Common Space and Chair’s report 2015

Common Space and Chair's report 2015

On Wednesday 14 October, the Government Days of the 2015 Global Forum on Migration and Development kicked off with the five-hour session called “Common Space”. This session joins together government delegates, observers from the main UN agencies and international organizations and civil society delegates under one roof and takes place on the day after Civil Society Days wraps up.

Thias year’s Common Space was attended by the 600 or more representatives of 150 governments, to discuss next steps and possible avenues for collaboration.  Under the overall theme ‘Working Together in the Post-2015 Development era: Advancing human security and human development of people on the move’, Common Space featured a series of high-level speakers from the Turkish government and UN agencies. Three break-out sessions focused on how partnerships and action can tackle issues of protection of migrants in crises and transit, decent labour and recruitment of migrant workers, and xenophobia and social inclusion.

Civil Society Chair’s report

Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of Terre des Hommes International Federation and Chair of the 2015 Civil Society Days of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 GFMD government summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

In his statement, Mr. Packer emphasized central civil society recommendations, summarizing the two previous days of intense debate on current events, reports from the field and action on the ground by and regarding migrants and migrant diaspora, including direct testimony from boat people, refugees and other migrants during GFMD CSD:

  • On protecting children in the context of migration, among other things urging the US, now the only UN member state on the planet that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to do so.
  • On responding to migrants in crisis, calling states to widen scope of effort beyond the current “countries” in crisis approach, to the “migrants” in crisis, improving – without delay – needs-first and rights-based responses to migrants in distress in transit, including opportunities for orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration.
  • On implementing the newly adopted “2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”: welcoming the inclusion of explicit targets regarding migrants and migration in the new goals and noting the immediate task to take them forward into national policy, implementation and monitoring, with civil society directly involved.
  • On respecting labour rights and conventions, including the 1990 UN Migrant Workers Convention: saying “Here is another good choice whose time has come: it’s high time for Europe to sign these conventions, together with other main countries of destination.”
  • On reform of abusive migrant recruitment processes, commending concrete progress between international organisations and the private sector, among recruitment agencies themselves, particularly in Asia, and most recently ground-breaking legislation in the Gulf region; an issue on which “where governments and private businesses are increasingly recognizing the need to choose reforms and policy changes.”
  • On fighting xenophobia: The siege mentality fanned by an increasing number of populist leaders and by xenophobic media is disgraceful and dishonest. Society that is truly “civil” demands a new choice: to no longer play with—or surrender to–such intolerance.”
  • On joined governance: expressing concern for policies drafted or passed in more than 60 countries since 2013 that shrink the space for civil society to engage meaningfully with governments on better solutions for migrants and refugees. “We claim a rightful place by demanding genuine participation in governance at local, national, regional and global levels. A place at the decision-making table, and co-responsibility.”

Read the complete text of the 2015 Chair’s report in English | French | Spanish.