For the first time on 19 September 2016 Heads of State and Government came together to discuss, at the global level within the UN General Assembly, issues related to migration and refugees. This sent an important political message that migration and refugee matters have become major issues in the international agenda. In adopting the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the 193 UN Member States recognized the need for a comprehensive approach to human mobility and enhanced cooperation at the global level and committed to:
- protect the safety, dignity and human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status, and at all times;
- support countries rescuing, receiving and hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants;
- integrate migrants – addressing their needs and capacities as well as those of receiving communities – in humanitarian and development assistance frameworks and planning;
- combat xenophobia, racism and discrimination towards all migrants;
- develop, through a state-led process, non-binding principles and voluntary guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; and
- strengthen global governance of migration, including by bringing IOM into the UN family and through the development of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration
Annex II of the New York Declaration set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations culminating in the planned adoption of the global compact for migration at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018. It is intended to set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions.
The Modalities Resolution for the intergovernmental negotiations of the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration outline the key elements and timeline of the process. The global compact will be developed through an open, transparent and inclusive process of consultations and negotiations and the effective participation of all relevant stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, academic institutions, parliaments, diaspora communities, and migrant organizations in both the intergovernmental conference and its preparatory process.
Local authorities can make important contributions to the Global Compact on Migration, particularly through innovative and more effective approaches to urban governance that accounts for greater diversity, including migration policies for inclusive growth. These opportunities, if taken, would lead to a more constructive collaboration between central and local governments in a way that would favor migration governance for the benefit of all.