National consultation on global migration pact held

Robert Natiello, International Organisation for Migration’s Regional Coordination Officer for the Caribbean

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Inter-national Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday hosted a national consultative meeting on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The meeting, which was hosted at the Pegasus Hotel, will inform a wider, global consultation, which will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The intergovernmental negotiations will begin this month and end in July.

Robert Natiello of the IOM, told the meeting that the Global Compact should be agreed upon by the end of this year.

The idea for a Global Compact to protect migrants and address integration issues stemmed from the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was adopted by the United Nations in 2016.

While Natiello explained that the agreement will be non-binding, he stated that such an arrangement will encourage member states to adopt practices that are in keeping with the framework, toward achieving the sustainable development goals.

Natiello stated that there is strong evidence to suggest that Guyana is becoming an important point of transit for immigrants as they “begin an often perilous migration journey to other countries and territories both within and outside the region.”

He noted too that oil production will bring with it infrastructural development and an increase in services that are projected to grow the economy, and so the country will become a magnet for immigrants and returning Guyanese seeking opportunities.

Michael Brotherson, Head of the Diaspora Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasised the importance of engaging in such a process, especially given Guyana’s migratory history and consequent diaspora.

“Guyana embraces the concept of the global compact for migration and will continue to remain fully engaged in the process even as we remain mindful of our moral peculiarities… we believe that many of the issues that are pertinent to the eventual compact will find resonance in our context. For example, we see diaspora engagement as an important component of the global compact; we see communities as key factors in the migratory systems. Diasporas play an important role in the transfer of skills and knowledge from host countries to countries of origin and are key to helping dismantle some barriers that exist between and among states…,” Brotherson remarked during the opening ceremony of the consultation yesterday.

Yesterday’s meeting consisted of representatives from several organisations who were tasked with providing feedback on six identified thematic areas during breakout sessions.

Those areas were: (1) Human rights of all migrants, social inclusion, cohesion and all forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia and intolerance; (2) Addressing drivers of migration, including adverse effects of climate change, natural disasters and human-made crises, through protection and assistance, sustainable development, poverty eradication, conflict prevention and resolution; (3) International cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration; (4) Contribu-tions of migrants and Diasporas to all dimensions of sustainable development, including remittances and portability of earned benefits; (5)   Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrants and trafficking victims; and (6) Irregular migration and regular pathways, including decent work, labour mobility, recognition of skills and qualifications and other relevant measures.

“Today’s event in the most general sense is indicative of the government of Guyana’s understanding and appreciation of the current global focus on the plight of the peoples the world over who are forced to move within or outside of their own space for one reason or another,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge said in his address.

“…Whilst Guyana as a nation must consider both our peculiar realities and our own capabilities in dealing with migration challenges, we are at the same time… committed both to the discourse and to finding solutions for this human issue…it’s in this context that we deem it necessary to be an integral part of the international community’s quest for this contract…the global compact for migration represents a commitment by the international community to address the challenges of migration in a coordinated and transparent manner,” the minister stated.

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