Which way forward on GCM Implementation in the era of COVID-19?
Objective 5 and International Cooperation are the keys.
Building on weekly discussions with stakeholders in the context of the “Global Review of the Implementation of the Global Compact for Migration” webinar series, we propose an implementation strategy that takes Objective 5, “Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration” as its keystone.
Taking Stock and Looking Forward
This is a critical moment for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The two-year anniversary of the adoption of the GCM is fast approaching, and the first set of GCM regional review processes is getting underway. GCM implementation was just getting started when the COVID-19 pandemic hit; choices and priorities about the future of human mobility look different now. This means that implementation needs to look different going forward.
The Regional Migration Review Forums (RMRFs) offer the first formal opportunities for States and stakeholders to review progress toward implementing GCM commitments. Implementation was off to a slow start before the pandemic and now urgently needs renewed commitment and direction. Beyond simply reviewing implementation progress to date, States and stakeholders must also use the upcoming RMRF processes to reckon with the impacts of the pandemic and responses and recommit to a focused, collective implementation strategy to achieve the imperatives of “building back better” and “leaving no one behind.” The focus must shift from treating the GCM as an à la carte menu to treating the GCM as a coherent agenda requiring sustained and forward-looking international cooperation with pathways for safe, regular, orderly, and rights-respecting migration at the centre.
To clarify what this might mean, we reflect briefly on how the GCM’s origins and context shaped it and initial implementation efforts. We then turn attention to the pandemic’s impacts and lessons, and what these suggest for implementation priorities going forward. We then elaborate on the call for making Objective 5’s enhancing regular pathways the keystone to progress toward “safe, orderly and regular migration”. Finally, we offer some recommendations for using the RMRF processes—from consultations and preparatory processes to written inputs, national implementation reports, RMRF outcome documents—to highlight the GCM as a global instrument, promoting global solidarity for a robust implementation strategy focused on strengthened international cooperation.