In less than six weeks, the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will take place in Istanbul – shortly after the new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit (New York September 25-27). As one of the countries most affected by the Syrian refugee crisis, Turkey will be a particularly suitable place to address issues beyond the migration-development nexus such as protecting migrants in crises and transit. However, the host country seems to also pose some challenges for civil society participation. As a result, the Peoples’ Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights (PGA), usually held before or in parallel to the official GFMD meeting has been reduced to a one-day event this year, scheduled to take place
on Sunday, 11 October, one day before the opening of the GFMD Civil Society Days. I have received several enquiries if the PGA will take place this year since it traditionally provides an inclusive forum that is also open for participants who did not receive accreditation for the “official” meeting (and who are now wondering whether it would be worthwhile coming to Istanbul nevertheless…). From what I understand, this years’ PGA will be rather a strategy meeting instead of the workshop-based format of previous years, but more information should be available around mid-September, and I will post it immediately once I have received it.
Meanwhile, the concept paper and draft program for the GFDMD civil society days have been made available here:
The overarching theme of the civil society days will be “Achieving Migration and Development Goals – Movement together on global solutions and local action”. The opening and closing plenary debates will address the above mentioned pressing topics in the field of migration: “Safe migration, root causes and route causes: alternatives to forced and dangerous migration” as well as “the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) beyond 2015 – civil society’s role in implementing and monitoring migration-related targets”. Parallel working sessions will further discuss these issues as well as topics such as human security and human development, “beyond xenophobia” and “Achieving goals for labour mobility, labour rights and decent work”.
Finally, the program includes a common space meeting with governments on October 14 and plans for some new interactive formats (more on that in an upcoming post). An inspirational “bigger picture” key note address by Kofi Annan will certainly receive plenty of attention, not the least since the former UN Secretary General was instrumental in bringing the issue of migration into the global Arena.
I have received no Information about a parallel Meeting of the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) in Istanbul, but I highly doubt that it will take place this year. However, some of the organizers might participate in the “Churches Witnessing with Migrants, 6th International Conference”, taking place on the Weekend before the GFMD.