Civil society groups worldwide to meet with governments on migration:
Youth unemployment and irregular migration high on agenda
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GENEVA, 9 November 2011—Civil society representatives from over 60 countries will convene in Geneva to propose rights-based migration policies to governments at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) to be held from November 29th to December 2nd. 180 delegates will meet for two days to formulate recommendations on labour migration, which they will present to governments from some 130 countries on December 1st.
For the first time in the five-years of the GFMD, a non-governmental organization has been selected to organize the civil society gathering. The Swiss government, host of the 2011 GFMD, has appointed the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) to coordinate the focus and topics (which in the past simply mirrored the agenda of the host government) and the engagement of human rights organizations, development organizations, labour groups, academics, diaspora groups and the private sector.
Civil society’s singular focus this year is on labour migration. Participants will discuss the need to better facilitate labour matching procedures across borders, reduce irregular migration and close wide gaps in protection. Protection is especially important for middle and low-skilled migrant workers, such as those who work in agriculture, construction, hospitality, domestic work, and the global care industry. Delegates will address human rights issues that stem from the current mismanagement of labour migration, the positives and pitfalls of circular and temporary migration, and the need for decent jobs at home to promote the right to not migrate and reduce “brain drain.” They will also develop positive alternatives to irregular or undocumented migration.
The civil society groups will meet directly with government representatives during a half-day dialogue on December 1st. Moderated by BBC journalist Zeinab Badawi, this session will focus on global challenges of youth unemployment, development and migration. Experts will discuss practical alternatives to migrants remaining in undocumented or irregular immigration status. Breaking the taboo against addressing such phenomena at an international level, the dialogue will focus on how collaboration between governments and civil society can prevent irregularity and offer positive remedies for those in undocumented situations. One such remedy is regularization of undocumented migrants: a practical and under-utilized tool for managing the situation.
The GFMD is in a transitional year in 2011, with civil society and governments highly committed to taking action and measuring follow-up. States are currently conducting a formal evaluation to assess the GFMD’s impact over its five years and help determine its form and approach going forward. The GFMD emerged out of the UN High Level Dialogue in 2006 with the strong leadership of Sir Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and founding Director-General of the World Trade Organization. It is the first international process to succeed at regularly bringing together government decision-makers and civil society groups from developed and developing countries, north and south, to discuss migration and development policies that can rise to the challenge of globalized markets, societies and mobility.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org +41 22 919 1038
To attend as a media representative, please register at www.gfmdcivilsociety.org/media/registration