Civil Society Days 2017

Civil Society Days GFMD 2017

UPDATE: All plenary videos are now online on our YouTube Channel!

GFMD Civil Society Days programmme

"Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration Now: Mechanics of a Compact Worth Agreeing to" is the theme of the GFMD Civil Society Days 2017. As implied in this motto, the CSD programme, will entirely focus on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The main working lines, directly tied to the Global Compact on Migration process and inspired, as in previous GFMDs, by civil society’s 5-year 8-point plan, will be:

  • mechanisms of safety for children on the move and other migrants in vulnerable situations
  • orderly and regular migration in the context of work, including ethical recruitment of
    migrant workers, labour migration and regularization
  • mechanisms for orderly and regular migration where work is not the principal driver
  • the meaning and mechanisms of safety in contexts of return and reintegration
  • mechanisms for safety for migrants and society in the face of growing xenophobia

Given the exceptional structure of the GFMD this year, where Common Space is embedded between the two CSDs, Civil Society Day 1 (Thursday 29 June) will be “Recommendations Day”, focused on what civil society delegates will bring and say about the Compact to governments in Common Space the next day. Civil Society Day 2 will then be “Commitments Day”, where civil society delegates will focus on what we will ourselves do on the Compact going forward, at home as well as on a regional and global level.

GFMD government programme and civil society feedback

To mark the direction of their GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairmanship, the Governments of Germany and Morocco launched the 2017 Concept Paper in March. The programme for this year’s Government Days of the GFMD, with the overall theme “Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”, aims to balance the interests between migrants and their countries of origin, transit and destination, within the framework of safe, regular and orderly migration. The Roundtable themes are focused directly on migration-related Sustainable Development Goals and particularly on development of the Global Compact for Migration resulting from the September 2016 High-Level Summit, to which the GFMD is intended to contribute.

Civil Society Input: At the invitation of the GFMD Co-Chairs, the Civil Society International Steering Committee (ISC) for the GFMD, consisting of over 37 NGO leaders working on migration and development, has provided a joint feedback to this Concept Paper. While the ISC welcomed the overall theme of a “social contract” and the eagerness to include civil society in the discussions, members also expressed concern on some elements, such as on the space given to migrant return and containment in the draft programme, and the relatively limited reference to the human rights of migrants or states collective responsibility to protect those on the move.

Friends of the Forum

The first GFMD governments Friends of the Forum meetings for GFMD 2017 took place on 1 and 2 February in Geneva. Similar to previous years, ICMC was invited to attend, in its function as GFMD Civil Society Coordinator. ICMC’s Head of Policy John K. Bingham, reported on civil society activities in the 2016 GFMD and towards the 2017 forum, to the 120 government representatives and 12 UN agencies present. Bingham introduced his report stating: We can hardly think of a more important moment these past 10 years for the GFMD to show its value than to step up to the chaos in migration and in politics today—with solutions.  And then later, referring to the Governments’ Draft Concept Paper: A bright red line for many in civil society is IF discussions—inside or outside the GFMD—or development policies would take the step into conditioning development aid on migration control or containment.

Based on the governments’ Draft Concept Paper and the subsequent civil society feedback, and keeping the process to develop a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration very much in mind, civil society is currently preparing its own programme for the GFMD CSD 2017.  


The structure and first details on the 2017 Civil Society Days and Government Days have been discussed during two webinars hosted by the GFMD Civil Society coordinating Office in early 2017. These were co-organized with the active participation of HE Götz Schmidt-Bremme, German Ambassador for the 2017-2018 GFMD Co-Chairmanship. On 26 January, the Ambassador and John Bingham presented a first outline of structure and content of the GFMD Government Days and Civil Society Days, respectively. The 2nd webinar on 9 February, which was also joined by Stéphanie Winet, representing the GFMD Business mechanism, considered opportunities for interaction between governments, civil society and the private sector. Over 80 civil society participants participated in the webinars, with many contributing to the discussions. The moderator for both webinars was Colin Rajah, Chair of the GFMD Civil Society Days 2016.