Forums for international dialogue

Dialogue forums are the first step toward developing governance on international migration. The essence of the dialogue approach is to provide informal settings for countries to discuss issues of migration without requiring a formal commitment. Various international bodies have initiated international forums to promote cooperation. Countries in the subregion are involved in a number of these forums including, among others:

The Global Commission on International Migration

Launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and a number of countries in December 2003, the Commission produced a final report in 2005, which contained outcomes from regional hearings, including from those held in Asia and the Pacific. The adoption of a final draft resolution by the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly decided that in 2006 the high-level dialogue of the General Assembly would be devoted to international migration and development.4

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

Open to all members and observers of the United Nations, this State-led process is informal, voluntary and non-binding. It was created to advance understanding and cooperation between migration and development and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes.5

The International Dialogue on Migration (IDM)

Established by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), this Dialogue organizes meetings on a regular basis for governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders to discuss migration policy issues, in order to explore and study policy issues of common interest and cooperate in addressing them.6 Countries in the subregion participate in these discussions, particularly prior to global forums on migration, and regional meetings are held to prioritize and position migration issues in the subregion.

In addition, a number of regional forums on migration have been organized by international organizations in the region. For example, the United Nations Asia-Pacific RCM Thematic Working Group on International Migration including Human Trafficking organized preparatory meetings to the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2008 and 2010, which was attended by representatives from many of the countries in the subregion. At the 2010 meeting, delegates from countries of destination and origin agreed upon the following set of recommendations to present at the Forum (United Nations Asia-Pacific RCM Thematic Working Group on International Migration including Human Trafficking 2011):

  • Integrate labour migration management strategies into national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, and further develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of migration management.
  • Mainstream labour, migration, population and development policies that respect international labour standards and protect the rights of all migrant workers, particularly women and children, and end the stigmatization and discrimination against migrants.
  • Develop minimum standards for health services for migrants and their families, including health financial schemes, health insurance abroad and social protection in health.

Notably, these efforts to realize global governance in migration issues cannot always be deemed as being successful, and outcomes from these multilateral and global discussions do not necessarily bring immediate change at the national level.

 

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4 See www.un-ngls.org/orf/international_migration.htm.

5 See www.gfmd.org/en/process.html.

6 For more details see www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/policy-research/international-dialogue-migration/lang/en.