When googling for the GFMD, you are quite likely to end up on a page covering the Global Forum on Media (!) Development. That is somewhat surprising, considering that at the previous meetings, representatives of up to 180 countries have participated, more than 30 international organisations were present as well as UN general secretary Ban Ki-Moon (not sure about this year). But as of yet, there is not even a wikipedia entry on the GFMD (I have been planning to write one for some time now, but was always put off by stories about strict wiki regulations, flaming of first-timers etc.)
So here are some super-brief facts:
There are more then 50 international organizations dealing with migration, but there is not one, single umbrella organisation (this is somewhat different in the case of refugees, i.e. the UNHCR). Against common believe, the IOM is not one such organisation, but that is a different story…
Migration has also been mostly absent from the UN process. An exception was the High- Level Dialogue (HLD) on Migration in 2006. But at the meeting, no consensus was reached about an institution or the like within the UN, so the GFMD was placed outside the UN process. It is state-led, informal and non-binding in its decisions – critics may say: a simple talk-shop.
Still, considering the poor track record in the field, talking about migration on a global level is a start at least. To this regards, government representatives (mostly senior officials) are meeting – as the name implies – annually since 2007 at the Government Meeting part of the GFMD.
Prior to that, representatives of migrant organisations, civil society etc. (the private sector is suspiciously absent) are meeting at the Civil Society Days of the GFMD.
(portal website for both meetings: http://www.gfmd.org/ )
The CSDs have been expanded to two days, and this year there is supposed to be a higher level of interaction between the two events.
Roundtable discussions form the main part of interaction during the two meetings – topics like “Migration, Gender and Family” or “Asessing the relevance and impact of climate-change on migration and development” are identical in both meetings, and the CSD participants formulate recommendations for the governments.
More information on the process can be found on the gfmd website and – in a hopefully not too blatant case of self-advertising -here:
While migrants and their representatives are to a degree represented in the GFMD, the selection process is quite rigid (and sometimes erratic).
To propose a more wide-reaching approach and bring topics on the agenda that may be neglegted at the offical meetings (i.e. human rights, also there has been some imrovement here), several migrant organisations formed the Peoples’ Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA) or, as it is called this year Acción Global de los Pueblos sobre Migración, Desarrollo y Derechos Humanos.
This event is officially starting today, November 2.
While the PGA convenors favor an “inside-outside” approach- i.e., they are independent from and critical of the GFMD, while still taking part in the process and keeping some connections – there is also a side-event, that is fundamentally opposed to the whole GFMD: The International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR). I will take part in some of their events as well.
IAMR Website: http://iamr3.wordpress.com/
If you are interested in the different approaches of the two clusters of migrant NGOs, here is some more self-advertising:
So much for the overview, I may update this section, but you will be able to read more information about these processes as I report about them…