United Nations Finalizes First Ever Global Compact for Migration
14 July 2018

14 July 2018








The text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, was finalized on 13 July. This is the first time that Member States of the United Nations have come together to negotiate an agreement covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.


The Global Compact is the culmination of thematic discussions and consultations among Member States and such actors as local officials, civil society representatives and migrants themselves; stocktaking and reflection on the views that were shared; and intergovernmental negotiations. In total, this open, transparent and inclusive process lasting over 18 months led to unprecedented dialogue and learning by all participants on the realities of international migration. The agreement now forms a basis to improve governance and international understanding of migration, to address the challenges associated with migration today, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.


Calling today a “historic moment,” the President of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, said the Global Compact’s potential was huge. He added, “It can guide us from a reactive to a proactive mode. It can help us to draw out the benefits of migration, and mitigate the risks. It can provide a new platform for cooperation. And it can be a resource, in finding the right balance between the rights of people and the sovereignty of States. And, in December, it will formally become the first comprehensive framework on migration the world has ever seen.”


Also taking the floor was the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who said, “Migration raises profound issues: around State sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.” She added, “This compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism: our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration – however complicated and contentious they may be.”


Ms. Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, added, “Human mobility will be with us, as it has always been. Its chaotic, dangerous exploitative aspects cannot be allowed to become a new normal. The implementation of the Compact will bring safety, order and economic progress to everyone’s benefit.”


Also at today’s meeting were the Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland to the United Nations, the co-facilitators who led the process and drafted the document.


The Permanent Representative of Mexico, H.E. Mr. Juan José Ignacio Gómez Camacho, said, “Migration was the only global issue that remained off the agenda at the UN. The Global Compact not only makes a practical difference in the lives of millions of migrants globally, but recognizes that no country can address it alone. The reason why this process was successful is because we negotiated based on evidence and facts, not perceptions and prejudices.”


The Permanent Representative of Switzerland, H.E. Mr. Jürg Lauber, added, “This text puts migration firmly on the global agenda. It will be a point of reference for years to come and induce real change on the ground. I view the successful conclusion of our negotiation as a strong commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation.”


The agreement will be formally adopted by Member States at the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 10 and 11 December 2018. Ms. Arbour will serve as the Secretary-General of the Conference.



Migration requires cooperation among governments

The following statement was issued ON 13 by the Spokesman for UN Secretary‑General António Guterres:

The Secretary‑General welcomes the successful conclusion, today at United Nations Headquarters, of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Firmly rooted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the commitments made in the New York Declaration, this will be the first global agreement designed to better manage international migration in all its dimensions, for the benefit of all States and communities, and with the rights of all migrants at the fore.

Agreement on the text of the Global Compact is a significant achievement.  It reflects the shared understanding by Governments that cross‑border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon, and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all.  It also recognizes that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection.

This comprehensive framework comprises a range of objectives, actions and avenues for implementation, follow‑up and review, all aimed at facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration, while reducing the incidence and impact of irregular migration.

The Secretary‑General commends the able stewardship of the Permanent Representatives of Mexico and Switzerland to the United Nations for bringing about today’s agreement under the aegis of the President of the General Assembly.

The Global Compact will be formally adopted by Heads of State and Government at an intergovernmental conference on 10‑11 December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco.  The Secretary‑General looks forward to attending this historic conference and to working with the entire United Nations System in supporting Member States to implement the Global Compact to make migration work for all.

Global Compact shows potential of multilateralism, calling collective response to Migration ‘Woefully Inadequate’


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the final round of negotiations towards a Global Compact for Migration, in New York on 13July:


You have delivered on the commitment of the New York Declaration, to craft a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  This compact demonstrates the potential of multilateralism:  our ability to come together on issues that demand global collaboration — however complicated and contentious they may be.


I thank and congratulate you, on behalf of the Secretary-General and myself, and on behalf of those who will benefit from this negotiation around the world.

Migration raises profound issues:  around State sovereignty and human rights; around what constitutes voluntary movement; the relationship between development and mobility; and how to support social cohesion.


The discourse around migration is increasingly hostile.  Too often, the reality of migrants’ lives — irregular and regular — is made even more difficult by prejudice and hardship.  This is not only dangerous.  It flies in the face of the overwhelmingly positive impact of migration.


The large mixed flows of refugees and migrants that we continue to witness, and the tens of thousands of preventable deaths of migrants in transit, show that our collective response is woefully inadequate.  However, today’s agreement will strengthen faith in our ability to develop cooperative approaches to global challenges.


Let me highlight four reasons why we believe this Compact is so important.  First, it is global; it does not focus on any particular region but considers all geographical locations and aspects of migration.  I commend your commitment to reviewing progress on a regular basis.  Second, the Compact’s aim is not to stop migration, but to manage it as a historic and ongoing reality, and to support the safe, orderly and regular movement of people.


Third, it reinforces the universality of our human rights — whoever and wherever we are.  And it will contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our shared road map for a safe, prosperous future on a healthy planet.  Finally, the Compact is a living document which recognizes that demographic, economic and other factors create a constantly changing canvas and will require an evolving response and collective responsibility.


I said earlier that the Compact represents the potential of multilateralism.  I use the word potential because the agreement, in principle, must now be matched by concrete action.

First, you will formally adopt the Compact, in Morocco, on 10 December.  The Morocco conference, at the highest political level, will bring the Compact to life and highlight our collective determination and responsibility to ensure its implementation.  I urge all your Governments to join the Secretary-General and our host, His Majesty the King of Morocco, in Marrakech.


Secondly, we must use the time until 10 December to generate momentum and ideas to give life to the Compact.  We in the United Nations system are committed to playing our part.  We have undertaken, in time for Marrakech, to put in place a United Nations migration network, to ensure coordinated, coherent support to the Compact’s implementation, with a particular focus on the country-level.


Some objectives of the Compact can be met unilaterally:  for example, the provision of basic services to migrants.  Many require cooperation, such as improving consular cooperation and promoting circular migration programs.


Other objectives can be achieved immediately.  There is nothing stopping us in the pursuit of better, more comprehensive migration data as a basis on which to develop stronger, evidence-based policies.  Much work, indeed, is already getting going in this regard.


Some, however, can only be addressed with time, such as enabling people to pursue their hopes for a better future without feeling compelled to travel outside their home countries.


Let us commit to working together in the coming months, with civil society, the private sector, civic and subnational authorities, young people and migrants’ movements, to generate ideas that will breathe life into the Compact.


The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides us, above all, with a platform for the future, but it will also be judged on its results today.  It provides a way forward to make an immediate and significant difference; to enable us to meet our collective global responsibility — if we can summon strong and universal political support.  The United Nations stands ready to assist you in rising to this challenge.



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