Coordinated by ICMC, the GFMD Civil Society Mechanism participates in two days of preparatory meetings held by the French Chairmanship on 22-23 November 2022.
The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has since 2006 brought together governments, civil society organizations, UN agencies, and local government and private sector stakeholders to discuss migration and development at the international level. The GFMD is a state-led, informal, voluntary and non-binding process chaired each year by a different host government. France chairs the 2022-2023 GFMD.
Since 2011 ICMC has coordinated the GFMD Civil Society Mechanism, which facilitates the engagement of civil society organizations in the GFMD process. The GFMD Civil Society Mechanism has driven the creation of a global network of migrant rights and development leaders, advocating for and contributing to implementing GFMD recommendations to improve the lives of migrants, their families, and the countries to and from which they migrate.
On 22-23 November 2022, the French Chairmanship of the 2022-2023 GFMD convened its first GFMD preparatory meeting in Geneva. The first day of the meeting consisted of a plenary session of the Friends of the Forum, a group open to all States, UN agencies, international organizations, GFMD regional consultative processes, representatives of cities and local authorities, youth delegates, representatives of the private sector, and selected non-governmental migration and development stakeholders. The Civil Society Mechanism coordinated by ICMC participated as an officially mandated observer of the Friends of the Forum.
The Friends of the Forum plenary produced a timeline for key GFMD activities for 2023-24, including subsequent preparatory meetings in April and September 2023 and the final GFMD summit in Paris in February 2024.
Delivering a statement to the Friends of the Forum on behalf of the Civil Society Mechanism, GFMD Civil Society Co-Coordinator Clara Keller-Skupień emphasized the importance of strong and representative civil society participation in GFMD preparations. “The GFMD has always been a critical multi-stakeholder space for open dialogue on migration, and we are convinced that without it global migration governance would be at risk of retreating from the gains realized in the past two decades”, she explained. “We will focus on ensuring the most representative and best civil society participation in all GFMD activities, of civil society leaders and practitioners with experience and strategic thinking, and representing broader communities and civil society networks.”
The second day of the preparatory meeting was dedicated to initial meetings of the GFMD’s Government-led Roundtable Teams, focused on gathering initial inputs from stakeholders, clarifying stakeholder roles and developing guidelines for the drafting of thematic discussion papers for each roundtable.
Each of the six roundtable teams focuses on one of the key thematic priorities for the 2022-23 GFMD, including the central priority of the impact of climate change on human mobility. Outside of the roundtables, this thematic priority will be addressed throughout the GFMD, via a cross-cutting approach that aims to find solutions to the damaging effects of climate-induced disasters and environmental degradation for migration and displacement.
“We very much welcome the focus on the impact of climate change on human mobility as a central priority for the 2022-23 GFMD,” stated ICMC Director of Policy Stéphane Jaquemet. “There is an urgent need both for international dialogue on tackling climate change and finding people-centered solutions for climate-induced displacement, and as civil society we stand ready to contribute our collective knowledge and expertise to this global effort.”
Other roundtable teams will focus on diaspora, labor mobility, migrant rights, public perceptions of migration, and multilevel migration governance.
The first day of the preparatory meeting also focused on planning for future activities of the GFMD’s three standing Working Groups. The French Chairmanship confirmed the conclusion of the mandate of the Working Group on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants, migration, and development, with closing remarks on lessons learned provided by the Swiss Working Group co-chair. Also confirmed was the continuation of two further Working Groups on sustainable development and international migration, and on public narratives on migration, respectively, within the 2022-23 GFMD process.
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Independent writer and researcher on migration, refugees and integration.