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UN Initiatives on International Migration



The Global Commission on International Migration's recent report: Migration in an interconnected world: New directions for action - Download


Three recent UN initiatives focusing on international migration issues, include the following:

1) The establishment of the independent Global Commission on International Migration to study how to improve cooperation among UN and other international agencies;

2) The adoption of a final draft resolution by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly deciding that in 2006 the high-level dialogue of the General Assembly will be devoted to international migration and development; and

3) The establishment of the Geneva Migration Group by the International Organisation on Migration, bringing together the heads of four UN agencies.


1) The Global Commission on International Migration
The independent Global Commission on International Migration has been established to study how to improve cooperation among UN and other international agencies, and aims to provide a comprehensive response to migration issues, backed by about a dozen governments and jointly headed by Sweden and Switzerland.

The Commission is co-chaired by Sweden's former Minister for Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy Jan O. Karlsson, and World Bank Managing Director Mamphela Ramphele, a South African. Other members are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Italy, Mexico the Philippines and Switzerland.

The Commission's tasks include analyzing shortcomings in current approaches to migration and examining inter-linkages with other issues -- and presenting recommendations to stakeholders. The Commission will begin its work in January 2004, and will issue a final report to the UN Secretary-General in mid-2005. Ms. Ramphele stated that "the Commission hopes to reinforce the importance of migration on the international agenda and advance the interests of migrants and countries of origin, transit, and destination."

The UN Secretary-General supports the initiative, and endorsed it in a speech at Columbia University on 21 November, in which he stated, "It has my full backing, and I hope it will receive support from states in all parts of the world. Most of all, I hope it will help us approach this issue creatively and cooperatively." He added that "we still lack a comprehensive institutional focus at the international level that could protect the rights of migrants and promote the shared interest of emigration, immigration and transit."

According to a senior UN official, the idea for the Commission came from a core of 11 countries from the North and South, led by Sweden and Switzerland. The panel will be launched this month in Geneva, and is expected to begin work in January 2004 and complete its final report by the middle of 2005. The official said the Commission would have a three-part mandate: to bring the issues surrounding international migration to the top of the global agenda, to analyze shortcomings and gaps in approaches by governments or other bodies to migration, and to make practical recommendations for how to manage migration better.

2) The high-level dialogue of the General Assembly devoted to international migration and development in 2006.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the General Assembly has agreed on a resolution (A/C.2/58/L.77) to be formally adopted by the General Assembly on 23 December, which decides that in 2006 the high-level dialogue of the General Assembly will be devoted to international migration and development. The purpose of the dialogue is to discuss the miltidimensional aspects of international migration and development in order to identify appropriate ways and means to maximize its development benefits and minimize its negative impacts. The resolution also calls for the Secretary-General to submit a report to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session (2004) on, among other things, best practices on managed migration, a review of major initiatives of Member States; and possible action-oriented options for the consideration of the General Assembly. The full resolution can be found by clicking HERE.


3) The Geneva Migration Group

The International Organisation for Migration, an intergovernmental body with more than 100 member states, has created an informal group, the Geneva Migration Group, which brings together the heads of several major UN agencies (ILO, UNCTAD, UNHCR, UNHCHR, UNODC), to discuss ways of managing migration and share information about population movements, and facilitate policy discussion on issues which impact upon a broad spectrum of organizations, whose work affects or is affected by international population flows and which require intensified collaboration.