Swiss GFMD Chair Lays the Groundwork for 2011 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

Convenes first meetings of the GFMD Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum

26 March 2011 – Geneva, Switzerland. On 08 February and 15 March 2011, the current GFMD Chair-in-Office Switzerland convened the first round of consultations with members of the GFMD Steering Group and the Friends of the Forum in Geneva to lay the groundwork for the 2011 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

Mr. Eduard Gnesa, Special Ambassador of Switzerland for International Cooperation on Migration, chaired both meetings which gathered 33 Steering Group member states and around 160 participants from over 100 countries and 20 international organizations, respectively. Also in attendance was Mr. Peter Sutherland, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Migration and Development, as well as GFMD Troika members, Mexico and Sweden.

In both meetings, the Swiss GFMD Chair presented the concept paper and outlined the work program for 2011 GFMD under the flagship theme: Taking action on Migration and Development – Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation. In lieu of a full annual GFMD meeting, the Chair-in-Office will open up a space for smaller, focused and action-oriented thematic meetings around the world, which will culminate in a final two-day extended Friends of the Forum meeting in Geneva on 1-2 December 2011.

To achieve this, the Chair will work in partnership with other governments, with support from international organizations, regional consultative processes, and the civil society. In addition, the GFMD ad hoc Working Groups – one on Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development and another on Policy Coherence, Data and Research – and the Platform for Partnerships will lend support to the implementation of this year’s work plan.

The Swiss GFMD Chair’s thematic agenda is fleshed out in three clusters of policy themes: Labour mobility and development, Addressing irregular migration through coherent migration and development strategies, and Creating tools for evidence-based migration and development policies. All clusters aim to strengthen the mutually reinforcing links between development, migration and human rights, while looking for the institutional and policy coherence, capacity and cooperation, within and between states that lead to “good practices”.

The Friends of the Forum meeting also discussed other important issues, such as the state of affairs of the GFMD assessment; updates on the respective work plans of the ad hoc Working Groups; the 2011 GFMD budget and call for financial contributions; and plans for civil society engagement. A presentation was also made on the latest improvements of the GFMD web portal, including the restructured GFMD documents library and the renewed Platform for Partnerships which provides a mechanism to showcase projects, programs and policies that are undertaken by governments, related to GFMD themes, debates and outcomes.

In concluding, the Swiss GFMD Chair emphasized that the success of the GFMD process depends in large measure on the governments’ engagement and cooperation, especially in 2011, which is in many ways a special year for the GFMD process.

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