Global Compact on Migration: What are the next steps for local and regional governments?

Global Compact on Migration

The process of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), which started in September 2017 through the New York Declaration on Migrants and Refugees in line with the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda and, subsequently, in the New Urban Agenda, is now reaching its end, as the last inter-governmental negotiation will be held in New York from 9 to 13 July, before the final approval of the GCM in Marrakesh (Morocco) on 10 and 11 December 2018.

Few months ahead of its approval, where does the first negotiated intergovernmental agreement stand on covering all dimensions of international migration in a comprehensive manner?  How does it, integrate and respond to the needs and expectations of Local and Regional Governments in terms of migration governance and their role in this frame?

How does the GCM take into account local and regional governments?

Since the release of the first zero draft (in February 2018 and after nearly one year of informal meetings and hearings with stakeholders), 5 rounds of intergovernmental negotiations took place already, integrating modifications a few at the time.

In particular, regarding the place and role of LRA’s, and even if there is still a margin to improve the recognition of their role and their full involvements in migration policies, the last version of the draft takes better into account LRAs and includes them as relevant actors in several dimensions. Among the most relevant points, we can mention the acknowledgment of the role of LRAs in providing information at all stages of migration, acting to address and reduce the vulnerabilities of migrants, supporting the inclusion of migrants and social cohesion of society, and contributing to and setting co-development strategies and programs. This last dimension is also reinforced by the recognition of the contribution of LRAs to international cooperation as a means of implementation of the GCM.

Another important progress which needs to be highlighted concerns the creation of a registration card that grants migrants both access to services and the participation in the social and economic life of the city, even if said document does not constitute an entitlement to citizenship or residency. This goes in line with several local indicatives as “Sanctuary Cities” or “Ciudades Refugio”, pledging for the right to the city of all migrants whatever their administrative status.

How the constituency of local and regional governments contributes to the GCM

UCLG and its sections have been following and contributing to the process (in particular with the Mechelen Declaration, together with IOM and UN-Habitat, the MC2CM policy recommendations, and participating in the intergovernmental negotiations) raising awareness on the need to include LRAs as key actors in the GCM, and involving them in the governance of migration at international, regional and national levels. Therefore, the GCM needs to define and implement clear mechanisms of inter-institutional coordination to facilitate the contribution of LRAs to the national migration policies.

Moreover, while principles such as the whole governments approach and the human rights-based approach are at the base of the GCM, LRAs are not considered as key stakeholders in these aspects. For UCLG, the GCM should acknowledge that integrated migration policies can only be implemented through the full involvement and consideration of LRAs and building upon their experiences, since they are at the front line of service provision to migrants, and should look at foreign population through the prism of Right to the City approach, consolidating a new narrative that supports migration as a means to strengthen  territories in terms of human, social, cultural and economic potential.

These points have been presented during the 5th negotiation (June 2018) by the city of New York, in representation of UCLG. The intervention advocated in particular to have clear references to Local Governments in the GCM; to recognize Local Governments’ expertise in policy objectives and to integrate Local Governments in the implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM.

Where to go from here

UCLG will follow the last round of negotiations and again present proposals of integration for a better inclusion and recognition of the role and needs of LRAs in the GCM.

Further, the network is mobilised around the topic, and several moments in the upcoming months will the work of LRAs on migration issues and contribute to reinforce the local knowledge on migration governance. Among others we can highlight:

  • Internationalisation of Local Authorities conference (Paris, 4 and 5 July). The event organised by Cités Unis France and Platforma, will seek how can international action support communities that host migrants.
  • World Human Rights Cities Forum - Whom Do We Live With? Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Peace (Gwangju, 18 – 21 October). The Global Forum will include specific session on migration governance and how cities can effectively implement the GCM with a specific view to inter-culturality and living together.
  • World Forum on Urban Violence (Madrid 4-8 November). Discrimination and rumours are part of urban violence, cities will in this frame discuss local policies that support antitumor and anti-discrimination strategies for a better inclusion and social cohesion at local level.
  • Africities (Marrakesh, 24-20 November). The biggest gathering of African local elected and leaders will dedicate a full day to the topic of migration and the place of LRAs in its governance, in a region where 80% of the migration is intra-continental.
  • The Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD) (Marrakesh 6-7 December), will offer opportunities to local leader to share their vision with national governments in a global stage conference.
  • Mayoral Forum on Mobility and Development (Marrakesh 9 December) – For its 5th edition, the Mayoral forum will seek to articulate the GCM with LRA agendas and see what means of implementation are needed for a full and efficient involvement of LRAs in migration governance. 

The list above is not exhaustive and represents just a visible part of the Wave of Action on migration involving UCLG, its networks and the constituency under the motto #AllMigrantsAllCitizens.

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