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A Proposed Systematic Review Framework for the Global Compact on Migration

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In July 2018, 191 UN Member States agreed on the final text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Global Compact on Migration, or GCM, in short). The GCM will be formally adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco in December 2018. (See table 1 below for an outline of 23 GCM objectives.) The discussions on the implementation of the GCM will begin in 2019, taking into account the fact that the GCM is not legally binding, that it respects human rights of migrants and it also respects different national realities, policies and priorities. For follow-up and review, the GCM proposes the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) to take place every four years beginning in 2022, and Regional Migration Review Forums (RMRFs), every four years beginning in 2020. The modalities for the IMRF and the RMRF will not be defined until the UN General Assembly in 2019.

I’d like to propose a Systematic Review Framework (SRF) for the GCM. The proposal is somewhat similar to the Mutual Assessment Process (MAP) that the G20 implemented shortly after the global financial crisis in 2009.  A core element of the SRF will be the Activity and Review Template (ART), to be prepared by each Member State on a voluntary basis. The template will provide a compilation of ongoing or planned activities to address specific objectives of the GCM. Besides providing a benchmark to monitor progress from one year to another, the template will provide a rich source of information for peers to review as well as replicate. The template could also indicate complementary actions, if any, undertaken by (or expected from) partner countries, private foundations and civil society organizations.

Table 2 shows a stylized action and review template for a single objective (and its sub-objectives). Note that most of the countries should report activities relating to the particular objective from both perspectives, as a sending country and a receiving country for migrants. Other countries that’d be impacted by specific activities by a country could be alerted through the template, and they’d have an opportunity to provide comments. Also, the ARTs could be sent to an impartial agency (such as an umbrella knowledge network such as KNOMAD, or a few neutral members of the UN Migration Network) for verifying accuracy and mutual consistency of the activities. This agency (or these agencies) could be asked to prepare a report summarizing key developments during the years preceding the RMRF or the IMRF and identifying pressing policy issues that should be discussed at the upcoming RMRF/IMRF and in bilateral forums. Impartiality would be a key consideration in selecting the agency – those in charge of implementation of the GCM should be not entrusted with a review function, to avoid any conflict of interest.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) with its state-led and non-legally binding structure, could be called upon to implement the systematic review process in collaboration with KNOMAD and selected members of the UN Migration Network.
Table 1: Objectives of the Global Compact on Migration for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

(1) Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies
(2)  Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
(3) Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration
(4) Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation
(5) Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration
(6) Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work
(7) Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
(8) Save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants
(9) Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants
(10) Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international migration
(11) Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner
(12) Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral
(13) Use migration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives
(14) Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle
(15) Provide access to basic services for migrants
(16) Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion
(17)  Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
(18) Invest in skills development and facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences
(19)  Create conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries
(20) Promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants
(21) Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration
(22)  Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits
(23) Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration
Table 2: Systematic Review Framework for Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration: Stylized Activities and Review Template (ART)
Brief description of ART: context, purpose, guidance notes:
Name of the country:
  • GCM Objective 1:
  • Sub-objectives (all or some important ones):
  • Planned actions as migrant-sending country:
  • Planned actions as migrant-receiving or transit country:
  • Indicate other countries who'd be potentially impacted or who should know about your actions:
  • Indicate complementary actions you’d expect from partner countries; also indicate which countries:
  • Comments by partner countries:
  • Summary assessment by external experts (eg, KNOMAD and UN Migration Network) and additional actions identified:…Repeat for GCM Objectives 2-23.


Dilip Ratha

Lead Economist and Economic Adviser to the Vice President of Operations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank

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