A Global Compact from Below? Civil society issues “Ten Acts” for a compact on human #mobility and #migration

Ten acts for the Global CompactThe consultations on the proposed ““Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” are entering into their final phase. The final regional civil society consultation will take place this week for the Pacifc region in Fiji, followed by a stocktaking meeting in Mexico from 4-6 December 2017. This stocktakign phase will continue until January 2018, followed by the intergovernmental negotiations from February to July 2018. Migrant civil society has been very involved in the consultation phase and held independent meetings as well. As a result, a tool for advocacy has now been released: “Now and How TEN ACTS for the Global Compact”. The goal of the document isto present a “collective civil society voice” that can be used as a reference for advocacy on multiple levels: national capitals, deliberations at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, Brussels and New York, the aforementioned stocktaking and the final negotiation phase at the UN. The document that is available now and can be supported by signature until November 30 was, according to Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), “drafted by a core group of members of the CSO Action Committee (established in 2016 for the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants and its follow up) and the International Steering Committee (ISC) of civil society for the GFMD. The document was finalized after two rounds of consultation with the 50 organizations and networks of the Action Committee and ISC.” MFA is a member of this drafting core group.

In all the GFMD and other meetings I have attended, there has been a continued call particularly by government representatives for civil society to come up with concrete points of action. Civil society has provided a comprehensive answer to this challenge, including a ”5 year 8 Point Plan of Action that was adopted in 2013 and now the 10 commandments ACTS. They encompass a “civil society vision for a transformative agenda for human mobility, migration and development”. The first nine ACTS cover a wide array of topics, among them protection, decent work and labour rights, inclusion and action against discrimination, transnational and sustainable development and rights, return and integration. These all culminate in ACT 10 “Governance, implementation and monitoring”. The rights of children and gender-responsive policies are not compartmentalized in separate ACTs but defined as crosscutting all ten points.

You can find the full document here:

Now and How_TEN Acts for Global Compact_full doc

The intervention is timely since the outcome of the compact deliberations is still fairly open. One thing that is fairly sure, though, is the non-binding nature of the document and thus a case of what is called “soft law”. As Elspeth Guild points out in the conclusion of a report by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on “What is A compact?”:

The message is clear, soft law and hybrid instruments do not necessarily result in better human rights protection. In the highly charged field of migration, this is particularly true.”

This is followed by the conclusion:

“To be truly global the Compact needs to take as its starting point the genuine delivery of human rights to migrants wherever they are and it must ensure that they have access to justice to defend their rights.”

The Ten acts by civil society certainly try to further this goal.

You can find the “What Is A Compact?” working paper 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, Migration, UN HLD and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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