Global Migration Governance Outlook 2022: All eyes on the IMRF

2022 is going to be a crucial year for global migration governance – with the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) expected to set the standards for the implementation and monitoring of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). In this blogpost, I will provide an overview of the confirmed events and schedules, including the “migration week” starting February 14, and a note on the GFMD:

Let me start with a quick summary of the story so far: Things moved rather slowly after the GCM was adopted in late 2018 and the pandemic certainly contributed to this. But things have picked up speed in the past 18 months or s and the newly formed UN Migration Network has been very active in organizing the process. Five Regional Reviews (organized by the UN Regional Commissions) have been held in 2020/21. In addition, voluntary reviews have been taking place on the national level, ideally including stakeholder consultations. For example, in Germany we just had a two-day virtual discussion this week involving several government agencies and civil society representatives and there was a reassurance that the input would be included / taken into consideration in the German reporting/position. Besides this “invited” space, German civil society created an independent space where “Priority Recommendations” have been formulated; they are in the stage of finalization and will be published before the IMRF. Similar processes have taken place in several other countries and it would be great to have a database on this – so if somebody is looking for a new project… 😉

The UN International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) has now been scheduled to take place 17 – 20 May 2022 (one week later than originally announced) at the UN General Assembly (GA)  in New York.  An informal multi-stakeholder hearing will now take place May 16. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the modalities. Understandably, the further development of the pandemic remains unpredictable, but that makes it particularly hard for civil society stakeholders to plan their engagement. What would be the most obvious solution seems to be unfortunately also the least likely: A full hybrid format. According to those involved in the process, the GA has no provisions for such a format. Hence, stakeholders who are not state representatives might follow the proceedings on UN Web TV but would not be able to make interventions. Being able to attend in person would change this but there are many obstacles: what will the VISA modalities be like in May? Will the UN buildings be accessible for stakeholders (from what I hear, at the moment access is very limited)? Will there be opportunities to hold side-events? From what I have heard so far, it is quite a struggle to convince the GA to provide more space for stakeholder participation. We also have to keep in mind that non-state stakeholders are quite diverse (including the private sector, youth, rights organisations…) but efforts to be able to have more than one representative seem to have been in vain.

Regarding accreditation – the “special accreditation” deadline for those organisations who do not have ECOSOC status or have not participated in the GCM negotiations / the Marrakesh GCM conference has passed by now. If one of the categories applies to you, on the other hand, accreditation is upcoming and will very likely be announced here:

(On a personal note, I have participated in the Marrakesh conference and plan to observe the IMRF as well, ideally in person – if there will be enough events etc. that would justify flying there.)

There has been a IMRF Dialogue Series addressing the 4 Round tables of the IMRF; all of them led to very lively discussions and would have benefitted from more time than the scheduled 90 minutes (tellingly, all four meetings went overtime).

If you have missed these, there are still plenty of opportunities to get informed / provide input ahead – with a major one starting next Monday: The Migration Week. The theme is

 “Cooperation and Partnership: Implementing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”

It is centred around the Secretary-General’s Report on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (A/76/642) which you can find here in English (five other languages available)

On February 16, 10 am New York Time there will be a High-Level Briefing on the Secretary-General’s Report. In my understanding, it it is an in-person meeting but will be streamed – here is the link that I have found, might update it closer to the event if necessary:

UPDATE: this is the latest link:


There are several more events planned and several of them promise to be my interactive, including a

Training session for civil society and other stakeholders in the Migration Network Hub (the recently established online platform which admittedly I have not made much use of yet but have good intentions to change that 😉 )

Monday14, 9-11 am New York time Registration here:

The list of events has been rapidly growing in the past days, so it might be best to check out the most recent list here:

Some events that stood out for me:

February 15, 9 am New York Time: Briefing on the IMRF to the Global Task Force on Local and Regional Governments

February 15, 11 am Geneva time: Provision of Essential Services to Migrants: Promising practices and Emerging challenges

February 17, 7-8.30 am New York time: Launch of the Global Guidance on Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements

The migration week will by no means mark the end of the IMRF preparations.

After having addressed the cluster of objectives in the 4 roundtables, the IMRF Dialogue Series will focus on “gaps and emerging challenges”. 5 fortnightly meetings are planned,, starting Tuesdaym February 22,  3 PM CET and ending April 27.

Topics include: “evolving climate”, loss of life, Government-Civil Society Partnerships on Alternatives to Immigration Detention, Youth-led innovation and COVID-19 responses and recovery.

(note: dates might change)

There is also a Stakeholder consultation scheduled for February 22: “Consultation with stakeholders on the organization of the Multi-Stakeholder Hearing and stakeholder engagement during the IMRF

It still has to be confirmed, but certainly looks highly relevant – as mentioned above the modalities are still a contested issue.

Migrant civil society will certainly organise its own events, but understandably this is still in flux; for now, there are several relevant positions papers_

The Civil Society Action Committee: 12 Key Ways for States to Get Back on Track

You can sign on to this statement here:

NGO Committtee on Migration: Priorities and Practices for Solutions in the SDGs, the Global Compact for Migration and the International Migration Review Forum in 2022 and beyond:

Churches Witnessing with Migrants (CWWM) held an interfaith briefing and consultation on the GCM, find the report here:

The Quaker UN Office has started a Migration Justice Briefing Paper Series which you can find here:

Finally, on the GFMD:

In a way, this is currently a process without chair and “in a period of governance reforms”. This will change, though: The joint Chairmanship of France and Senegal will officially begin on 1 July 2022. No date for the next summit has been announced, but at least France has expressed interest in holding an in-person summit meeting. My semi-educated guess would be that this will take place end of this year at the earliest, more realistically in 2023.


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:
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2 Responses to Global Migration Governance Outlook 2022: All eyes on the IMRF

  1. marion says:

    great compilation, so useful for anyone ‚engaging‘ in migration governance

  2. marion says:

    great compilation, so useful for anyone ‚engaging‘ in migration governance

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