“2016 has well become THE migrant year”, stated Peter Sutherland, UN Secretary Generals’ Special Representative for International Migration, in a recent webinar. Obviously, migration has been brought to the top of the international agenda for some time now, but this year will see a number of high-level events addressing the issue. This post will provide an overview – without neglecting the agency of migrants and their organizations themselves and their upcoming events.
2015 has marked the 25th anniversary of the UN migrant worker convention, but – a major “Step It Up”-Campaign notwithstanding – has not seen much progress in terms of ratifications. This is unlikely to change this year – progress on migration governance in terms of conventions or institution-building will remain slow. Rather, many of the upcoming events are a response on the pressing refugee crisis, as highlighted by 2 meetings on Syria *
The Syria Donors/ Crisis Conference ( “Syria IV”): will be held this week, February 4, London and is co-hosted by the UN Secretary General and the United Kingdom, Norway, Kuwait, and Germany. While not exclusively focusing on refugees, the issue will certainly play a major role.
An event specifically dealing with the movement of people will be the High-Level Meeting on Legal Pathways for Syrians: It is led by UNHCR, will take place March 30 in Geneva, and include issues such as resettlement, visas and family reunification.
Here is the background note:
Syria UNHCR 56a628619
An approach that reaches beyond Syria will be discussed at the Forum on New Approaches to Protracted Forced Displacement, that will be organized by the World Bank, UNHCR, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in April 2016 in London.
Refugees and displaced persons will also play an important role in the discussion during the World Humanitarian Summit to be held Istanbul May 23-24, based on an initiative of the UN Secretary General and managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Two major events will take place in New York on September 19 as part of the UN General Assembly:
– High-Level Plenary Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees & Migrants that aims for a new global agreement in responsibility sharing; here are 2 background documents:
And a US-Hosted Summit on Global Refugee Crisis with the important goal of expanding “opportunities for refugee self-reliance through access to education, legal employment, and other measures”. Read more here:
It would be interesting to learn how much migrant participation is planned/possible at these events. The following three gatherings provide such participatory spaces to various degrees:
First, the 2nd meeting of the European Migration Forum, which will take place on 6-7 April 2016 in Brussels. I hope to be able to participate (and report) and more info can be found here:
São Paulo will host the seventh edition of the World Social Forum on Migrations (WSFM or FSMM in Portuguese) in July. Information is somewhat scarce so far (and mostly in Portuguese), but I will keep you posted.
Finally, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will meet in Bangladesh in December this year.
The Civil Society Days will take place 8-9 December, and the GFMD summit meeting 10-12 December. I assume this means that the commons space/interface session between government and civil society will take place on December 10, followed by two days of “governments only”.
The migrant-led People’s Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA) will be held in Dhaka as well, and the organizers are very committed to make this a major event in migration governance from below. The countdown has started already here:
If you know of – or organizing – any further upcoming events that address global refugee and migration governance, please drop me a note and I will update this post accordingly!
* Some of these events I was made of through my participation in a webinar by MPI, the recording of which can be found here: