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Participation of civil society in the implementation of the National Plan for the Implementation of the Global Compact for Migration

GCM Objectives


2019 - Present

Type of practice:

Partnership/Multistakeholder initiative

Geographic Scope



Sub Regions:


In line with the GCM principles, most notably, people-centered and whole-of-society approach, Portugal has sought to drive civil society engagement at each stage of the implementation of the National Plan for the Implementation of the Global Compact for Migration (PNIPGM), which was approved in August 2019. Recognizing the importance of promoting an inclusive process, Portugal seeks to give voice to civil society and has drawn on their experiences and expertise on migration issues throughout the implementation of its National Plan. It has done so by regularly reporting on the status of implementation of the National Plan at the Council for Migration. All key actors in the migrant integration process, including migrant communities and civil society entities (Foundations), have a seat at the Council for Migration, the High Commission for Migration (ACM) consultative body that participates in the definition and implementation of migration policies, contributing to the construction and execution of a more humanized, coherent, and effective migration policy. The Council for Migration is chaired by the High Commissioner for Migration. ACM is the public entity responsible for coordinating the implementation of the PNIPGM. Aiming at involving migration communities and organizations at the IMRF, IOM presented the roadmap for Forum at the Council for Migration, encouraging an active participation. Five civil society organizations have applied for participation at the IMRF. In addition to the regular presentation and discussion on the implementation status of the PNIPGM, in 2021, ACM in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a consultation process aimed identifying the degree of awareness of civil society organizations to regarding the GCM and the National Plan, the activities developed by peer civil society organizations and to assess their general perception of the national implementation of the Global Compact, its constraints, aspects to be improved and recommendations that can support policy makers. The formal consultation process was preceded by a series of information sessions held by ACM and IOM, which were attended by more than 70 people.


Main Implementer:

Government of Portugal

Other Organizations:

High Commission for Migration (ACM)


Civil Society Organizations
International Organization for Migration - IOM

Benefit and Impact

Involving civil society organizations in the process of implementation of the PNIPGM promotes active participation and engagement from civil society, helps to develop a common outlook regarding migration, the sense of ownership and to define common goals and objectives on migration issues.

The contributions of civil society offer a wide range of accounts that draw from different experiences on the ground, which is fundamental to identify gaps and areas for improvement in public policy.

The consultation conducted by ACM and IOM resulted on 49 contributions and on a particularly important instrument, a final document detailing which of the National Plan’s measures were considered most significant by civil society. It also identified main themes and specific issues and a set of recommendations that will help guide and improve future strategic documents.

Key Lessons

One important aspect to guarantee a successful involvement of civil society is to ensure wide territorial coverage, so that civil society organizations from all over the country are able to participate, discuss and engage with the implementation of the National Plan. Different forms and means of participation and consultation must therefore be promoted throughout the implementation of the National Plans. Regarding the consultation process, an online survey was used to ensure more significant levels of participation by civil society.

The choice of instruments used when conducting civil society consultations is fundamental as some instruments can deliver vague or superficial results and others can promote a more in-depth analysis. To ensure consistent feedback, ACM worked with IOM to build methodological approaches that meet the target audience.

Also, considering that ACM is responsible for monitoring the PNIPGM, the participation of IOM allowed for a distanced view that enhances the evaluation of the National Plan's implementation. For further exercises, it is important to improve the first step of providing clear information beforehand to ensure informed participation of civil society.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

Actively involve local-based organizations and migrants at every stage of design, implementation, monitoring and assessment of the GCM national plans, notably, by setting up governance structures, with well-defined roles, which can offer contribution at all stages of planning and implementation, ensuring financial and human resources and ensuring that engagement is not affected by linguistic or territorial barriers.

Involve local authorities and civil society not only during the design phase of the GCM national plans, but also as key actors in the implementation of specific measures.

Promote evaluation studies, using different methodologies and evolving key partners such as IOM to ensure greater and deeper civil society participation and use results to inform the development of new National Plans or amend the existing one.

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.


The participation of associations representing migrant communities and other local based partners in planning and implementing the National Plan is an innovative feature on migration government. Furthermore, the ongoing collaboration with civil society and local authorities made it easier to define and implement relevant protection measures for migrant communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Date submitted:

02 April 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.