Another year, another full calendar for policy makers and activists working on global migration governance alike. The major events in 2015 reach from the World Social Forum in Tunis to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Turkey and the “if and how” of inclusion of migration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will be discussed in several fora. Regional processes such as the new European Migration Forum are also part of the governance agenda. I have compiled a selection of events and themes, some of which I plan to attend and blog about:
The World Social Forum on Migrations (WSFM) in South Africa is only a recent memory, but it will soon be followed by the World Social Forum or, as our French friends prefer to call it, Le Forum Social Mondial in Tunis. Information is a bit hard to come by (especially when your grades in French were as poor as mine), but from what I gathered, it will take part March 24-28, and 3116 organizations from 111 countries have registered, proposing 2000 activities, i.e. workshops etc. No official program has been released yet, but from what I’ve been told, migrations is to feature very prominently in the program. For example, ahead of the meeting a call has been issued for an international solidarity movement to support the families of the Tunisian missing persons in the Mediterranean Sea. Having so far only participated in two WSFMs, I would love to attend and see how migration is framed in the context of the “mother forum”, but have already committed to give a presentation in the Southeast Asian Studies Symposium taking place the same time in Kuala Lumpur (at least on a related topic – “Migrant Civil Society in Southeast Asia – Regional Democratisation from Below?”)
Another forum I will not be able to attend – but feel slightly less sorry about it – is the Global Forum on Remittances and Development in Milan, Italy from 16-19 June. It is organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations with “key partners”, among them the World Bank. Attendance is free, but participants have to cover their own expenses for accommodation, travel etc. The program is neatly divided in Public Sector Day, Private Sector Day, Civil Society Day and a day for Special Meetings and Workshops. The first International Day of Family Remittances will be celebrated and there is the somewhat unfortunately titled “Remittance Marketplace”.
The Global Forum on Migration in Development (GFMD) will take place in Istanbul and the date has been announced just now: 14-16 October. I assume the government meeting will take place on the last two days, thus civil society might meet October 12-13 and October 14 might be the interface meeting. I will report on the GFMD much more in detail in an upcoming post. It is not yet confirmed but very likely that a People’s Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA) with its more comprehensive/inclusive perspective on migration will be held again this year. This might take place on the weekend before the GFMD, i.e. October 9-11. I will participate in a workshop in Istanbul in early April, where the plans and prospects for an Istanbul PGA will be discussed as well, so stay tuned for more information.
Another topic I plan to cover in more detail in upcoming posts is the discussion on the inclusion of migration in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Intergovernmental negotiations have just taken place and the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York and convened as a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly.
For an initiative to “step up” the ratification of the UN migrant worker convention, see this blog post:
Of course, there are important events besides the global level. The regional level seems particularly conducive for deliberations on migrants’ rights and policies and a new forum (at least by name) has already emerged this year: The European Migration Forum was held in January in Brussels. It was jointly organised by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) under the theme “Safe routes, safe futures. How to manage the mixed flows of migrants across the Mediterranean?” That theme tackles of course one of the most pressing migration concerns in Europe but seems based on a rather narrow “management”-perspective. I did not attend – not the least because it was an invitation-only-event – but from the reports I have read so far, different views on issues such as smuggling became apparent between the civil society and government/bureaucracy representatives among the more than 200 participants. NGOs pointed out that fighting smuggling alone will not change the root causes of the human tragedy in the Mediterranean. It will be interesting to see how this forum will develop and if there may be a more inclusive approach in the future.
A regional forum I will attend is the ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC), preceded by the ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) in April in Kuala Lumpur. Migration might not be the main, but has been a major issue in past meetings. In the light of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) this year, labor and migrants rights will surely be part of the discussions.
Did I miss any important event etc. that you’d like to see included? just send me message and I’ll post an update.