Civil society contribution towards a meaningful intergovernmental agreement on migration

Geneva, 13 October 2017 - A new global advocacy document urges governments to act to end drivers of forced displacement, facilitate pathways for safe migration, and ensure decent living conditions, all of which while combatting mounting xenophobia.

The document, titled “Now and how: Ten ACTS for the Global Compact,” calls on governments to act on the following aspects:

• Drivers of human mobility
• Safe pathways for human mobility
• Protection of migrants
• Decent work and labor rights
• Decent living conditions and access to justice
• Education and skills
• Inclusion and action against discrimination
• Transnational and sustainable development
• Return and reintegration

The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) provided the document in a “first preview” at the 2nd Informal Interactive Multi-Stakeholder Hearing on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, that the President of the UN General Assembly organized in Geneva on 11-13 October. Wies Maas, Civil Society Chair of the 2017 Global Forum on Migration and Development, offered a preview of the Ten ACTS on behalf of a group of 50 civil society organizations worldwide that were consulted by ICMC to develop the document.

The Ten ACTS bring together ten essential recommendations agreed upon by civil society and thus condense a bold vision for the UN Global Compact for Migration. At the UN General Assembly in September 2016, 193 Member States unanimously committed to developing and adopting two “Global Compacts” in 2018. The two intergovernmental agreements will respectively address safe, orderly and regular migration, as well as responsibility-sharing in hosting refugees.

A remarkable opportunity to solve migration challenges

The 2nd Informal Hearing taking place in Geneva is part of the 6th Informal Thematic Session on the Global Compact for Migration. Its focus is irregular migration and regular pathways, including solutions aiming at decent work, labor mobility and recognition of skills.

Asked if the notion of states' sovereignty was blocking any progress in these directions, John K. Bingham, Head of Policy at ICMC, responded, “There is a sovereign right to solve problems; a lot of governments and States are exercising that right. They have done it in the Sustainable Development Goals, they did it again last year with the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. There is a political will to try and talk about problems and try to solve them.” In this context, Bingham concluded, the two Compacts offer a remarkable, “unanimous” opportunity to solve current migration challenges.

Sophie van Haasen speaking at the UNSophie van Haasen speaking at the 6th Informal Session on the Global Compact on Migration. Photo: UN WebTV At a panel on regional perspectives, Sophie van Haasen, coordinator of the Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE), briefed participants on the outcomes of the European civil society consultations towards the Global Compact on Migration held last week in Brussels. One of the key concerns brought up by van Haasen is that “Policy developments showcase the increased Europe's focus on curbing irregular migration across its borders to the detriment of protection of migrants en route.” Van Haasen emphasized the civil society’s call to go beyond border control policies only in the development of the two Compacts.

The findings of the hearing will serve as input for the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration, beginning with a Stocktaking meeting in late December.

The full text of the Ten ACTS document is available on the ICMC website for global sign-on below. A summary of the Ten ACTS is also available for download.



Watch John K. Bingham speaking at the 2nd Informal Hearing on Global Compact on Migration, Panel 2, 17:33 - 28:36; 1:16.39 - 1:18.42  


Panel on human trafficking and migrant smuggling; Interventions from the floor: Bingham: 44:40 - 47:37; Wies Maas: 51:36 - 53:29

 Panel on regional perspectives on migration; Intervention from the floor: Sophie Van Haasen: 1:11.35 to 1:15.25