The themes addressed in the GFMD have evolved since its first meetings, showing both continuity on issues of continuing concern and the ability to incorporate new issues as they arise. The overarching theme of the Turkish Chairmanship was “Strengthening Partnerships: Human Mobility for Sustainable Development.” This theme signals recognition that international migration cannot be  addressed effectively by any one country alone, or by states without the cooperation of other stakeholders—including international organizations, civil society, the private sector and migrants themselves. It also emphasizes that mobility within the right policy framework is a positive factor for development.

Three roundtables, each with two sessions, elaborated upon the overarching theme; in addition, three thematic meetings on cross-cutting issues were held to provide more evidence-based inputs into the RT discussions. The proposed themes for the roundtables and associated thematic meetings were as follows:

Roundtable 1: Human mobility and the well-being of migrants

The objective of this roundtable could be to identify specific forms of cooperation among states, and between states and other stakeholders, to a) protect and promote human rights in the context of mobility and b) to increase transparency and lower fees associated with recruitment and money transfer.

Session 1.1. Partnerships to promote inclusion and protect the human rights of all migrants in order to achieve the full benefits of migration

Co-Chairs:   El Salvador, Philippines
Coordinators:   Mr. Hasan Er and Mr. Can Aygül, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities
Team Members:   Algeria, Cameroon, Comoros, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Holy See, Honduras, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United States
Non-state partners:   ACP EU Migration Action, IFRC, ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OHCHR, UNHCR, World Bank

Session 1.2. Reducing the human and financial costs of international migration, particularly labor migration: Cooperative approaches to fair recruitment practices and lower remittance fees

Co-Chairs:   Russia, United Arab Emirates
Coordinator:   Ms. Elif Algın, Ministry of Interior
Team Members:   Angola, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cyprus, EgyptFrance, India, Mauritius, Moldova, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland
Non-state partners:   IFAD, ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OECD, World Bank

The importance of protecting the human rights of all migrants has been emphasized at every GFMD, with a particular focus on labor and social rights. Although awareness of the difficulties that migrants have in realizing their rights has been growing steadily, abuses are still far too common. Specific, pragmatic partnerships among countries of origin, transit, and destination, as well as non-governmental partners, may contribute in very tangible ways to the well-being of migrants and enhance their contributions to the development of their countries of origin and countries of destination. Partnerships for inclusion and the protection of migrants’ rights are particularly important in the light of emerging challenges associated with the relationship between mobility and security issues, and should be guided by the principle of shared responsibility and a development-based approach. All countries in the migratory cycle should promote and protect the human rights of all migrants irrespective of their migratory status.

Greater well-being flows from and contributes to the enhancement of migrants’ economic and social capabilities. One way of doing this is by making it possible for migrants to keep more of the money that they earn by lowering the transaction costs associated with mobility. Progress has been made in two areas that are central to the experience of many migrants: money transfer and labour recruitment.  This roundtable may take stock of ongoing initiatives to reduce the costs of migration in these and other areas, implemented directly by states or through international organizations such as IOM, the World Bank and the ILO.

Migrants often pay high fees to recruitment agencies to gain access to a job abroad. In some cases, the job turns out to be much less rewarding or more dangerous than was promised, or does not exist at all. Control of recruitment is difficult, with many small operators and subcontractors who easily evade regulators. Recruitment processes have been analyzed in many parts of the world and principles have been articulated; the issue is ripe for policy development. Exposure of the problems, experiences and successes in various countries and in cooperative efforts among stakeholders, including governments, recruitment agencies, trade unions, private employers, civil society organizations and public services  could illuminate the possibilities for promulgating fair recruitment practices.

The GFMD may give new impetus to efforts to reduce the costs to migrants of sending remittances to their countries of origin, through emphasizing the need for stronger partnerships between states, regulatory bodies and the private sector. All these partners need to work together to promote greater transparency and competition among money transfer agencies as well as the use of new technologies and products.

Roundtable 2: Migration as a factor in development

The outcome of this roundtable could be an in-depth exploration of sector-level integration of migration in planning, and a menu of strategies for implementing migration targets and indicators that may appear in the SDGs.

Session 2.1. Mainstreaming migration into planning at the sectoral level

Co-Chairs:   Ecuador, Morocco
Coordinator:   Ms. Melek Özgür Duman, Ministry of Development
Team Members:   Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Djibouti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Moldova, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia
Non-state partners:   ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OECD, UNDP, World Bank

Session 2.2. Making migration work post-2015: implementing the SDGs

Co-Chairs:   Bangladesh, Greece, Mexico
Coordinator:   Ms. Melek Özgür Duman, Ministry of Development
Team Members:   Cameroon, Holy See, Honduras, Jamaica, Moldova, Philippines, Senegal, Sweden, Switzerland, Zimbabwe
Non-state partners:   ACP EU Migration Action, IFRC, ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OECD, OHCHR, UNDESA, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, World Bank

Assessing the impacts and the effects of migration in different sectors is of growing importance in many emerging economies. Migration considerations should be integrated into sector-specific development policies. Mainstreaming migration into deliberations across a wide range of policy fields in destination countries is also a significant factor in coherence among immigration policies, employment policies that address labor market needs, and development cooperation policies. The Turkish Chair-in-Office will build upon the outcomes of the second High Level Dialogue as well as GFMD discussions on mainstreaming.

The ability to retain and attract skilled labor, and to draw on the skills that reside in the diaspora, are essential to a country’s ability to remain competitive in the global economy. In globalized, skill-dependent sectors such as information technology, engineering, biotechnology, international finance and others, migration policy needs to be part of the national strategy. Case studies of the role of mobile talent in the development of particular sectors could provide some good practices for adaptation to other settings. The need for labour market and migration policies to recognize the demand for lower-skilled labour in sectors such as agriculture and care work, as well as the corresponding need to improve protections for these workers and enforcement of their rights, also needs further discussion.

By the time the 8th GFMD meets in Istanbul, the post-2015 development agenda will have taken shape. The immediate next steps will be to analyze the place of migration in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to explore ways of achieving the migration-related targets mentioned in the post-2015 agenda and the possible GFMD contribution to this effort. This roundtable might also consider implementation of migration-related SDGs that do not mention migration but that nonetheless will be strongly affected by trends in international mobility. It will also discuss how the GFMD could respond to the suggestion made in the Synthesis report of the Secretary-General on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda to look at voluntary, state-led, participatory, evidence-based, and multi-tiered processes to monitor progress, including through thematic reviews at a global level at regular intervals.

Roundtable 3: Enhancing international cooperation on emerging issues in migration and mobility

The purpose of this roundtable is to refresh the GFMD agenda to assure that it is relevant to events unfolding in the world today, by introducing or continuing the exploration of new and emerging issues in international migration.

Session 3.1. Enhancing human development and human security for forced migrants, who are compelled to cross international borders, through international cooperation on labor market access, educational opportunity, family reunification, and other avenues of mobility

Co-Chairs:   Eritrea, Moldova
Coordinators:   Mr. Mehmet Doğan and Ms. İnci Doğan, Ministry of Labour and Social Security
Team Members:   Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Greece, Philippines, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates
Non-state partners:   ICMPD, IFRC, ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OHCHR, UNDP, UNHCR, World Bank

Session 3.2. Private sector-government partnerships to support migrant/diaspora entrepreneurship and job creation, with a focus on small and medium enterprises

Co-Chairs:   Canada, France
Coordinators:   Mr. Hasan Er and Mr. Can Aygül, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities
Team Members:   Belgium, Benin, Comoros, Ghana, Moldova, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Switzerland, Zimbabwe
Non-state partners:   ICMPD, IFAD, ILO, IOM, KNOMAD, OECD, The Hague ProcessUNDP, UPU, World Bank

Human mobility is a dynamic field of inquiry and of policy. New issues arise and existing ones are given greater prominence as circumstances change. Therefore the Turkish Chair of the GFMD will work to enlarge the space for international cooperation on new and emerging issues in migration. The role of people who are compelled to cross international borders to escape the effects of man-made or natural disasters—arising from forces such as environmental degradation, armed conflict or political turmoil—as agents and beneficiaries of development is one such issue. Another is the potential for public-private partnerships to support migrant and diaspora entrepreneurs to create or expand businesses.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees declared 2014 to be the worst year for human displacement since World War II. With government budgets under stress almost everywhere, and particularly in refugee-hosting countries, it is clear that the traditional “care and maintenance” model for refugees and other forced migrants, including those affected by natural disasters and environmental degradation, is unsustainable. Moreover, it deprives them of the opportunity to use their energies and talents to support themselves and their families, which is a source of dignity and satisfaction for people everywhere. The waste of human potential that results when displaced people are forced to be idle or to work in the underground economy is nothing short of tragic, and has severe consequences for host communities.

Humanitarian agencies are exploring developmental approaches to address the needs of migrants who are compelled to move across borders, but development agencies and migration authorities, along with other stakeholders, also need to be involved in this debate. A migration-and-development approach could be advanced at the GFMD, considering that the immobility of these populations (including the inability to return to their countries of origin) could have a negative impact on their already difficult situations.  It should be noted that UNHCR has welcomed the inclusion of this topic on the GFMD agenda. The 2015 GFMD therefore should discuss avenues for international cooperation on mobility and labor market access for these migrants as a winning approach to burden sharing beyond traditional humanitarian approaches. Thinking of displacement in a migration-and-development framework may lead to approaches that can benefit migrants who have been compelled to leave their countries of origin, as well as countries of asylum, and the countries that are in need of migrants’ energy and skills. It is especially important for countries that have hosted huge populations of migrants who are unable to return home for protracted periods. International mobility may play a role in relieving the stresses on these countries.

As a highly pertinent example, Turkey today shelters close to two million Syrians under temporary protection, of whom some 250,000 live in accommodation centers. The government of Turkey has spent more than US$5 billion to care for them, and the Turkish people much more. The massive displacement continues. Other countries hosting large refugee populations face similar concerns. We urgently need to find sustainable, long-term arrangements for Syrians and other forced migrants, and this will require innovative policies involving development and mobility as well as humanitarian relief.

The topic is expected to be on the agenda for the World Humanitarian Summit, which Turkey will host in 2016. The GFMD presents an opportunity for the international community to develop policy approaches that can be the basis for solid accomplishments at the World Humanitarian Summit.
A second issue that is gaining more attention at the GFMD and more widely is the potential for public-private partnerships to support migrant and diaspora entrepreneurs to create or expand businesses, thereby, in many cases, achieving self-sufficiency and creating jobs for others. The private sector and government authorities both have critical roles in creating the conditions for these entrepreneurs to flourish, yet have little communication or collaboration in this arena. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the most potent job-creators in market economies, and many migrants are drawn to entrepreneurship in the SME sector, both as investors in their countries of origin and in countries of residence. However, they often lack the experience and connections to gain access to credit, markets and technology. This roundtable would explore the track record and the potential of cooperation between the private and public sectors in support of entrepreneurs in communities of migrant origin, with the objective of giving particular attention to the growth and job creating potential of diaspora entrepreneurs, and to promote necessary tools on how both the government and the private sector actors can work together to support them.


  • GFMD 2014-2015 Concept Note
  • GFMD 2014-2015 Roundtables Session Themes and Government Teams
  • Background Papers
    • Roundtable 1.1 [ EN | ES | FR ]
      Partnerships to promote inclusion and protect the human rights of all migrants in order to achieve the full benefits of migration
    • Roundtable 1.2 [ EN | ESFR ]
      Reducing the human and financial costs of international migration, particularly labour migration: Cooperative approaches to fair recruitment practices and lower remittance fees
    • Roundtable 2.1 [ EN | ES FR ]
      Mainstreaming migration into planning at the sectoral level
    • Roundtable 2.2 [ EN | ES FR ]
      Migration in the context of the 2030 Development Agenda – Implementing a diverse and cross-cutting issue through follow-up and review
    • Roundtable 3.1 [ EN | ES FR ]
      International cooperation and responsibility sharing to enhance human development and human security for people forcibly displaced across international borders
    • Roundtable 3.2 [ EN | ES | FR ]
      Private sector-Government Partnerships to support migrant/diaspora entrepreneurship and job creation, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises