A Successful Start to First Ever GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairmanship (Berlin, 28-30 June 2017)

Geneva – Riding on the high of the successful Ninth GFMD Summit Meeting in Dhaka (10-12 December 2016), the first meeting of the Friends of the Forum, comprised of all UN Member States and GFMD Observers, was convened on 1-2 February under the GFMD Co-Chairmanship of Germany and Morocco.

Ambassador Götz Schmidt-Bremme of the German Federal  Foreign Affairs and Mr. El Habib Nadir, Secretary General of the Ministry for Moroccans Living Abroad, co-led the first preparatory meeting of the Friends of the Forum, as well as the meetings of the GFMD Troika and Steering Group that took place earlier on the same day.

A key focus of the discussions was the draft concept paper for the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairmanship, which outlines the thematic priorities and work plan of the GFMD in the next two years. In 2017, the Tenth GFMD Summit will be held in Berlin on 28 to 30 June under the overarching theme, "Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development." A second set of preparatory meetings will be held in Geneva on 5 to 7 April, followed by a thematic workshop on migration and climate change in Rabat on 24 May. After the Berlin GFMD Summit, another thematic workshop on the Global Migration Compact will take place in September 2017.

As the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs explained, the GFMD in 2017 will devote significant attention and efforts to reflecting on the GFMD’s contribution to the process of elaborating a global compact on migration. For this reason, a GFMD Dialogue on the Global Compact on Migration was organized on Thursday, 2 February, bringing together over 150 participants (see separate write-up re this event).

Participating states and observers expressed general support for the draft concept paper and activities proposed by the Co-Chairs. A final version of the paper will be circulated by end of February that will take into account the comments and suggestions offered by governments, observers, civil society and business. The paper will be updated after the June 2017 Berlin Summit, to include the thematic agenda and work plan of the GFMD in 2018.

In line with GFMD’s multi-stakeholder approach, the Co-Chairs invited key partners to address the Friends of the Forum, namely: the current Global Migration Group Chair, UN University, represented by Dr. Parvati Nair; the office of Mr. Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for International Migration, who was represented by Mr. Francois Fouinat; the coordinating office of the GFMD civil society, represented by Mr. John Bingham; and the GFMD business mechanism, represented by Ms. Stephanie Winet.

The presentations and discussions on the respective work priorities, roadmap and provisional budgets of the governments, civil society and business were followed by a brief pledging. The GFMD Co-Chairs urged Member States to make voluntary contributions not only for the Government Meeting (28-30 June), but also for the Civil Society Days (29 June to 1 July) and the GFMD business event (29 June). The Governments of Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United States readily announced their pledges to make financial contributions towards various activities of the GFMD in 2017.