Thursday, 14 September 2017

The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was adopted by Member States of the UN on 19 September 2016, initiated a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations to develop a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

Guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the GCM is envisaged to contribute to global governance and enhanced cooperation on migrants and human mobility. The Modalities Resolution adopted in April 2017 established the procedures for the development of the GCM and encouraged effective participation in the intergovernmental conference and its preparatory process by all relevant stakeholders, including member states, civil society, the private sector, academic institutions, parliaments, diaspora communities, and migrant organizations. The resolution provides the basis for a series of thematic, regional and multi-stakeholder consultations to be convened between April and November 2017, to canvass views, perspectives and best practices.

The Colombo Declaration adopted at the August 2016 Ministerial level meeting, took note of the intergovernmental process to develop a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. To develop a common position on GCM, the representatives of the Colombo Process Member States (CPMS) gathered for a consultation held on 13 – 14 of September 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The primary purpose of the consultation was to discuss CP engagement in the GCM process. Inaugurating the meeting, State Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Nepal Honourable Dilli Bahadur Chaudhari stated that “while we (CPMS) discuss on our common position and recommendations to move ahead, we must not forget that the migrants from our countries immensely contribute to the development, prosperity and diversity of the transit and destination countries.” He further stated “this is an opportune time for us as the CPMS to strongly raise the common concerns of our migrants and suggest better options to address the issue which will also be beneficial for the transit and destination countries to better manage the migrants and in providing services to the migrants.” 

H.E. Deepak Dhital, Permanent Representative/Ambassador of Nepal to Geneva made a presentation on the draft statement agreed at the CP expert level meeting in Geneva on 8th of September 2017. The senior officials of the CPMS shared their experiences and identified common issues, set of recommendations and provided input in revising the draft statement. The discussions and recommendations were based on the inputs put forward by the five CP Thematic Area Working Groups in line with the current priorities: (a) Skills and qualification recognition processes of labour migrants, (b) Fostering ethical recruitment (c) Effective pre-departure orientation and empowerment for migrant workers (d) Remittances, and (e) International labour market analysis. 

Contributions made by other Regional Consultative Processes, Global Dialogues and other stakeholders were shared during the meeting. H.E. Roland Schäfer, Ambassador Designate, Embassy of Germany in Nepal made a brief presentation on Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) on GCM. Similarly, Mr. Vimalarathna Wansekara Mudiyanselage, Additional General Manager - International Affairs, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Government of Sri Lanka presented on the contributions to GCM by the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD). Germany and Sri Lanka are the Chair of GFMD and ADD respectively. In addition, Mr. William Gois, Regional Coordinator of the Migrant Forum in Asia briefly presented the civil society perspective to GCM.

The consultation provided the CPMS an excellent opportunity to collate and reflect on collective experiences and effective practices to address migration challenges and opportunities and ensure that the regional perspective is reflected in the CP statement on the GCM. The outcome of this meeting, the joint Colombo Process contribution to the GCM, will be shared at the Regional United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) consultation in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as submitted for consideration at the GCM stocktaking meeting in Mexico.  

Concluding the event, Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Nepal, Mr. Laxman Prasad Mainali stated that “CPMS common position to GCM will help develop a better compact that will lead to the successful GCM and will be a milestone document for advocating greater protection for the migrants in vulnerable situation, better matching of labour needs with available skills and leveraging of remittances for development.”

The consultation was hosted by the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). The event was supported by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).