UN signs migration agreement

For the first time, United Nations member states have agreed to a comprehensive Global Compact to better manage international migration, address its challenges, and potentially strengthen migrant rights.

The non-binding UN agreement comes after more than a year of discussions and consultations among member states, local officials, civil society groups and migrants themselves.

Calling the Compact “a significant achievement” UN Secretary General António Guterres said “it reflected the shared understanding by governments that cross-border migration is an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all. It also recognizes that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection.”

Mr Guterres added that “countries have the right and even the responsibility to determine their own migration policies, and to responsibly manage their borders.”

“It is a historic moment and it does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it. It is not legally binding. It does not dictate. It will not impose and it fully respects the sovereignty of States,”

UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák said. “We have never had an instrument that helps us to govern, to manage this process. We have been in reactive mode,”  Lajčák added.

The agreement forms a basis to improve governance and international understanding of migration, to address the challenges associated with migration today, and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

The pact is the first international convention that is focused on controlling migration. It lays out 23 objectives to encourage legal migration, as well as best practices to manage influxes of people as global migration has increased in recent years.

The United States withdrew from the UN pact on migration in December, saying it was “inconsistent” with its “immigration and refugee policies.” Hungary also followed suit, saying the deal encourages the movement of people who are “dangerous for the world”.

The agreement will be formally adopted on 10 and 11 December in Marrakesh, Morocco.

TMP – 13/08/2018

Photo source: news.un.org. Photo caption: Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (l), stands with ambassadors Juan José Gómez Camacho of Mexico (c) and Jürg Lauber of Switzerland (r), co-facilitators of negotiations on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, at UN Headquarters in New York, 13 July 2018.