The Global Forum decentralized – news on the GFMD 2011 in Switzerland (and elsewhere…)

There has been intense speculation on the future of the GFMD. Now, the first Draft Concept Paper by the Swiss Chair shines some light on the format of the Forum in 2011 (and maybe the following year as well). The Chair wants to promote “the organization of a series of smaller thematic meetings (workshops, seminars, etc.) around the world, dedicated to focused and action-oriented debate and engaging as wide a range of GFMD stakeholders as possible”.

Here is a short overview of the plans so far:

Background: After Spain withdrew   from hosting the GFMD in 2011, Switzerland stepped in but announced its plans to choose a format different from the first four annual meetings.

The flagship theme of the 2011 meetings is

 “Taking Action on Migration and Development – Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation”

Now to some basic questions:


The Swiss chair wants to get going pretty much straight away – with the bulk of the thematic meetings like workshops or seminars taking place from to September or October this year.

With November being reserved for summarizing the outcomes of the various fora, an “extended Friends of the Forum” meeting   is planned to follow in late November or early December 2011.


The Swiss Chair wants to  “go regional” and include regional and inter-regional dialogues in the thematic meetings of 2011 while acting as a coordinators. So the answer is basically “all over the world”, with the headquarters remaining in Geneva. This might also be the place for the “extended Friends of the Forum” meeting at the end of the year but apparently no final decision has been made at this point. 


Who will be involved in the 2011 GFMD process? Governments obviously, International organizations, the various GFMD bodies and civil society – with the clear goal to also include the private sector, which has been for the most part absent in previous GFMDs.

 While the Swiss Chair aims to coordinate and in parts co-finance the planned activities, it will have to rely on other governments as well and thus wants to “reactivate the GFMD national focal points”.

There could be a “civil society work plan” which might not exactly mirror the government-led activities. The Bancomer foundation, who organized the Mexican civil society days, and the MacArthur foundation are willing to support this process. There is mention of the possibility for civil society to for a small International Committee. With this form of “self-governance” planned, a fusion of the PGA and the “official” civil society meeting does not seem to be completely out of the question…


Enough about structure – what will be the topics of the 2011 GFMD? The Swiss chair proposes 3 clusters:

1. Labour mobility and development


Sub-themes and possible meetings:

Engaging the private sector in labour market planning

Lowering the costs of migration for higher development gains

Global care workers at the interface of migration and development

2. Addressing irregular migration through coherent migration and development strategies

 3. Planning tools for evidence-based migration and development policies (connected to the existing  GFMD Working Groups)

 Sub-themes and possible meetings

Handbook on ‘Mainstreaming Migration into Development Planning (already available but to be promoted)

Impact Assessments of Migration and Development Policies

Implementing Migration Profiles

What else?

There will be other events related to the topic in 2011:

–          The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Thematic Debate on migration and development

–          The 2011 global meeting of Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs) organized by  IOM

–          The 100th International Labour Conference, Dealing with  the goal to present a binding solution on “Decent Work for Domestic Workers


What do I think about all this?

Obviously, it is too early to make a sound assessment, but – temporarily! –  decentralizing the process might be a good idea at this point. In theory, this could provide more time and space for in-depth recommendations. Having said that, the timeframe seems quite ambitious.

The “extended Friends of the Forum” might turn out to be a “GFMD light”. If no country comes forward to host the 2012 GFMD (Morocco has withdrawn),  the process might continue in this form for another year, maybe leading up to a more comprehensive  meeting before the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in 2013.

What do you think about all this?

Well, by all means, please let me know! There is a “comment” function on this page for a reason….


P.S. After some pause, this has been an extended blog entry. If you want to be kept up-to-date on the GFMD and other issues regarding migration and development, you can sign up for updates at the top right of the blog’s home page.

Btw, Migration online conducted an interview on the GFMD process, you can find it here:


About Dr. Stefan Rother

Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute at the University of Freiburg -- Freelance journalist -- You can find my CV at the links below:
This entry was posted in Gfmd, GFMD Civil Society Days, GFMD Government Meeting, GFMD in General, Migration and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Global Forum decentralized – news on the GFMD 2011 in Switzerland (and elsewhere…)

  1. Pingback: To be continued – Sweden will host GFMD meeting in 2014 | gfmd2010

  2. Pingback: To be continued – Sweden will host GFMD meeting in 2014 « gfmd2011

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