Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues,
It is a pleasure for me to meet with you today to provide an update of the work of the United Nations Network on Migration.
Indeed, this has been a busy period for us and of course marked by many challenges but, also, unquestionably by an increasingly positive momentum around the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
After my introductory comments, we will launch the Migration Network Hub, which combines both the Global Knowledge Platform and Connection Hub of the capacity building mechanism, as called for in the GCM.
Following that, representatives of the Network’s core working groups on a stronger UN system for GCM implementation and supporting GCM national implementation plans will brief you on the roll-out of their specific guidelines.
Then it will be my pleasure to introduce Ms. Rossana Michelle Dudziak, the Resident Coordinator of North Macedonia, who will highlight the work being undertaken in that country financed by the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund.
Finally, my Network colleagues will provide you with updates on specific thematic areas on which we have been focusing our support to you all.
When I last briefed you in October, we were just beginning one of the major follow-up and review processes of the Global Compact.
The so-called regional reviews began in Europe in November, with the Arab region and Asia-Pacific just completed a few weeks ago, and the Americas and Africa to be held at the end of April and in June/July respectively.
These regional reviews are proving an excellent platform from which to gauge our efforts at implementing the GCM.
Evident through these regional reviews is how governments are embracing the Global Compact as a framework by which to address the vulnerabilities faced by migrants during this indeed very fraught period. Also evident is the importance placed on these discussions by stakeholders, who have mobilised to provide their inputs, their expertise, and their proposals for further concerted action. I continue to believe – as I will always maintain to believe – that one of the Compact’s key achievements was its recognition that the whole-of-society plays a vitally important role in addressing the challenges but also the opportunities presented today by international migration even in times of the most terrible pandemic we have ever been through.
This positive interest is being matched by a growing manifestation of the UN system’s commitment to provide more coherent support for GCM implementation as promised by the Secretary-General of the UN when he decided to establish this Network.
In these last six months, we have witnessed the growth of country and regional based Networks – from 31 country Networks to now the existing 45 and growing. The expansion of the Network is also helping to ensure alignment of supporting Global Compact implementation, with the inclusion of migration and the Compact in forthcoming Common Country Assessments and Sustainable Development Cooperative Frameworks. On this, the Network continues to work closely with the UN’s Development Coordination Office. The Network will continue to strengthen its whole-of-system approach while also seeking to support countries of both the global north and the global south in their GCM implementation.
We also now have 20 GCM Champion countries giving political leadership to this initiative. In our most recent meeting last February, the Champion countries emphasized their many promising practices in developing national implementation plans and of advocating for the Global Compact through various other fora and initiatives, reminding us of the collaborative nature of this agenda. I strongly encourage other Member States to join this group of Champion countries.
The USD 17.5 million contributed by 11 donors by the end of 2020 enabled the Migration MPTF to fund its seven first joint programmes. These seven programmes, which focus on a wide variety of themes reflecting the Global Compact’s 360-degree vision, involve 12 different UN entities and a variety of stakeholders including civil society, local governments, academia, employers’ and workers’ organizations. Yet, demand is high and the Fund is poised definitely to do more: amongst the 90 concept notes submitted, 32 have been assessed positively by the Steering Committee of the Fund and they constitute a thematically and geographically diverse pipeline of joint programmes. The Steering Committee has adopted a funding target of USD 30 million, which is both modest - considering the need - yet sufficiently ambitious to demonstrate what the Fund could achieve if properly resourced. Let me take this opportunity to call on all of you for additional contributions enabling the Fund to build on a very successful first year and deliver results for migrants and migration affected communities.
As positive as this is, there remains much work ahead of us in the run-up to the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) that will take place next year in 2022.
With the IMRF in our immediate future, the Network will soon be launching its new workplan for the 2021 – 2022 period.
This new workplan is a result of consultations within the Network, with stakeholders and also with Member States including at our annual meeting that took place last December. Please allow me to highlight some of these fundamental emerging priorities.
• The inclusion of migrants in COVID-19 vaccination plans and other health services is vital to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all during this critical time of the pandemic. The Network will be dedicated to advocating for the inclusion of migrants, and supporting countries in ensuring equitable access to the vaccine regardless of migration status. The Network released a statement earlier this month emphasizing this very point as part of its key priorities for the current year.
• The Network will also focus on supporting Member States’ socio-economic recovery from the pandemic, including through the reintegration of returning migrants working abroad, and in providing guidance, tools and technical support as countries seek to build back stronger and better.
• Addressing migration and inequalities to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through the Global Compact, including through Network guidance to support Member States’ Voluntary National Reviews in the next HLPF.
• On climate change and migration, to ensure cross-fertilization of support to both COP26 and the IMRF, creating common messaging and advocacy about both processes.
• Also a very crucial element on remittances, the Network will operationalize a number of existing recommendations related to the impact of the pandemic on this area of work. As part of our activities, we will ensure cross-linkages with the Financing for Development Forum, the G20 and the Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development.
• The Network will also continue focussing on the intersectionality of gender and race within migration in the coming period as we have done since the outset.
The Network will furthermore keep vigilant and ready to adapt responses to the emerging challenges and, of course, changing circumstances.
The Network’s thematic working groups continue their excellent work. They have produced a number of tools and guidance material on key priorities for GCM implementation. The year ahead will also be used to pilot and roll out these tools at country level. My colleagues representing those thematic working groups will brief you later on this.
In all of these areas, the Network is reaching out to other initiatives and other platforms to ensure an intersectionality of migration with other major issues on the global agenda, ensuring cooperation and alignment with ongoing UN processes and fora.
Let me take this opportunity - as both the Network Coordinator and Director-General of IOM - to express my personal gratitude for the cooperation and collaboration with our partners across the UN system and with our external stakeholders and partners. We will continue to work in this spirit of partnership to improve the rights, dignity and well-being of migrants and all of our communities around the world.
I hope that providing this Network update and outlining these Network priorities provides an assurance of the UN system’s approach to supporting you in your implementation of the Global Compact.
At the same time, we solicit your feedback as always in terms of priorities as we start the preparations of the IMRF.
While the final decision on the exact date of the IMRF in 2022 will be made by the President of the 76th UN General Assembly, the calendar suggests that May is a strong possibility. To ensure that Member States and stakeholders can prepare in a timely manner for the first IMRF, to take place in New York as you know, the Network will develop a roadmap, including, of course, a timeline for the issuance of the second mandated Secretary-General’s report in which he is expected to provide guidance for the direction of the IMRF deliberations. You can expect this detailed roadmap by October this year, as soon as I will have had the opportunity to discuss the Network’s support to Member States in more detail with the next President of the General Assembly.
We are in a very different climate from when the Global Compact was adopted in December 2018. Political winds have changed, and the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of international cooperation to meaningfully achieve our common objectives.
Therefore, I encourage your continued engagement and political leadership in the Global Compact process as a state-led process, throughout the remaining regional reviews and other fora; but also through other bilateral and multilateral initiatives. To give true life to the Global Compact requires our sustained and collective collaboration on migration, and for us to give voice to migrants around the world.
Please be assured of the Network’s continued commitment to support our collective efforts to make migration work for all.
As the Network Coordinator I will continue to keep you appraised of this, as well as other developments.
Thank you for your kind attention and now I am pleased to welcome Ms. Susanne Melde to launch the Migration Network Hub.