Skhirat, Morocco—On April 18 and 19, the first thematic workshop under the second year of the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairmanship of Morocco and Germany was organized in partnership with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) at the Mohammed VI International Conference Center. Entitled ‘Migration for Development: a roadmap to achieving the SDGs,’ the two-day workshop focused on the interrelationship between human mobility and the achievement of migration-related commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over 220 representatives from around 60 participating UN Member States and 60 international and civil society organizations and the private sector participated in the workshop.
In opening the workshop, Mr. El Habib Nadir, Moroccan Co-Chair of the GFMD underlined the fact that since its establishment in 2007, GFMD discussions have always focused on the links between migration and sustainable development. Several high-level offiials and champions of migrants’ rights also addressed the workshop participants at the opening plenary: Mr. Abdelkrim Benoutiq, Minister delegate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in charge of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs, Mr. Markus Woelke, the Deputy Head of Mission of Germany in Morocco, Mr. Driss El Yazami, Chairman of the National Human Rights Council of Morocco, Ms. Jill Helke, Director of the International Organization for Migration’s International Cooperation and Partnerships Department and Ms. Marta Foresti, Director of Human Mobility at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). All speakers affirmed that migration contributes significantly to all aspects of economic and social development in countries of origin, transit and destination and, as such, is key to achieving the SDGs.
After the opening plenary, six thematic break-out sessions were organized over the course of two days which focused on six key development areas relevant to the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact for Migration (GCM): (1) access and contribution to basic services, (2) climate and natural resources, (3) labour and skills, (4) cities and urbanisation, (5) women and girls and (7) citizenship and identity. Discussions focused on the challenges and issues that states are facing at the nexus of migration and development, as well as opportunities and good practices. Expert speakers from governments and non-state partners helped frame and guide the discussions.
Below highlights the main points that emerged from the discussions in each break out session.
Workshop 1: Access and contribution to basic services: social protection, health and education
Workshop 2: Climate and natural resources
This session focused on migrants’ access to basic social services in countries of destination. The importance of human rights, and an evidence-based approach to service delivery was highlighted. Overall, the discussion recognized the benefits for migrants as well as host communities of extending services to migrants and the need to harmonize service delivery among government agencies and to suppress discriminative laws that prevent migrants’ access to basic services.
Climate change was identified as one of the main drivers of migration, whether people are moving for sudden (e.g. disasters) or slow (e.g. drought, sea level rise) onset events. In terms of opportunities, the panel recognized a three-pronged approach to addressing climate change: reducing climate hazards, building people’s resilience to climate change by diversifying agricultural base to ensure food security and integrating human mobility in the climate change adaptation and disaster risk management plans.
Workshop 3: Labour and skills
Workshop 4: Cities and urbanization
This session recognized that migrants fill labour gaps, transfer funds and skills, and bring new ideas and development to societies in both origin and destination countries. Host countries should give equal access to services, regardless of migration status, and communicate the availability of these services to migrants. To protect migrant workers abroad, work contracts should integrate clauses on migrant’s human rights and the portability of benefits.
Local authorities act as frontline responders/receivers of migrants. In this regard, there is a need for greater policy coherence between the national and local levels, and the participation of local authorities and migrants in policy making. The idea to develop an index of globally accessible good practices was put forward on how local actors and migrants can be included in the development of solutions to the challenges posed by urbanization.
Workshop 5: Women and girls
Workshop 6: Citizenship and identity
Around the world, women represent 48% of the stock of migrants, but they are often excluded from migration discussions. The panel suggested that this is mainly because they often contribute to economies in more hidden ways – such as through the care economy. To further recognize and maximize their contributions, gender-based data needs to be collected, and the implementation and evaluation of migration-related initiatives must be gender-sensitive.
The session focused on the concept of permanent residency and citizenship – on how, if granted, it can foster the integration of migrants but if denied, can lead to further marginalization. To ensure that migrants have adequate documentation, harnessing technology to create digital IDs was suggested. In addition, language training, youth and diaspora engagement and the creation of welcoming city environments for refugees and migrants were possible avenues for fostering migrants’ integration.
The closing plenary of the thematic workshop highlighted the conclusions of the workshop, including some policy recommendations for the Global Compact for Migration and its relationship with the SDGs. In closing, Mr. Nadir, Ms. Foresti, Mr. Woelke and Mr. Gervais Appave, Special Policy Adviser to the IOM Director General, all affirmed the importance of the GFMD as a platform for the exchange of good practices, innovations and partnerships to advance the benefits of migration on development. Moreover, they recognized that the GCM represents a unique moment of opportunity to put the nexus between migration and development on the global policy agenda.
The outcomes of this GFMD Thematic Workshop on Migration for Development served as an input to the GFMD Report to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2018.