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States adopt UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration


On 10 December 2018, 164 countries formally adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, a non-binding global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The Global Compact had been agreed in July 2018 by all 193 UN member states, except the United States. However in addition to the United States, several other countries refused to adopt the Global Compact, including Hungary, Austria, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Chile and Australia. 

Negotiations leading to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration began in 2016, following the arrival of over one million people into Europe.

The Global Compact is framed consistent with target 10.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which Member States committed to cooperate internationally to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. It sets out 23 objectives for safe, orderly and regular migration. Some of the objectives and policy recommendations aim to:

  • gather better data on international migration

  • minimise factors that compel people to leave their own country

  • provide migrants with a proof of legal identity

  • reduce vulnerabilities in migration, including "the conditions they face in countries of origin, transit and destination"

  • combat smuggling and people trafficking


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21 December 2018

UN experts welcome call to business to protect migrant workers by Global Compact for Migration

Author: UN experts, OHCHR

"New migration pact highlights key role of business in protecting migrants, say UN experts", 20 December 2018

UN experts... welcomed a call in the recently adopted Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) for States to partner with business to protect the rights of migrants and to ensure they share economic benefits they generate...

"Migrant workers all over the world are too often subjected to unethical recruitment processes, indecent work conditions and lack of social protection. In fact, these challenges are among the most critical that our societies face," the experts said.

... States can strengthen labour inspections and... ensure that employers do not confiscate passports and identity documents of migrant workers. "... [G]overnments should use regulation and policy to promote business respect for the rights of migrant workers. They should also lead by example, including in operations of State-owned enterprises and in public procurement."

Private sector employers must also respect the rights of migrants, act collectively and engage in key activities designed to identify solutions towards ensuring the GCM objectives are met in practice. For example, the GCM asks States to work with employers to ensure that migrant workers are provided with written contracts and are made aware of how to access effective complaint and redress mechanisms, in a language they understand...


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11 July 2018

Final draft of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Author: Global Compact for Migration


We, the Heads of State and Government and High Representatives, meeting in Morocco on 10 and 11 December 2018, reaffirming the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and determined to make an important contribution to enhanced cooperation on international migration in all its dimensions, have adopted this Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration...

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3 June 2018

Commentary: Proposed Global Compacts on Refugees & Migration can help int'l community plan for climate-induced displacement

Author: Kumi Naidoo, Eco-business

"The Coming Way of Climate Displacement", 28 May 2018

Governments around the world are engaged in a series of talks...one...focused on the protection of refugees; the other on migration... These discussions... will not result in legally binding agreements... [however] offer the international community an opportunity to plan for the impact of climate change, which will soon become a key driver of global displacement and migration... The Global Compact on Refugees that is currently under discussion... would commit signatories to protecting “those displaced by natural disasters and climate change.”... There has never been a global treaty governing migration... [and] [t]he proposed Global Compact for Migration... notes that climate change is among the “adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin.”... This type of regulatory language reaffirms what at-risk populations around the world already know: droughts, natural disasters, desertification, crop failure, and many other environmental changes are upending livelihoods and rendering entire communities uninhabitable.

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