Asia-Pacific States Prepare for Global Compact for Migration

Capacity Building, Global Compact, Global Compact on Migration

Bangkok – Asia-Pacific nations met in Bangkok yesterday (6/11) to begin three days of regional consultations on the creation of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The meeting, hosted by Thailand and the UN Regional Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and UN partners, including UNHCR, ILO, UNFPA and UN Women, will provide regional input to inform the Global Compact – the first intergovernmental effort to comprehensively improve the management of international migration.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing welcomed high level delegates from governments and civil society across the Asia-Pacific region, noting that a balanced and workable GCM would need to reflect the views and perspectives of all regions to ensure that it is owned and implemented by all governments and regional actors alike.

“IOM believes that the Global Compact presents an invaluable opportunity for the international community to work in a dedicated manner towards a common vision of a world in which migrants move as a matter of choice and not necessity, and in which their rights are protected throughout their migratory cycle; a world in which migration is well governed, leading to positive effects for all peoples and societies, and where any negative effects of migration are limited,” he said.

“Migration has tremendous potential to contribute to sustainable development for all people in Asia and the Pacific – migrants, those they leave behind, and their countries of destination,” said UNESCAP Executive Director Dr. Shamshad Akhtar.

“However, this potential can only be reached if we address the common problems all stakeholders face, the difficulties faced by migrants in accessing regular migration channels, the abuses migrants suffer at the hands of unscrupulous employers, and the lack of social protection of migrants,” she added.

International migration is a major phenomenon in the Asia-Pacific region, with over 62 million migrants living in the region, and almost 102 million claiming it as their region of origin.

Most are engaged in labour migration, taking up low-skilled work in developing countries, and many face human rights abuses because of their race, gender, ethnicity of cultural background. This exploitation not only affect people’s human rights. It also impacts on the contributions they make both at home and abroad.

On September 19, 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration aimed at improving the way in which the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants, as well as to protracted refugee situations.

It paved the way for the expected adoption in late 2018 of two new Global Compacts – one on refugees and one for safe, orderly and regular migration. The Global Compact is a significant opportunity to improve governance, and address the challenges associated with today’s migration. It will also help to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

IOM provides policy and technical expertise to the Offices of the President of the UN General Assembly and the Special Representative for the UN Secretary-General on International Migration, Canadian jurist Louise Arbour, who serves as the Secretary-General for the intergovernmental process to adopt the GCM.

For media enquiries, please contact Chris Lom at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Email:, Tel. +66.626028752.

  • IOM DG Swing addresses UNESCAP member states in Bangkok. Photo: Chris Lom / IOM 2017