IOM Director General William Lacy Swing briefed UN Member States and Observers on IOM’s follow up to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration to be considered for adoption at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018.
The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016 was the first time that world leaders came together at the United Nations to address issues affecting both refugees and migrants. The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the outcome document of the Summit, expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale.
The Declaration has set in motion a much longer process focused on migration providing an opportunity to work towards a global compact on safe, regular and orderly migration that upholds the human rights of migrants and their families, irrespective of migration status, enhances their wellbeing, and promotes inclusive growth and sustainable development in societies of origin, transit and destination. The Compact will present a range of principles on international migration and will offer a framework for comprehensive international cooperation.
Ambassador Swing said: “We focus too much on problems; too little on solutions. In recent times, we have, arguably, become better at addressing immediate needs, but we struggle to develop a comprehensive, long term vision for human mobility.” He added that migration was inevitable, necessary and desirable.
Swing also spoke about the need for a high road approach to the Global Compact negotiations, which respect the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status; facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration; and reduce the incidence and impacts of forced and irregular migration.
He noted: “IOM’s vision is for a world in which migration is well-governed, in which migrants move as a matter of real choice and not desperate necessity, and in which the rights of migrants are protected throughout their migratory process.”
The decision by IOM’s 165 Member States for IOM to join the UN reflects governments’ commitments towards working toward these goals and the global importance of migration and migrants, he observed.
Member States will pursue an agreement on the content and scope of the Global Compact through a process of intergovernmental negotiations, and will ultimately adopt the Compact during an intergovernmental conference on migration in 2018. IOM and the UN Secretariat have been asked to jointly service the negotiations, with IOM providing policy and technical expertise. Ambassador Swing noted that there was already much work already done on which to build upon.
“We have a very tall order, but it can be made more manageable if we work “together” – as the Secretary General’s counter-xenophobia campaign is called. Together, I am confident that our joint efforts will enable us to fulfil our mandate to protect the safety, dignity and human rights of all migrants, and help realise the development potential of migration for home and host societies alike,” said the Director General.