From promises to practice: Towards the effective implementation of the Global Compact on Migration

  • DATE / TIME:
    2022•11•03    15:00 - 17:00

    This hybrid event was the first in a series of migration policy roundtables and provided an opportunity to reflect on progress related to the implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). Taking place six months after the first International Migration Review Forum and ahead of the next round of Regional Reviews, it discussed challenges that lay ahead to turn the Global Compact’s promises into practice, and focused on four cross-cutting principles underpinning the implementation process:

    • The need to ensure effective respect, protection and fulfilment of the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, across all stages of the migration cycle;
    • The commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia and intolerance against migrants and their families;
    • The importance a whole-of-government approach to ensure horizontal and vertical policy coherence across all sectors and levels of government; and
    • The need for a whole-of-society approach to address migration in all its dimensions.

    The event was organized by the UN University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in partnership with the MIDEQ Hub and Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI). Financial support was kindly provided by The Think Tank Hub.

    Speakers were drawn from government, international organizations, civil society and academia, and reflected on the extent and ways in which implementation of the GCM can be enhanced through reference to these cross-cutting principles, and what more might be done to embed them in the policy and practice of Member States, the private sector, and the societies in which migrants live. Discussions also draw attention to new data and evidence produced by researchers in the Global South which can be used to inform the implementation process.


    • Professor Heaven Crawley (moderator), UNU-CPR and MIDEQ Hub
    • Ambassador Francisca Elizabeth Méndez Escobar, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office at Geneva
    • Professor Louis Herns Marcelin, INURED Haiti and University of Miami
    • Ben Lewis, Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR)
    • Laurel Townhead, Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
    • Azrah Karim Rajput, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

    The event was aimed at UN agencies, Member States, NGOs, civil society organizations, academia and others with an interest in ensuring the effective implementation of the GCM.


    In May 2022, Member States came together for the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) to take stock of progress against their commitments as set out in the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). In adopting the Progress Declaration, Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the principles underpinning the GCM and delivery of its objectives. But they also acknowledged that the implementation process has been slower than hoped, and uneven in many areas.

    Progress has also been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reshaped many aspects of international migration, deepening existing inequalities and creating new ones. Speakers highlighted a significant policy-practice gap between the aspirations of the GCM and the lived experiences of migrants and their families, many of whom continue to experience labour exploitation, limited access to social protection and a lack of rights. Xenophobia and racism directed at migrants is a growing concern.

    In this context greater efforts will be needed by Member States to develop – and deliver – ambitious national responses for the implementation of the GCM. These plans will need to be underpinned by data and evidence on the experiences and impacts of migration and its contribution to development, including data and evidence generated by those living and working in the countries of the Global South, where the majority of migration takes place.

    A UNU-CPR policy brief summarizing the key themes and recommendations will be published online following the event and circulated to all participants.