The Global Commission on International Migration, the first-ever global panel addressing international migration, was officially launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and a number of governments on 9 December 2003 in Geneva. It was composed of 19 members, drawn from all regions and bringing together a wide range of migration perspectives and expertise.

In promoting a comprehensive debate on international migration, the Commission sought to develop a broader understanding of international migration by:

  • Reviewing government and other migration expertise, policy approaches and best practices in all regions
  • Conducting research and exploring migration interlinkages with such areas as:
    • Development

    • Trade

    • Human security

    • Demography

    • Forced displacement

    • Migrant remittances

    • International cooperation

    • Private sector involvement

    • The role of the media

    • National and international security
  • Collecting and disseminating migration-related information, and
  • Maintaining an overall focus on how to strengthen the international governance of migration. 

The Global Commission on International Migration finished its work on 31 December 2005.

Core Group of States

The Commission was an independent body. It carried out its tasks in full political, analytical and managerial independence. Commissioners and Co-chairs acted in their personal capacity only.

  1. Following a proposal by the United Nations Secretary-General in July 2003, a Core Group of interested States convened for the purpose of preparing the establishment of the Commission. Switzerland and Sweden, together with Brazil, Morocco and the Philippines, developed an initial draft of the Commission mandate, which was reviewed further by an expanded open-ended Core Group that included 34 governments*. With the creation of the Commission on 1 January 2004, the Core Group acted as an informal consultative body for the Commission.
  2. By participating in the Core Group, governments:
    • supported the creation of the Commission as initially suggested by the Secretary-General;
    • endorsed the purpose of the Commission;
    • followed and support the work of the Commission; and
    • were available for on-going consultations with the Commission.
  3. The working relationship between the Commission and the Core Group was as follows:
    • The Core Group served as a reference point for government consultations by the Commission in order to receive input for its activities.
    • The Commission kept the Core Group informed of overall work in progress, through interim reports and by organizing meetings at regular intervals with all Core Group members. Such meetings normally took place with Permanent Missions in Geneva. Meetings were also be held in New York.
    • The Commission could consult with individual Core Group members, including the two Co-chairs of the Core Group, Switzerland and Sweden.
    • Interested Core Group governments could offer diplomatic, logistical and financial support to the Commission in the preparation and organization of Regional Commission Meetings that will involve other governments, international institutions and the non-governmental sector (academia, corporate sector, NGOs, media, etc.)
    • Irrespective of the region where Regional Commission Meetings are held, Core Group members were invited through their respective local representatives and/or otherwise.
    • No financial commitments arose from participation in the Group. Interested Core Group governments could, however, consider making available financial support to the Budget of the Commission, to ensure the functioning of the Secretariat and the work of the Commission.

The Core Group comprised:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran, Islamic Republic of
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russian Federation
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

The Core Group was chaired by Switzerland and Sweden. The Group was open-ended. Other governments expressed interest in joining the Group which also acted as a reference point for consultations by the Commission.


Migration has become a key issue for countries all over the world. An estimated 191 million persons are international migrants. A combination of contemporary forces including conflict and instability, global demographic and economic trends, facilitated travel and communication, all create powerful incentives for people to move. The scope and nature of migration is such that all countries are affected whether they are countries of origin, transit or destination, or a combination thereof.

While national policies on migration are primarily formulated on the basis of national interest, their impact has broader repercussions on states and regions beyond the countries directly concerned. As a result, during the last few years, states have increasingly sought to strengthen inter-state co-operation in order to address migration flows through a coordinated and effective approach. Intergovernmental consultation processes and international initiatives are contributing to this objective.

The aim of the Commission was to provide the framework for the formulation of a coherent, comprehensive and global response to migration

The Commission's mandate was to:

  1. Place international migration on the global agenda by promoting a comprehensive debate among governments, international organizations, academia, civil society, private sector, media and other actors on all aspects of migration and issues related to migration.

  2. Analyze gaps in current policy approaches to migration and examining inter-linkages with other issue-areas by focusing on various approaches and perspectives of governments and other stakeholders in different regions, and by addressing the relationship of migration with other global issues that impact on and cause migration.

  3. Present recommendations to the United Nations Secretary-General and other stakeholders on how to strengthen national, regional and global governance of international migration.

Regional Hearing Reports
Report of the GCIM

Migration in an Inter- connected World: New Directions for Action provides a comprehen- sive yet concise analysis of key global policy issues in the field of international migration. EN | DE | PT

Regional Studies
  1. Migration in the Americas - Kevin O'Neil, Kimberly Hamilton and Demetrios Papademetriou
  2. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region - Graeme Hugo
  3. Migration in the countries of the former Soviet Union - Valery Tishkov, Zhanna Zayinchkovskaya and Galina Vitkovskaya
  4. Migration in Europe - Christina Boswell
  5. Migration in the Middle East and Mediterranean - Martin Baldwin-Edwards
  6. Migration in South and South-West Asia - Binod Khadria
  7. Migration in Southern Africa - Jonathan Crush, Vincent Williams and Sally Peberdy
  8. Migration in West Africa - Aderanti Adepoju
Thematic Studies
  1. Migrants in the global labor market - Philip Martin
  2. Migration and development - Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah
  3. Irregular migration, state security and human security - Khalid Koser
  4. Migrants in society: diversity and cohesion - Graeme Hugo
  5. International migration and health - Manuel Carballo and Mourtala Mboup
  6. International migration and human rights - Stefanie Grant
  7. The legal and normative framework of international migration - Susan Martin
  8. The governance of international migration: mechanisms, processes and institutions - Kathleen Newland
  9. Gender and migration - Nicola Piper
  10. International migration data collection - John Parker
  11. The right to leave one's own country under international law - Colin Harvey and Robert P. Barnidge, Jr.
  12. The potential of temporary migration programmes in future international migration policy - Martin Ruhs
  13. Portability regimes of pension and health care benefits for international migrants: an analysis of issues and good practices - Robert Holzmann, Johannes Koettl and Taras Chernetsky
Related documents
  1. Immigration to post-apartheid South Africa - Brij Maharaj, August 2004
  2. Victims of trafficking for forced prostitution: Protection mechanisms and the right to remain in the destination countries - Olivera Simic, June 2004
  3. Migration, Human Rights and the United Nations - Antoine Pécoud and Paul de Guchteneire, September 2004
  4. Immigration Policy: Methods of Economic Assessment - Don J. DeVoretz, October 2004
  5. Democracy and discrimination: black African migrants in South Africa - Loren B Landau, October 2004
  6. The transnational turn in migration studies - Peggy Levitt and Ninna Nyborg-Sorensen, October 2004
  7. Irregular migration and health - Douglas W. MacPherson and Brian D. Gushulak, October 2004
  8. Possible steps towards an international regime for mobility and security - Rey Koslowski, October 2004
  9. Money and mobility: transnational livelihood strategies of the Somali diaspora - Cindy Horst, October 2004
  10. Diasporas and development: the case of Kenya - Dharam Ghai, October 2004
  11. Reconciling refugee protection with efforts to combat irregular migration: the case of Turkey and the EU - Kemal Kirisci, October 2004
  12. The role of civil society in the migration policy debate - Colleen Thouez, October 2004
  13. La emergencia de una identidad diaspórica entre los caboverdeanos de Argentina - Marta Maffia, October 2004
  14. International migration in contemporary Ukraine: trends and policy - Olena Malynovska, October 2004
  15. Movement of workers in the WTO negotiations: a development perspective - Gabriela Wurcel, October 2004
  16. Migrants, labour markets and integration in Europe: a comparative analysis - Rainer Münz, October 2004
  17. Biometrics, international migrants and human rights - Rebekah Alys Lowri Thomas, January 2005
  18. Remittances as unforeseen burdens: the livelihoods and social obligations of Sudanese refugees - Stephanie Riak Akuei, January 2005
  19. Citizenship policies: international, state, migrant and democratic perspectives - Rainer Bauböck, January 2005
  20. Convergence and divergence in migration policy: the role of regional consultative processes - Colleen Thouez & Frédérique Channac, January 2005
  21. Migration partnerships: new tools in the international migration debate - Alberto Groff, January 2005
  22. Beyond the bounds of responsibility: western states and measures to prevent the arrival of refugees - Matthew J. Gibney, January 2005
  23. Exploring the asylum-migration nexus: a case study of transit migrants in Europe - Aspasia Papadopoulou, January 2005
  24. Brain drain and beyond: returns and remittances of highly skilled migrants - Arno Tanner, January 2005
  25. Strangers in a strange land: international migration in Israel - Martha Kruger, January 2005
  26. The concept of 'effective protection' in the context of irregular secondary movements and protection in regions of origin - Catherine Phuong, April 2005
  27. Migration without borders: an investigation into the free movement of people - Antoine Pécoud and Paul de Guchteneire, April 2005
  28. Morocco’s migration transition: trends, determinants and future scenarios - Hein de Haas, April 2005
  29. Refugees, asylum seekers and anthropologists: the taboo on giving - Ellen Lammers, April 2005 
  30. International migration, remittances and development: myths and fact - Hein de Haas, April 2005 
  31. The costs of human smuggling and trafficking - Melanie Petros, April 2005 
  32. Déterminants, enjeux et perceptions des migrations scientifiques internationales africaines: le Sénégal - Ibrahima Amadou Dia, April 2005 
  33. Regularization programmes: an effective instrument of migration policy? - Aspasia Papadopoulou, May 2005
  34. Why asylum seekers seek refuge in particular destination countries: an exploration of key determinants -  Darren Middleton, May 2005
  35. Gender dimensions of international migration - Jørgen Carling, May 2005 
  36. The Development-Visa Scheme: a proposal for a market-based migration control policy - Michael Jandl, June 2005
  37. Where migration policy is made: starting to expose the labyrinth of national institutional settings for migration policy making and implementation - Joanne van Selm, July 2005
  38. Governing international migration in the city of the south - Marcello Balbo and Giovanna Marconi, September 2005
  39. Studying refugees and asylum seekers: notes on the politics of knowledge - Ellen Lammers, September 2005
  40. Child trafficking: the worst face of the world - Silvia Scarpa, September 2005
  41. Life in the world of shadows: the problematic of illegal migration - Jörg Alt, September 2005
  42. Indifference, impotence, and intolerance: transnational Bangladeshis in India - Sujata Ramachandran, September 2005
  43. Unequal access to foreign spaces:  how states use visa restrictions to regulate mobility in a globalized world - Eric Neumayer, September 2005
  44. Global care chains: a critical introduction - Nicola Yeates, September 2005
  45. Public policies and community services for immigrant integration: Italy and the European Union - Paolo Ruspini, September 2005
  46. Global governance for migration and the environment: what can we learn from each other? - Jessica F. Green and Colleen Thouez, September 2005
  47. Formalizing the informal economy: Somali refugee and migrant trade networks in Nairobi - Elizabeth H. Campbell, September 2005
  48. Ghanaian migrants’ double engagement: a transnational view of development and integration policies - Valentina Mazzucato, October 2005
  49. Employment and integration of refugee doctors in Scotland - Emma Stewart, October 2005
  50. International migration and livelihoods in southeast Nigeria - Chinedum Nwajiuba, October 2005
  51. Impulsar el desarrollo a través de la circulación del conocimiento: una mirada distinta a las migraciones de los mexicanos altamente calificados - Gabriela Tejada Guerrero and Jean-Claude Bolay, October 2005
  52. Enhancing development through knowledge circulation: a different view of the migration of highly skilled Mexicans - Gabriela Tejada Guerrero and Jean-Claude Bolay, November 2005
  53. Entre logiques et utilités entrepreneuriales: les négociants migrants originaires d’Afrique subsaharienne installés à Liège, Belgique - Aly Tandian, October 2005
  54. Crisis in the countries of origin and illegal immigration into Europe via Italy - Maria Concetta Chiuri, Giuseppe De Arcangelis and Giovanni Ferri, October 2005
  55. Migrations internationales estudiantines, internationalisation de l’enseignement supérieur et fuite des cerveaux - Ibrahima Amadou Dia, November 2005
  56. De l’utilité de genre dans les politiques et les programmes de prévention du sida dans le contexte migratoire - Ibrahima Amadou Dia, November 2005
  57. De l’intégration des immigrés: le discours et la méthode - Ali Jaouani, December 2005
Related links
  1. Full Mandate
  2. Summary Note
  3. List of GCIM Commissioners
  4. Short Biographies of GCIM Commissioners
  5. GCIM and the Core Group of States