Turkey Holds First GFMD 2014-2015 Preparatory Meetings

Geneva–23 October 2014. On behalf of Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the GFMD 2015 meeting in Istanbul, Ambassador Mehmet Samsar, Director General for Consular Affairs of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened the first round of preparatory meetings of the GFMD Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum in Geneva on 21 and 22 October respectively.

The first GFMD pledging meeting was also held on 22 October. 

Ambassador Samsar welcomed 29 out of the existing 30 members of the Steering Group. He was assisted at the podium by Ms. Esen Altug, Deputy Director General for Migration, Asylum and Visa, Ambassador Eva Akerman Borje, GFMD 2013-2014 Chair, and Mr. Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for International Migration.

The Steering Group discussed the proposed concept note and work plan of GFMD 2014-2015, including a preliminary budget, the follow up of GFMD 2013-2014, and the GFMD 2016 Chair.

Bangladesh Endorsed as GFMD 2016 Chair

The Steering Group meeting concluded with an endorsement of the GFMD Troika’s decision to pass the GFMD Chairmanship to the Government of Bangladesh in 2016. It was also announced that Morocco will consider chairing the GFMD process in 2017.

On 22 October, Ambassador Samsar presented anew to the Friends of the Forum the draft concept note and work program of the Turkish GFMD Chair. The meeting was attended by over 100 delegates from 70 Governments and 20 international organizations. Joining him at the podium were Ms. Altug, Ambassador Akerman Borje, the SRSG and Mr. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh and incoming GFMD 2016 Chair.

Ambassador Akerman Borje presented the highlights of GFMD 2013-2014 process, while the SRSG provided an update on the ongoing efforts to integrate migration in the post-2015 development agenda. Mr. John Bingham of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), Coordinating Office of the GFMD Civil Society, also shared about the report of the GFMD 2013-2014 Civil Society process.

In the afternoon, Ms. Esen Altug chaired the first GFMD pledging meeting which was open to all Friends of the Forum.

GFMD 2014-2015 Proposed Concept Note and Work Program

Delegates enthusiastically welcomed the proposed concept note and provisional calendar of GFMD 2014-2015

As presented by Ambassador Samsar, the thematic priorities and work program of the Turkish GFMD Chair will be organized under the overarching theme, “Strengthening Partnerships: Human Mobility for Sustainable Development.”

This theme was chosen to signal recognition that international migration cannot be managed effectively by any one country alone, or by states without the cooperation of other vital 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.

During its Chairmanship, the Turkish Chair will aim to achieve 3 objectives: a) deepen the discussion on the protection of the human and labor rights of migrants; b) further explore the development impact of migration on public policies, particularly at the sectorial level; and c) take the results of the GFMD into other regional and international agenda-setting processes in which Turkey is playing a key role, particularly the G-20 Group of States, the first World Humanitarian Summit and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

To achieve these objectives, the Turkish Chair has proposed to organize three roundtables, each with two sessions. A thematic meeting will be associated with each roundtable to provide more evidence-based inputs into the background paper and roundtable discussions. Follow up with relevant processes is also being planned, to disseminate more widely the outcomes of the roundtables in Istanbul.

Many delegates offered their comments on the concept note and expressed their interest to play an active role in the organization of the GFMD 2015 roundtables in Istanbul, by co-chairing a roundtable session or serving as a government team member. The Chair invited other governments to submit more comments and to step forward to help with the roundtable and thematic meeting preparations.

The Chair aims to circulate a second draft of the concept note by the second week of November, and to have the government teams set up by February 2015.

Report and Follow up of GFMD 2013-2014

Ambassador Akerman Borje reported on the highlights of GFMD 2013-2014 process during the Friends of the Forum meeting. This was preceded by a presentation to the Steering Group of operational recommendations from the outgoing GFMD 2013-2014 Chair, which outlines action points and follow-up activities for the GFMD that are aimed at strengthening and promoting its continuity, relevance and sustainability as a process. 

Download: Sweden GFMD 2013-2014 Report of the Proceedings

Ambassador Samsar promised to build on the achievements of outgoing Chair (Sweden) and other past GFMD Chairs in implementing these operational recommendations. The Turkish Chair wished for the cooperation of all UN Member States and support of the GFMD Troika, the SRSG and the Steering Group in making the GFMD 2014-2015 a success and in further strengthening the GFMD process.

Update on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The SRSG, Mr. Sutherland, underlined the remarkable progress that has been achieved in integrating migration into the Post-2015 Development Agenda. From a position where migration was not contemplated in any development goal, migration is now under consideration in elaborating several developmental goals, including goal 4 on education, scholarships, student mobility, movement of young people across borders; goal 5 on trafficking, with a focus on women and girls, employment and decent work, migrant worker rights, women migrants; goal 10 on inequality, planned and well managed migration policies and migrant remittances; goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies, trafficking with a focus on children; and goal 17  on data disaggregation relevant to health and education.  Migration is also referred to in some of the larger goals such as poverty eradication, sustainable cities, and climate change.

He urged all Friends of the Forum to encourage their capitals and delegations in New York to actively take part in the ongoing deliberations in order to ensure that migration will find its place in many Post-2015 Development Goals.

First GFMD Pledging Meeting

As endorsed at the Stockholm GFMD meeting, the Turkish Chair organized the first GFMD pledging meeting – a key element of the new GFMD long-term financing framework endorsed at the Stockholm GFMD.

The aim is to facilitate planning for the new Chair-in-Office and provide a space for all governments to contribute, either financially or in-kind, to the Chair-in-Office and to the Global Forum process as a whole.

Ms. Altug presided over the first GFMD pledging meeting on behalf of the Turkish GFMD Chair, flanked by Ambassador Akerman Borje, GFMD 2013-2014 Chair and Ambassador Ahsan M. Shameem, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in Geneva. She presented the preliminary budget of GFMD 2014-2015 and called on all governments and observers to offer financial and/or substantive support. A number of governments heeded this call positively and announced their intended contributions to the Turkish Chair.

The GFMD Civil Society Coordinating Office was invited to give an overview of the GFMD 2014-2015 civil society budget. Mr. Bingham showed the annual budgets of the GFMD civil society since 2011 and requested the Chair and other governments to provide contributions to the civil society process.

Finally, the pledging meeting discussed the issue of membership in the Steering Group.

The next preparatory meetings of the GFMD 2014-2015 will be held on 24 November 2014 in Geneva.

For more information, please go to www.gfmd.org/meetings/turkey2014-2015/calendar