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The Coordinator's Briefing 24 June 2021


The Coordinator's Briefing 24 June 2021

Excellencies, distinguished guests, colleagues,

It is my pleasure to meet with you today to provide an update of the work of the United Nations Network on Migration. 

We will use this briefing today to inform you of the new Network workplan for the 2021-2022 period, leading up to the first International Migration Review Forum of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. I will also update you on the Migration MPTF. 

We will hear, too, from Network entities and stakeholders who are leading on a number of thematic priorities highlighted in the workplan, to solicit your feedback on our work.

Excellencies, colleagues,

We are at a turning point in our collective efforts to support implementation of the Global Compact.

Four out of the five regional reviews have taken place, and we look forward to the upcoming Africa regional review on 12-13 July, preceded by a number of stakeholder consultations.  These reviews have provided a strong platform to measure our commitments towards the Global Compact and have been a bridge in maintaining support for the Compact since its adoption in 2018 to the IMRF next year. 

The Champions are stepping forward both to pilot a number of Network tools and guidance materials, as well as foster other Member States’ closer engagement with the Global Compact.  When I last briefed you in March, we had 20 Champions; as of today we now have 23 and growing.  I warmly welcome Egypt, Iraq, and Kenya to this esteemed group and continue to solicit others to join.  It remains a priority to ensure that this grouping continues to expand in its composition fully reflecting the breadth of Member State support in advancing significantly the GCM leading up to the IMRF. 

Our number of country Networks has also grown, from 45 to 52 established in over one third of all UN country teams across the globe.  Fourteen of them operate in Champion countries.  The Network continues to work closely with the United Nation’s Development Coordination Office to ensure whole-of-UN-system support to the Global Compact’s implementation within the framework of the Agenda 2030.  In this regard, I am pleased that Mr. Brian Williams, Director a.i. of Policy Programming Branch of UNDCO has joined us today.

With a number of joint programmes supported by the Migration MPTF currently underway, we now have a growing body of work representing GCM implementation on the ground through a coordinated UN system approach. I will speak more on this Fund a bit later. 

All of these efforts have reminded us of the significance of international cooperation – amongst countries, with stakeholders and throughout the UN system.  This is thus an opportune moment to focus our efforts towards the first International Migration Review Forum. 

Excellencies, colleagues,

I’m pleased to announce that the Network’s Executive Committee Principals – which, besides myself, include the heads of DESA, ILO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC and WHO – formally endorsed the new Network workplan for 2021-2022.  You have this workplan before you.

It focuses Network objectives and activities towards supporting the Global Compact as we head towards the IMRF in 2022. The workplan contains a number of pre-existing areas of focus including on returns and reintegration, alternatives to detention, bilateral labour migration agreements and on regular pathways. 

The workplan also contains a number of new areas, such as responses to COVID-19, the SDGs and inequalities, remittances, smuggling, climate and migration, and anti-discrimination.  You will hear from a number of Network colleagues and stakeholders on some of these priorities today.  Let me take this opportunity to thank them, their expertise and their partnership, for this ongoing excellent work together. 

The Network’s workplan also has at its core a number of key elements including:

  • Working with all Member States, including Champions and including through country-based Networks to pilot Network tools and guidance for meaningful application of the GCM;
  • As I mentioned earlier, ensuring coordination with the UN’s Development Coordination Office and integration of migration and the GCM in Common Country Analyses and UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks; 
  • Remaining flexible to address challenges and opportunities for GCM implementation posed by the ongoing shifts in migration including as a result of COVID-19;
  • Ensuring that our whole-of-UN system approach also supports a whole-of-society approach including continuous engagement with our stakeholder partners.  In this regard, I had the pleasure of participating in a stakeholder consultation last month, soliciting their further engagement with the Network; 
  • Fostering both the dynamism of our work and its sustainability, by peer learning exchanges and use of the Migration Network Hub;
  • Supporting the Migration MPTF as the key funding instrument to bolster GCM implementation and impact, including through efforts to diversify the donor base and mobilize additional resources.  Both the Hub and Migration MPTF, called for by the General Assembly, are vital sources for demonstrating the tangible impact of GCM implementation, providing a compelling narrative for international cooperation on migration;
  • Having a strong, unified UN voice on the GCM; and
  • Supporting preparations towards the IMRF, including through the biennial reports of the Secretary-General.
  • On this last point, the next Secretary-General’s Report will provide both policy and organizational guidance to the IMRF.  The report should be released in February 2022, anticipating that the IMRF will be held in May 2022.  It will offer an opportunity for the Secretary-General to outline key successes and challenges, and make recommendations on where we need to collectively focus our attention and resources in the years to come.   

A key source of information and support to Member States as we prepare for the IMRF will be the Migration Network Hub; our virtual “meeting space” where governments, stakeholders and experts can access and share migration-related information and services.  The Hub offers a repository of knowledge, with over 950 resources available already. We are further collecting examples of existing practices that were submitted as part of the regional review process.  In addition, the Hub increasingly is becoming a space that connects people who have questions with those who have the answers.

Excellencies, colleagues

When I briefed you last March, I suggested that the first IMRF may take place in May 2022.  We are still away from confirming this, pending discussion with and confirmation from the incoming President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.  In this regard, let me take a moment to congratulate the Maldives on their election, and offer the Network’s support for IMRF preparations.  While the modalities resolution clearly spells out that this first global review will take place in the first half of 2022, we have much yet to accomplish to make it a success.

The IMRF presents a unique opportunity to review the success to date of the GCM and to highlight what challenges continue to exist or have emerged in the way of its implementation.  As this will be the first such review, we have a vital opportunity to shape its tone, its focus, and its level of ambition.

To ensure that Member States and stakeholders can prepare in a timely manner, the Network is developing a roadmap towards the IMRF.  You can expect this detailed roadmap in the northern autumn.

But before we reach the IMRF, other major inter-governmental fora are in the pipeline, each of them representing a means by which we can collectively play a prominent role through the promotion of the GCM.  These include the Africa regional review in July; the HLPF also in July; the September UNGA high level session, and the November 2021 UNFCCC COP26.  Many of these are highlighted in the Network’s workplan as targets of opportunity to raise the visibility of the GCM.  With all of these, the Network stands ready to support you all.

Excellencies, colleagues,

As mentioned earlier, the Migration MPTF continues to be an important funding instrument to support implementation of the GCM.  The Steering Committee met most recently on 15 June, for the last time in its initial configuration.  I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contribution of Ecuador, Morocco and Thailand, the three countries that were members of the Steering Committee for the first two years and are now rotating out - and welcome Ghana, Iraq and Mexico onto the committee. 

With solid rules and procedures and all key management tools in place (from the results framework to the risk management strategy), the Fund is recognized by partners and experts as meeting the highest standards of pooled funding instruments and positively contributing to the Funding Compact and the broad UN reform agenda.

Seven joint programmes are already underway and two more will start very soon.  True to the GCM 360-degree approach, these programmes cover all five thematic areas and all continents.  While very diverse in nature, each of these seven programmes is strongly aligned with the GCM guiding principles including national ownership and the whole-of-government approach.  The two additional joint programmes in Trinidad and Tobago and Afghanistan represent regions which had yet to benefit from Migration MPTF support.  By allocating resources to these countries, the Steering Committee made a significant step towards achieving its objective of financing at least one joint programme in each sub-region, without compromising on quality or thematic balance.

The demand for continued support is huge and the Fund is poised to answer it. These nine funded joint programmes are only a fraction of what the Fund is prepared to do.  Thirty-two additional joint programme ideas (selected amongst the 97 concept notes received to date) have been positively assessed by the Steering Committee and constitute the Migration MPTF pipeline.  Ten amongst these have been identified as priorities and are ready for implementation.

Taking into account the difficult context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund was off to an encouraging start with approximately USD17.5m mobilized by the end of 2020 but capitalization level is below expectations in 2021.  Little over 10% of the $30 million annual target set by the Steering Committee has been secured so far.  We must redouble our resource mobilization efforts.

The Steering Committee agreed that the Fund should seize the opportunity of the upcoming IMRF to increase its visibility.  As the establishment of the Fund was called for by the GCM itself, it was noted that it is logical and legitimate that its role is highlighted at the IMRF itself and throughout the preparation process.  Ensuring that it is adequately resourced should be considered a collective priority.

The Fund has very recently issued its annual report where you will find a wealth of information on progress made and challenges faced to complement my rapid overview.  We will be sharing hard copies with all Missions very shortly, but you may already consult the electronic version.

Excellencies and colleagues,

As the Network has established itself – through its working groups; and increased presence at regional and country levels – it is poised to significantly expand its capacity to support Member States and stakeholders in a sustained manner.

In this regard, this year, in partnership with the European Union, we will kick-off a programme to harness whole-of-UN expertise to support countries to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration and make migration work for sustainable development, in line with the Compact’s guiding principles.

We hope, through this initiative, along with other activities outlined in the workplan, to showcase the capacity of the system to come together in this collaborative endeavour.  While much of this activity is an alignment within the system of existing areas of expertise, a fully effective Network, at all levels, will require additional interagency resources, including through the Migration MPTF.  We look to you to help give us every opportunity for success in supporting in the implementation of the GCM.

In conclusion, I hope that these quarterly Network updates to Member States provide an assurance of the UN system’s approach to supporting your work in implementing the Global Compact.  We, of course, solicit your feedback on our work, as always. 

As we move forward, I ask for your continued support for and engagement with the Global Compact.  It remains the multilateral instrument to improve migration governance. 

And as we continue our collective work on this important endeavour, let us work towards improved international cooperation on migration, to have a meaningful impact on the lives of millions around the world. 

Please be assured of the Network’s continued commitment in this regard.

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 Mr. Brian Williams from UNDCO to provide remarks.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).