The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a recent initiative of the United Nations Member States to address the migration and development interconnections in practical and action-oriented ways. It is an informal, non-binding, voluntary and government-led process that marks the culmination of more than a decade of international dialogue on the growing importance of the linkages between migration and development. It reflects the progressive acknowledgement of the limits of a strictly national approach to migration questions and implications at global level in an intergovernmental framework. In view of the societal implications of these issues, civil society representatives have also been involved from the outset in this process.
The first session of the GFMD was held in 2007. Among the formative initiatives pre-dating the GFMD are:
- The UN Population and Development Conference in Cairo in 1994 , during which a Program of Action was endorsed, including a chapter on international migration (Chapter X) which ranges across issues such as remittances, temporary migration, transfer of knowledge, skills and technology etc. and calls for "orderly international migration that can have positive impacts on both the communities of origin and the communities of destination".
- The Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM), established on the initiative of the then UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, in 2003, which presented its report and recommendations to UN Members States and the international community late 2005. The report includes 6 Principles for Action covering all aspects of human mobility and migration governance, including the interconnections between migration and development.
- The UN General Assembly 14-15 September 2006 High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD), where the UN Secretary-General and his Special Representative on International Migration and Development proposed the creation of the GFMD. This proposal was endorsed by a large majority of the General Assembly, as was the Belgian offer to launch the GFMD process. The first meeting took place in Brussels in July 2007 in the presence of the Secretary-General of the UN.
The objectives of the GFMD are:
- To provide a venue for policy-makers and high-level policy practitioners to informally discuss relevant policies and practical challenges and opportunities of the migration-development nexus, and engage with other stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, experts and migrant organizations to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at national, bilateral and international level;
- To exchange good practices and experiences, which can be duplicated or adapted in other circumstances, in order to maximize the development benefits of migration and migration flows;
- To identify information, policy and institutional gaps necessary to foster synergies and greater policy coherence at national, regional and international levels between the migration and development policy areas;
- To establish partnerships and cooperation between countries, and between countries and other stakeholders, such as international organizations, diaspora, migrants, academia etc., on migration and development;
- To structure the international priorities and agenda on migration and development.