The first regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Asia and the Pacific concluded today with a call for greater collaboration among countries in the region to implement this global framework for action to reap the benefits of migration for all.
The review, organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional UN Network on Migration for Asia and the Pacific from 10 to 12 March, brought together over 200 government representatives and stakeholders who discussed concrete steps to align migration with sustainable development and respect for human and labour rights in and beyond the COVID-19 era.
Prior to the review, five consultations were held with diverse stakeholders to ensure their participation in the review process and provide them with opportunities to put forward recommendations.
Among the conclusions at the review was the need to seize the opportunity to reimagine human mobility in Asia and the Pacific. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the region further behind in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In light of this, delegates called for stronger collaboration amongst Governments in implementing the Global Compact in the region to ensure that no one is left behind. Policies should respect labour and human rights and be gender-responsive and child-sensitive.
The review also ensured that Asia and the Pacific would be well represented at the International Migration Review Forum in 2022 to make migration a priority in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region.
“As most migration is regional in nature, we must advance regional cooperation and partnerships at the regional, subregional and bilateral levels,” said Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. “Let us work together, countries, intergovernmental organizations, stakeholders and UN entities. No country can address the challenges and opportunities of migration alone. We must be ambitious and advance practical implementation of the Global Compact.”
“As we learned from the pandemic – no one is safe until everyone is safe; therefore, a migrant-inclusive approach is key to finding a sustainable solution,” said H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. “No matter how overwhelmed we are by the impacts of COVID-19, we can and must continue to advance. We must use the Global Compact to its full potential in overcoming these challenges.”
“This regional review offered the participants an opportunity to compare experiences among countries, share good practices and enhance collective actions in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Mr. António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration. “Today, member States and stakeholders have demonstrated the relevance and tangible value of the Global Compact for millions of migrants in the region.”
Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, ILO added, “COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on migrant workers, and they should be integral to our plans as we seek to build back better after the pandemic. Policies and approaches need to be fairer and more inclusive if we are to provide the protection and access to decent work that migrants deserve.”
In the Asia-Pacific region, the number of international migrants has grown from 52 million in 1990 to over 65 million today, roughly 25 per cent of all the world’s international migrants. Notably, 70 per cent of all international migrants in Asia and the Pacific come from within the region.
The Asia-Pacific review will feed into the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in 2022, informing the Forum of regional trends, challenges, successful practices and emerging issues in the region.