Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)


Established 2007

Type : Global Process on Migration

The GFMD is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations and selected  observer organizations . It was created upon the proposal of the UN Secretary-General at the September 2006 General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. Its main purpose is  to address, in a transparent manner, the multidimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to international migration and its inter-linkages with development, to bring together government expertise from all regions, to enhance dialogue and cooperation and partnership and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national, regional and global levels.
Each year, the GFMD is organized by a different host government. Since the first meeting in Belgium in 2007, the GFMD has traveled the world - to the Philippines in 2008, Greece in 2009, Mexico in 2010, Switzerland in 2011, Mauritius in 2012, Sweden in 2014, Turkey in 2015, Bangladesh in 2016 and Germany in 2017, Morocco in 2018, Ecuador in 2019 and the United Arab Emirates in 2020. The Thirteenth GFMD meeting will be held virtually on 18-26 January 2021.

The GFMD has a  supporting framework , which contains the following structures:

  • The  Troika, composed of the past, current and future Chairs, offers political and strategic guidance to the  Chair-in-Office ;
  • The  Steering Group, comprised of 29 governments provides political and conceptual support to the GFMD process;
  • The  Friends of the Forum, a consultative body open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations and GFMD Observers;
  • The GFMD Support Unit (January 2009 - January 2021) provided secretariat support to the Chair-in-Office by offering substantive (including GFMD communication and the GFMD Platform for Partnerships), liaison, financial, administrative and logistical services; 
  • Designated national Focal Points enable the GFMD to liaise with participating governments and facilitate dialogue and greater coordination at the national level;
  • The Chair-in-Office is assisted by a national Taskforce comprised of national and / or international advisers to help the Chair with the overall organization of the GFMD process.

Since its inception, the GFMD process has brought together expertise from all regions and countries at all stages of economic, social and political development. Policy-makers participate in GFMD meetings and activities, representing a wide range of government agencies, including from Ministries and Departments of Immigration, Development, Labor, Foreign Affairs, Gender Equality, Home Affairs, Justice, Interior, Integration and Nationals Abroad. Over the years, the GFMD has operated on the basis of a unique participative working method, involving governments and policy makers from a varied background. UN and other international agencies, civil society organizations and businesses are also engaged as distinct and crucial partners in the process.

civil society process has accompanied the GFMD from the beginning, aiming to give voice and recognize the expertise of academia, NGOs, trade unions, migrants and diaspora representatives in the Forum.

After discussions of the crucial role that the private sector plays in managing migration challenges and opportunities, participating governments endorsed the establishment of the GFMD business mechanism  at the Istanbul Summit in 2016. The aim is to improve migration governance by, on one hand, enabling employers to actively contribute to contemporary migration policy debates and cooperation, on the other hand, enabling governments to understand how migration policies and practices affect business operations at national, regional and global levels.

To deepen the engagement between governments and these other mechanisms, a "Common Space" beginning 2010 has brought together governments, civil society and private sector representatives, and international organizations at the GFMD Summit to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest.

GFMD and the UN
The GFMD has worked closely with UN specialized agencies and international organizations not only in developing the GFMD thematic agenda, but also in fostering a common understanding of current global migration realities and challenges, while highlighting the mutually reinforcing links between migration and development . With support from the UN community, the GFMD has engendered a human rights-centered approach to migration policy-making and advocated successfully for the inclusion of migration in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. GFMD has also engineered the creation of the GFMD Platform for Partnerships  (PfP), which serves as a mechanism for States to share good policy and practices, thus improving learning and cooperation. The PfP's continuously expanding online Policy and Practice Database currently hosts over 1300 examples of these practices.

In September 2016, world leaders adopted the  New York Declaration which recognized the need to strengthen international cooperation on migration and committed UN Member States to negotiate a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration  (GCM). Both the New York Declaration and the ensuing GCM Modalities recognized the GFMD as an important platform and envisaged its contribution to the GCM process. The GCM was adopted and formally endorsed by UN Member States in December 2018, providing a new basis for cooperation on international migration issues going forward.The GCM not only acknowledges the contributions of the GFMD, but also expressly invites the GFMD to engage in the implementation, follow-up and review of its objectives through its tested working methods, namely by providing a platform for Member States to exchange experiences on implementation , sharing good practices on policies and cooperation, promoting innovative approaches, and fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships around specific policy issues.

Taking up the invitation, the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs Germany and Morocco have structured their Co-Chairmanship around working towards a valuable GFMD contribution to the GCM process.Since January 2017, four GCM-focused events have been organized - one in New York (November 2016), two in Geneva (February and April 2017) and a stocktaking event in Vienna (September 2017). The Tenth GFMD Summit Roundtables in Berlin were likewise structured to systematically draw inputs for the GCM. Through these state-led and collaborative efforts, the GFMD prepared its contribution– the GFMD Thematic Recollection from 2007 to 2017 - which highlights the main recommendations from previous GFMD Summits and examples of migration and development policies and programs from among over 1,000 entries in the GFMD's Policy and Practice Database .The GFMD Thematic Recollection was submitted to the GCM co-facilitators and to the UN SRSG for International Migration, Mrs. Louise Arbor, during the GCM stocktaking in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on 4-6 December 2017.

Until 2018, the GFMD's strong link with the United Nations was maintained through the Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration and Development (SRSG)  (Mr . Peter Sutherland, 2006-2016 SRSG, and Ms. Louise Arbor 2017-2018 SRSG)  and the  Global Migration Group (GMG), an inter-agency group which aimed to promote the wider application of all relevant regional and international instruments for a better coordinated approach to international migration.In 2016, the IOM was admitted as a member of the UN family. In 2018, the GMG was replaced by the UN Network on Migration . Both the IOM, as the UN migration agency, and the Network now serve as the GFMD's primary links to the UN System.

Current Thematic Focus
(The vision of the GFMD 2020 Chair United Arab Emirates)

  • The Governance of Labor Migration in the Context of Changing Employment Landscapes
  • Skilling Migrants for Employment
  • Leveraging New Technologies to Empower Migrants
  • Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection
  • Discussing Approaches to Address irregular Migration -What Works? What Doesn't?
  • Fostering Partnerships to Realize Migration-Related Goals in the Sustainable Development Agenda and Managing the Future of Human Mobility

Participating States  (195 states)

Afghanistan Democratic Republic of the Congo    
Albania Costa Rica Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Algeria Ivory Coast Iraq
Andorra Croatia Ireland
Angola Cuba Israel
Antigua and Barbuda Cyprus Italy
Argentina Czechia Jamaica
Armenia Denmark Japan
Australia Djibouti Jordan
Austria Dominica Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan Dominican Republic Kenya
Bahamas Ecuador Kiribati
Bahrain Egypt Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Bangladesh El Salvador Republic of Korea
Barbados Equatorial Guinea Kuwait
Belarus Eritrea Kyrgyzstan
Belgium Estonia Lao People's Democratic Republic
Belize Eswatini Latvia
Benign Ethiopia Lebanon
Bhutan Fiji Lesotho
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) Finland Liberia
Bosnia and Herzegovina France Libya
Botswana Gabon Liechtenstein
Brazil Gambia Lithuania
Brunei Darussalam Georgia Luxembourg
Bulgaria Germany Madagascar
Burkina Faso Ghana Malawi
Burundi Greece Malaysia
Cabo Verde Grenada Maldives
Cambodia Guatemala Mali
Cameroon Guinea Malta
Canada Guinea-Bissau Marshall islands
Central African Republic Guyana Mauritania
Chad Haiti Mauritius
Chile Holy see Mexico
China Honduras Micronesia (Federated States of)
Colombia Hungary Republic of Moldova
Comoros Iceland Monaco
Congo India Mongolia


Mozambique Singapore
Myanmar Slovakia
Namibia Slovenia
Nauru Solomon Islands
Nepal Somalia
Netherlands, The South Africa
New Zealand South Sudan
Nicaragua Spain
Niger Sri Lanka
Nigeria Sudan
North Macedonia Suriname
Norway Sweden
Oman Switzerland
Pakistan Syrian Arab Republic
Palau Tajikistan
Palestinian Territories United Republic of Tanzania
Panama Thailand
Papua New Guinea Timor-Leste
Paraguay Togo
Peru Tonga
Philippines Trinidad and Tobago
Poland Tunisia
Portugal Turkey
Qatar Turkmenistan
Romania Tuvalu
Russia Uganda
Rwanda Ukraine
Saint Kitts and Nevis United Arab Emirates
Saint Lucia United Kingdom
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines United States
Samoa Uruguay
San Marino Uzbekistan
Sao Tome and Principe Vanuatu
Saudi Arabia Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Senegal Viet Nam
Serbia Yemen
Seychelles Zambia
Sierra Leone Zimbabwe

Chair 2021: To be decided

The annual GFMD Troika composition since 2007 is as follows:

  • GFMD 2021: Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates and France
  • GFMD 2020 : The United Arab Emirates, Ecuador and Morocco
  • GFMD 2019 : Ecuador, Germany and Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates
  • GFMD 2017-2018:  Bangladesh, Germany and Morocco
  • GFMD 2016: Turkey, Bangladesh, Germany and Morocco
  • GFMD 2014-2015 : Sweden, Turkey and Bangladesh
  • GFMD 2013-2014 : Mauritius, Sweden and Turkey
  • GFMD 2012 : Switzerland, Mauritius and Sweden
  • GFMD 2011 : Mexico, Switzerland and Mauritius
  • GFMD 2010 : Greece, Mexico and Switzerland
  • GFMD 2009 : Philippines, Greece and Mexico
  • GFMD 2008 : Belgium, Philippines, Greece
  • GFMD 2007 : Belgium and Philippines

Observer Organizations (57 organizations)
African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
ACP-EU Migration Action
African Development Bank
African Union
Asian Development Bank
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Committee on the  Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
European Union  (EU)
Food and Agricultural Organization
Inter-American Conference on Social Security
Inter-American Development Bank
International Catholic Migration Commission
International Center for Migration Policy Development
International Committee of the Red Cross
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labor Organization  (ILO)
International Organization of Employers Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

International Organization for Migration  (IOM)
International Organization of the Francophonie
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Joint Migration and Development Initiative
Latin American and Caribbean Economic System  (SELA)
League of Arab States  (LAS)
Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
Partners in Population and Development
Platform on Disaster Displacement
Secretaría General Iberoamericana
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
UN Network on Migration 
United Nations Alliance of Civilization
United Nations Children's Fund  (UNICEF)
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
UN Women
United Nations Development Program 
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Human Security Unit
United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat)
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Population Fund  (UNFPA)
United Nations Regional Commissions
United Nations Special Rapporteur  on the Human Rights of Migrants
United Nations University (UNU)

Universal Postal Union (UPU)
World Bank
World Health Organization

Observer ISCMs  (3 ISCMs)
Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC)
Regional Conference on Migration (Puebla Process) 
South American Conference on Migration (SACM)

GFMD Steering Group
The Steering Group is comprised of governments that are firmly committed to offer sustained political and conceptual support to the Forum process and to the Chair-in-Office, and to ensure continuity of the process. It is regionally balanced, and its composition takes into account different migration perspectives. 

The GFMD Steering Group including 29 governments:

Institutional Partners
GFMD Civil Society
Civil Society Network , coordinated by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC).

Private Sector
GFMD Business Mechanism , co-coordinated by the  International Organization of Employers  (IOE) and the  World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Migration  (WEF GFCM).

GFMD Mayors' Mechanism
The Mayors Mechanism is co-steered by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

From January 2009 until January 2021 the GFMD Support Unit (SU) provided  the rotating Chair-in-Office with administrative, financial, logistical and logistical support. It was administratively housed but not managed by IOM in Geneva. 


Meetings [1]
January 18-26, 2021, Virtual Event , the Thirteenth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  "The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development".
June 15, June 29, July 1, 2020, Virtual Events, Bali Process Online Regional Consultation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
June 4, June 11, June 18, July 3, 2020, Virtual Events, Regional Conference on Migration (RCM ) Online Regional Consultation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
May 12, May 14, May 19, June 2, June 23, June 25, 2020, Virtual Events, African Union Online Regional Consultation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development 
April 28, April 30, 2020, Virtual Event, Webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 on Migrants, Migration and Development
January 20-24, 2020, Quito, Ecuador, the
Twelfth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  “Sustainable approaches to human mobility: Upholding rights, strengthening state agency, and advancing development through partnerships and collective action ”.
December 5-7, 2018, Marrakesh, Morocco, the Eleventh Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development "Honoring International Commitments to Unlock the Potential of All Migrants for Development".
June 28-30, 2017, Berlin, Germany, the  Tenth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”.
December 10-12, 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh, the  Ninth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  “Migration that works for Sustainable Development of all: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”.
October 14-16, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey, the  Eighth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  “Strengthening Partnerships: Human Mobility for Sustainable Development” .
May 14-16, 2014, Stockholm, Sweden, the  Seventh Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  “Unlocking the Potential of Migration for Inclusive Development”.
November 19-22, 2012, Port Louis, Mauritius, the Sixth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Enhancing the Human Development of Migrants and their Contribution to the Development of Communities and States”. November 29 to December 2, 2011 , Geneva, Switzerland, the  Fifth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development  “Taking Action on Migration and Development - Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation”. November 8-11, 2010, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the  Fourth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Partnerships for Migration and Human Development - shared prosperity, shared responsibility”. November 2-5, 2009, Athens, Greece, the  Third GFMD Meeting  
 “Integrating Migration Policies into Development Strategies for the Benefit of All”.
October 27-30, 2008, Manila, Philippines, the  2nd GFMD Meeting  "Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development".
July 9-11, 2007, Brussels, Belgium, First Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development

[1] In view of the Second UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration in October 2013, there was no GFMD Summit Meeting held that year.

Main Documents
GFMD Operating Modalities
GFMD Thematic Recollection (2007-2017)  - GFMD's Contributions to the GCM  [FR] [ES]
Long - term Financing Framework for the GFMD

Report of the 10-year review