European RCSC

European Regional Civil Society Consultation

The Europe regional civil society consultation on the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM) took place on 2 - 3 October and was organized by the Migration and Development Civil Society (MADE) Coordinating Office of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), and PICUM Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants with the support of IOM and Open Society Foundations. It brought together civil society actors based in geographical Europe including European Union member states, wider Europe and countries within the scope of the Eastern Partnership Agreement.

The purpose of the consultation, which included a full two day programme, was both to share information on the GCM but also to identify priorities for civil society in the European region. Guided by inputs received from participants before the consultation, outcomes from the other regional civil society consultations, and global advocacy movements underway, including the Now and How: TEN ACTS for the Global Compact, and the Child Rights in the Global Compacts, the consultation focused on thematic issues of particular relevance in the European migration context today, and for their potential to advance (or block) the negotiations at global level:

  1. EU external migration policy
  2. Detention and the criminalization of migration
  3. Access to rights and services regardless of status
  4. Transnational and sustainable development
  5. Pathways to regular movement and status
  6. Countering xenophobia and discrimination
  7. Return and reintegration

Participants spent the majority of Day 1 strategizing and discussing these issues, working to identify civil society redlines, baselines and common messages, and taking into account local, national and regional priorities. Outcomes were recorded in detailed session reports, which were then delivered to the full group in plenary.

In acknowledgement of the particular relationship between the regions of Europe and Africa, the focal point from the Africa civil society consultation was invited, in a 20 minute presentation, to share insights and outcomes from that consultation, and to offer suggestions on how civil society from both regions can collaborate to improve migration and development policy in and between Europe and Africa. Representatives from two European states – Sweden and Switzerland –, as well as the EU External Action Service (EEAS) and the Regional Office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), were also invited to a 1 hour panel discussion to answer questions about the negotiation, implementation and regional implications of the Global Compact, on the afternoon of Day 2.

The final session of the consultation offered a moment for participants to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that emerged around the themes discussed throughout the consultation, and to consider how to move forward collectively and individually on these. There was an emphasis on strategy towards the Global Compact process, with information-sharing and advocacy at capital level identified as key. In particular, many expressed appreciation for the Now and How: TEN ACTS for the Global Compact document as a useful advocacy tool as they returned to their national contexts. Most agreed that continued engagement and follow-up from European civil society was important, with suggested follow-ups including;

  • to hold a second regional gathering in early 2018 to prepare for the negotiations on the Global Compact;
  • to increase coordination and info-sharing amongst civil society organisations to identify the positioning of states, and to establish connections with those leading on negotiations in states at capital level;
  • to develop civil society thinking and strategy on themes seen as critical for the region of Europe, or at sub-regional level.

Important documents:

  • Reports from sessions
  • Concept and programme
  • List of participants
  • Evaluation survey results 
  • Input from registration form
  • Results from African consultation

Supporting documents:

  • Now and How: TEN ACTS for the Global Compact
  • Convergence matrix
  • Child Rights


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