It is less than 4 months until the Global Forum on Migration and Development will meet for the 5th time and the civil society component of the meeting is taking shape. According to John Bingham, Head of Policy of the organizing International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the organizing will be guided by a “less is more” approach in several regards:
– Since civil society will be unable to mirror the 14 government-organized regional meetings leading up the Geneva GFMD (November 29- December 2, 2011), it will focus on a smaller number of meetings. Originally, a set of three inter-regional civil society meetings had been proposed for September and October this year. But since funding is significantly reduced this year and time is an issue, the organizers may focus on a small number of thematic events instead. This have not been decided on yet, but may consist of thematic meetings, preparatory events and exchanges with Swiss civil society organisations.
– Said funding limitations will very likely result in a lower number of participants. Last year in Mexico there were around 200 delegates and 200 observers in the civil society days, making John Bingham feel as if the event was “an endless plenary session”. Bingham (pictured with a bottle of dishwashing liquid in solidarity with the domestic workers at this years International Labor Conference deliberations) also stressed that thematically the meeting should pick up from the discussions in Mexico and build upon the recommendations proposed there.
– Finally, the organizing team of the Civil Society Days has been slimmed down. Instead of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) with 22 representatives, there are now 5-7 members – around the same number as the IAC members who were actually active, as the ICMC Head of Policy quipped. The ICMC has also recruited Ms. Wies Maas, Senior Programme Officer, and Mr. Andrés Morales, GFMD Programme Officer, as full-time staff to its Geneva headquarters.
Besides the “official” Civil Society Days, Geneva will also see a parallel meeting of the People’s Global Action as reported here https://gfmd2010.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/pga-will-take-place-in-geneva-from-november-29-december-2/.
The International Migrants Alliance (IMA) also announced at its Second General Assembly that took place in July this year in Manila to organize a parallel event in Geneva – most likely in form of the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR).
Finally, “Joint Reflections on Migration and Development”, a Symposium for Civil Society and Governments, will be held in Geneva, 23-24 August 2011.