Civil Society and the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration - Civil Society advocacy 

As an outcome of the United Nations (UN) High-Level Summit in September 2016, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants was adopted unanimously by the 193 UN Member States. This landmark document elaborates states’ commitments to address current and possible future issues regarding human mobility, in particular the commitment to develop a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). A key aspect of the Declaration and its annexes is the need for cooperation between governments and civil society at the global level.

Since May 2016, civil society has been organising itself around these processes through the MADE-facilitated Civil Society Action Committee, advocating to governments and providing consolidated feedback to the developments during the process.  For example, civil society’s response to the New York Declaration, a joint statement and scorecard entitled “Act Now”, was signed by over 100 civil society organisations and circulated widely. The Action Committee unanimously agreed to continue its work until the end of 2018, when the Compacts are expected to be adopted.

In 2017 a core group of organisations from the Action Committee and the International Steering Committee of civil society for the GFMD drafted the Now and How: TEN ACTS for the global Compact document, based on more than thirty UN, states and civil society documents, including civil society’s 5 year 8 Point Plan of Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, civil society recommendations at annual meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) since 2014, the landmark new civil society-led document Child Rights in the Global Compacts, and the recent Compacts-related reports of François Crépeau, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Peter Sutherland, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Migration. The document was finalized after two rounds of consultation with the 50 organizations and networks of the Action Committee and ISC and is open for global sign-on here.


I. Consultation phase

Thematic consultations

6 thematic consultations have been organized at UN-level, each covering issues seen as key to include in the Global Compact for Migration. Civil society has contributed extensively to these consultations, offering feedback on the thematic papers, offering interventions and participating as panelists at these consultations.

MADE attended the first thematic consultation from 8-9 May, making an intervention call for collective action against xenophobia and towards social inclusion.
More details on each of the 6 thematic consultations on the IOM website.

Regional Civil Society Consultations (RCSCs)

IOM, which joined the UN as a related agency in 2016, has committed to further facilitate the collaboration between civil society and governments. To this end, it will co-convene with civil society a series of 7 regional civil society consultations (RCSCs) in the second half of 2017, which plan to unite civil society stakeholders in the respective regions. The consultations will reach out to a wide range of organisations at regional, local and grassroots level. They will discuss particular migration issues and good practices in their region, but also strategize as civil society to provide joint inputs for the GCM consultation process. MADE is the co-organiser of the European consultation, which will take place on 2-3 October, along with PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants and IOM. See the programme of this consultation here

Multi-stakeholder Hearings and the Steering Committee

The modalities for the intergovernmental negotiations of the GCM requested the convening of four days (including two full days and four half-days) of informal Interactive Multi-Stakeholder Hearings, with representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, including migrants and diaspora themselves, academic institutions, parliaments and the private sector.

ICMC MADE is a member of the multi-stakeholder Steering Committee which has been formed to advise the Office of the President of the General Assembly on speakers to participate in each of the Hearings.

Other relevant events

Civil society has organised various events, consultations and conferences in order to prepare collective advocacy messages for the process to develop the GCM. Among others, of note are the GFMD Civil Society Days, and the Global Conference on Children on the Move, both of which prepared recommendations for the Global Compact(s).

II. Stocktaking phase

The transition from the “consultation phase” to the “stocktaking phase” is marked in the UN process by an intergovernmental stocktaking meeting in Mexico on 4-5 December, 2016. Civil society will have its own stocktaking meeting prior to that, drawing on the outcomes of the RCSCs, GFMD Civil Society Days, Global Conference on Children on the Move and other civil society gatherings. The aim of this civil society stocktaking is to distill key issues and themes– either of global relevance or regional specificity – and advocate strongly and collectively for their inclusion in the zero-draft of the GCM under discussion at the official stocktaking in the following days.  

III. Negotiations phase

The Negotiations Phase of the GCM is expected to commence in early 2018. More information on this phase will be posted when it becomes available.