information (DPI)
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Inter-Agency Standing Committee Secretariat (IASC)
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
International Labour Organization (ILO) *
International Maritime Organization (IMO)
International Organization for Migration (IOM) *
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTFO)
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) *
Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO)
United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAoC)
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) *
United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) *
United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA)
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) *
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) *
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) Secretariat
United Nations University (UNU)
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
World Food Programme (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO) *
* Network’s Executive Committee