Global Compact #ForMigration has been agreed upon – but questions regarding the modalities of adoption remain

GlobalCompactOn July 13th, the Global Compact #ForMigration has been agreed upon – but that much-lauded event by no means constitutes the end of the process. The formal adoption will take place in the “Migration Week” in Marrakech. At the center of this week (actually closer to two weeks) will be the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) to be held on 10-11 December (plus the 11th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) taking place the week before). There has been some uncertainty regarding the exact modalities of the GCM-conference – and while the U.N. modalities resolution might bring some clarity, it also raises further questions:For months, I have been asking experts on the modalities of the actual adoption of the GCM and I have received mostly answers that ranged between being very vague and “not yet decided”. Apparently, not many people like to read too deep into U.N. resolutions – and I am also guilty as charged…

But when looking at A/RES/72/244 “Modalities for the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” (some) things are actually quite clear while others raise further questions (at least for me):

–              The conference “shall be held at the highest possible political level, including Heads of State or Government”

–              The GCM “shall be adopted at the opening plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference, on Monday, 10 December 2018”

–              Now, regarding the General agreement on the consensus: The Conference “shall adopt an intergovernmental negotiated and agreed outcome, entitled “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” and make its best endeavour to ensure that all of the other work of the Conference is accomplished by consensus” – however, “a proposal before the Conference shall be voted on if a representative of any State participating in the Conference so requests”

–              Decisions need a majority, and “decisions of substance” need a two-thirds majority

Find the full document here:

The “all of the other work” phrase is a bit confusing – does this mean that the ambition to agree by consensus will not apply to the adoption of the compact? There is also the possibility to vote on amendments – which I interpret as a possibility for amendments to the text of the compact? If anybody can clarify, please chip in – I will update this post accordingly…

At a recent conference in Geneva, I received the following information:

But “going back to the General assembly” raises further questions as well – has the Intergovernmental Conference a mandate equal to the GA? Further, for a country to ask for a vote, it would have to be present in Marrakesh. Would the U.S. participate at all, just to say “No”? A country that certainly might follow such as strategy is Hungary. For months, they have been complaining about the compact and threatening to pull out; they apparently like the exposure and spectacle, so I could well imagine that they will participate in Marrakesh just to try to sabotage the whole proceedings. State representatives will also have the opportunity to add brief statements to their votes. I could imagine that countries such as Austria, Italy (somewhat hard to believe that the current government supports the compact) or the Czech Republic might use this opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the compact. If you think the modalities for the compact on refugees are more straight-forward – you might want to think again 😊 :


Finally, even if all goes smoothly in Marrakesh, the real challenges will actually start afterwards

As noted, please contact me if you can further clarify any of these issues and I will update this text accordingly.

FYI, I am working on a separate blog post that will provide an overview of the events that will take place in the migration week(s), including civil society activities. Still waiting for some confirmations, though – and in case you wondered, the application for the GFMD Civil Society Days has not opened yet.


Further documents:

Here is a press release on the finalized text of the compact

And here you can find the final draft:



About Stefan Rother

Lecturer and Researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Freiburg -- Freelance journalist -- You can find my CV at the links below:
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One Response to Global Compact #ForMigration has been agreed upon – but questions regarding the modalities of adoption remain

  1. Pingback: Events and dates for the “migration week(s)” in Marrakech – #GFMD application has started #ForMigration | The GFMD, Migration, Development and Human Rights

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