Statement by UN Network on Migration on the Formal Endorsement of the Global Compact for Migration

Photo: Rahma Soliman/IOM 2018

New York/Geneva — The new United Nations Network on Migration welcomes the formal endorsement, on 19 December 2018, by the General Assembly, of the outcome of the Marrakech Conference. The adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration represents a landmark moment in the pursuit of international cooperation on migration for the benefit of all.

In welcoming the decision by the General Assembly, Louise Arbour, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, said, “the formal endorsement of the Compact represents a resounding commitment to an international migration framework based on fact, not myth, and to an understanding that national migration policies are best implemented through cooperation not in isolation.”

“The Global Compact comes at an important moment,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. “It contains within it the promise of an evidence-based less politically charged discourse on migration, a plan for developing more comprehensive policies to improve the lives of migrants and the communities in which they live, and the possibility to reduce dangerous, chaotic and irregular migration flows”.

The Global Compact on Migration is the first-ever negotiated global framework on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. Though non-legally binding, the Compact is the product of an intensive process of negotiations providing a strong platform for cooperation on migration now and into the future, drawing on best practice and international law, to make migration safe and positive for all.

The Compact’s significance also lies in its recognition that effective migration policies, and greater protection of the vulnerable, require the support of many actors.  To that end, the Compact was strengthened by the engagement of a broad alliance of partners, including civil society, the private sector, trade unions, diaspora and migrant communities, national human rights institutions, local authorities, youth networks and other actors.

The United Nations system is committed to supporting the implementation of the Global Compact through the creation of the UN Network on Migration: a collaborative community of United Nations entities coming together to provide effective and coordinated support to Member States and other partners in carrying forward the objectives agreed to in Marrakech.  This Network will leverage the impact of the United Nations’ considerable expertise and capacity in helping to strengthen the benefits of migration and to address its many challenges.

“Migration is a phenomenon with many dimensions,” said António Vitorino, speaking as the Network Coordinator on behalf of its Executive Committee and wider membership.  “It touches on profound and urgent questions of sustainable development, climate change, humanitarian crisis, border control, security, fighting trafficking in human beings as well as smuggling, fostering means of legal migration, including for work, and greater protection of our universal human rights. No single part of the UN community can effectively address all dimensions of migration but together we have the chance to make a real difference.  That is what the Network is about.”

Recalling her closing comments at the Marrakech Conference, Louise Arbour said, “As the many initiatives proposed by the Compact start to take root, we will see lives saved, living conditions improve, and communities integrate and flourish through increased development and prosperity. Looking to the future, we will be better equipped to rely on a spirit of solidarity, rather than on indifference or – worse – selfishness that could otherwise tear us apart.”

The United Nations Network on Migration was established at the request of the Secretary-General and is welcomed in the Global Compact on Migration. It currently comprises 38 entities from within the United Nations system. The Director General of IOM is the Coordinator of the Network. An Executive Committee of eight provides strategic oversight and is the principal decision-making body of the Network.

Members of the Executive Committee are: the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

For more information please contact Charbel Raji,