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The present and future of the Global Compacts

June 07, 2022
9:30 AM EDT - 3:15 PM EDT
Hybrid (In person at CERC Migration office / online via Zoom)

CERC Migration held an international workshop convened by Anna Triandafyllidou, Younes Ahouga, Richa Shivakoti (all CERC Migration) and Binod Khadria (Jawaharlal Nehru University and CERC Migration Scholar of Excellence (opens in new window) .)

Practitioners extolled the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) in December 2018 as a critical milestone in migration and asylum governance. Yet to be truly considered a milestone, the two Compacts must overcome shortcomings: (1) the many competing priorities due to the divergent interests of the endorsing states, and (2) the lack of an enforcement mechanism that could hold states accountable.

Participants took stock of how the GCM and the CGR were implemented to address these shortcomings and examined the future of the two Compacts in the post-pandemic world. While the COVID-19 global pandemic, as well as the Afghanistan and Ukraine crises, stressed the need for global cooperation on migration and asylum, it also resulted in a range of challenges that could limit the relevance of the Global Compacts. As the states favoured imposing unilateral restraints on mobility through the pandemic, some sectors relying on circular temporary labour migration saw large, possibly unprecedented, restrictions in mobility and massive layoffs of migrant workers. The hypermobility that was foreseen earlier came to a complete standstill during the pandemic, resulting in crisis-returns that therefore contradicted the GCM’s aim to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. On the other hand, the refugee emergencies proliferating around the world including, for instance Venezuela or Central America, make the GCR all the more relevant and needed. 

This workshop aimed to address the following questions:

  • How has the implementation of the GCM and GCR progressed since their adoption? What are the lessons learned? Have states been held accountable for not meeting their voluntary commitments?
  • Have the regional reviews succeeded in building trust between the stakeholders and avoiding politicization of the implementation of the two Compacts?
  • Particularly as regards to the GCM, did the capacity building mechanism set up by the UN Network on Migration improve the implementation? Has the UN Network on Migration been able to speak in one voice?
  • How will the global governance of migration and asylum change in the post-pandemic world? Are the two Compacts still fit for the purpose?
  • Given the prominent role that non-state actors played during crisis-return and reintegration, should their role evolve to permit greater contribution to deliberations on the global governance of migration and asylum?
Workshop overview
9:30 - 10 AM EDT Welcome reception
10 AM - 12 PM EDT

Welcome: Anna Triandafyllidou, Chair, CERC Migration

Session 1: Taking Stock of the Global Compacts

Chair: Richa Shivakoti, CERC Migration

  • Did catchy slogans and future commitments in the IMRF reflect poor implementation of the GCM?  |  Binod Khadria, Jawaharlal Nehru University/CERC Migration  (PDF file) Abstract
  • The Global Compact on Migration: Improving protection for environmental migrants?  |  Susan Martin, Georgetown University  (PDF file) Abstract
  • Institutionalizing a new hybrid organizational form? The UN Network on Migration and the Global Compact for Migration  | Younes Ahouga, CERC Migration  (PDF file) Abstract

Discussant: Randall Hansen, University of Toronto

12 - 1 PM EDT Lunch break (lunch provided)
1 - 3 PM EDT

Session 2: The Future of the Global Compacts

Chair: Younes Ahouga, CERC Migration

  • Future of the Global Compacts, global co-operation and international organizations | Martin Geiger, Carleton University  (PDF file) Abstract
  • Between shrinking spaces, meaningful participation and “zoomification”: Civil society and the International Migration Review Forum | Stefan Rother, University of the Bundeswehr Munich / Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institute at the University of Freiburg  (PDF file) Abstract
  • The Global Compacts and collective action problems: Incentives for responsibility-sharing amid externalized and militarized migration management | Craig Damian Smith, CERC Migration

Discussant: Anna Triandafyllidou, CERC Migration

3 PM EDT Concluding remarks

Please check back for event recording.