Opening Plenary Presentation
by Colin Rajah, IOM Civil Society Liaison on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) For Euro-Marocain Plateforme civil society consultation for GFMD 2017-2018

Deep appreciation and thanks to TMP, EMCEMO and the Euro-Marocaine Plateforme for organizing this civil society meeting, and for inviting me to present on the Global Compact on Migration. My sincere apologies for not being able to be there in person but hope to engage more with all of you participants in the coming months on the road to Berlin and the Global Compact itself.

For more than a decade, our primary global frame of reference on migration has been either the UN High Level Dialogues or Global Forums on Migration and Development. In the beginning it was hard for us civil society to imagine such a big shift in our focus and advocacy, and it was not until 2008 at the 2nd GFMD in Manila that global civil society really became very active in our organizing and advocacy on it.

Last year, with the High Level Summit (HLS) and New York Declaration (NYD), we faced the same big shift in the global framework on migration. The NYD called for the creation of a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) that is expected to be adopted at the very first International Conference on Migration in September 2018 during the UN General Assembly in New York.

We cannot afford to underestimate how historic this moment is for us migrants. The GCM will shape the global agenda on migration for the coming 10-20 years at least! It will have a very deep impact on us migrants for better or worse. So it is absolutely essential that we are involved at all levels to provide input to make it better and not worse.

From now until December this year is a period of consultations for the GCM. From December – February 2018 will be the “stocktaking” and the first draft of the compact will come out then. And then from February – July 2018 will be the government negotiations. All this will hopefully result in a compact to be adopted at the International Conference in September 2018.

For this period now during the consultations, there are a few activities mostly concentrated in New York or Geneva. These include 6 thematic sessions (we just finished the first one this week in Geneva), and 2 days of stakeholder hearings.

However, we already knew that the way the UN had setup for civil society to engage in the process is very challenging – you have to have ECOSOC status or go through a special accreditation process. And also, there is no funding to support participation of groups who are not in New York or Geneva.

As such, we felt it was important to have regional consultations to really engage grassroots groups, migrant associations, diaspora organizations and others who will not have the opportunity to participate in New York or Geneva. It is absolutely important that our voices are heard in this process, and that we also proclaim “nothing about us without us.”

Because of that, we are organizing 6 regional civil society consultations (RCSC) in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America. These will be led by regional networks in each of those regions, and will include all the local, national and regional civil society groups and networks.

Each of these consultations will have a report that will be delivered to the governments during their regional consultations. We will also have a civil society stocktaking meeting at the end of the year to combine each report with the other ones, and present this to the governments. This way, we can ensure that our voices will not only be heard by the UN in this process, but that we can influence and advocate governments to also more closely align their points with ours.

For you Moroccans, you have the unique opportunity to participate in 3 consultations! You can of course join the African one or the Middle East one. And of course Moroccans in Europe will participate in the European consultation as well. We hope this will give you the best platform to share your views with others in the region, and also bring a strong voice to the GCM process globally.

I have circulated to TMP and EMCEMO a copy of the Moroccan government’s statement at the recent thematic session. I think you will find it useful to see what your government’s position is with the GCM. And I think it is possible to engage with them actively to push them to also have the best possible position in the GCM.

Beyond just the compact this year and next, there will be a very important time to implement it after 2018. So it is also very important to have strong cooperation with the governments so that we can ensure that civil society will also be involved in the implementation, and that our voices as migrants will remain a strong one in this for many years to come. It will give us an opportunity to finally hold the governments accountable and also push them to achieve the best results for the lives of migrants.

Thank you again to TMP, EMCEMO and the Euro-Marocaine Plateforme for this opportunity, which I am very humbled to be a part of. I look forward to continue to work alongside you in this process to achieve the best possible Global Compact on Migration. I remain as always, at your disposal and at your service in whatever way I can be. Thank you.