Migration Governance in the UN: What is the Global Compact and What Does it Mean?
16 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 8, 2017
The subject of this Working Paper is the UN Global Compact on Migration in respect of which negotiations open at the beginning of 2017 in New York. The working paper sets out the background to the resolution of the UN General Assembly now called the New York Declaration of 19 September 2016 which calls for two compacts one on migration and the other on refugees (the second led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is outside the scope of this paper). The paper examines the political developments which have preceded the New York Declaration on the Global Compact and the role of the International Organization for Migration which became a UN related organisation in July 2016. We focus on two key issues which need to be examined in the negotiations: (1) The existing UN migration norms which have been adopted mainly in the framework of human rights (conventions, General Comments of Treaty Bodies, Resolutions and Guidelines already adopted) need to be at the heart of the Compact; (2) The International Organization for Migration has been allocated a central role in aiding the negotiation of the Global Compact. Yet in the agreement between the IOM and UN setting out the terms of the relationship, IOM's status as a 'non-normative' body is reiterated and acknowledged by the UN. This 'non-normative' position of the IOM must not become an obstacle to building the Global Compact on the existing UN normative human rights framework.
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