From Dhaka to Berlin, Anas Ansar Uddin, leader of the Youth delegation addressing the German co-Chair of the next 2017 and 2018 GFMDs (video):

“I am one of the 6 youth delegates present here at the GMD in Dhaka and I am from Bangladesh. I am living in Germany for two years. I find a quite unique opportunity to request you to have a clear, precise and ambitious inclusion of youth perspective at the 10th GFMD that is going to take place in Berlin in June 17. Germany is a kind of epicentre of what is happening in terms of youth international migration, and with all this youth mobility that is happening over there… It is a great opportunity to come up with something concrete and holistic on behalf of the youth on the move!

Members of the Destination Unknown campaign at the 9th GFMD:

Five member organisations participated actively to the 2016 GFMD: Kopin from Malta, Insan from LebanonOne Third from Sweden (particularly involved into the Youth delegation), Hope for Children from Cyprus and Terre des Hommes.

Roula Hamati, from INSAN, was the special rapporteur for children and youth and recommended four action points:

  1. Action 1: Need to systematically apply the 9 recommended principles to guide action for children on the move and other children affected by migration;
  2. Action 2: To include youth into policy making at local and regional levels in discussions which affect to them on migration, development and decent work because youth are largely excluded from these discussions;
  3. Action 3: Develop frameworks to protect stateless children from detention;
  4. Action 4: The need to collect data on children and family members who are left behind.

Roula Hamati (video) insisted especially on the division of the two global compacts on migration and on refugees. According to the participants involved in youth discussions, the way to bridge the discussions is the child:

“the obvious link between the two consultations! Discussion regarding children should be at the heart of the compacts. Because A child is a child regardless of his status. Vertical discussions are not enough, but a cross-cutting discussion of children issues across all migration topics is needed. How can we do that? We have already the bridging documents bringing the perspective of children on labour rights, on migrants in crisis, etc.”

Dominilk Kalweit (video) from the Maltese NGO KOPIN emphasied the importance of education

“I read a news this morning in the national newspaper that children from slums in Dhaka are working more than 64 hours a week mainly in the garment industry: education is absolutely crucial for our work and it is paramount for children and youth on the move, but also to educate those who are directly or indirectly contributing to social injustice at the global level. We need to make people in the western world understand that if they buy a T-shirt for 3 EUROS and throw it away a weak later and buy another one, there is a direct Impact on these kids here in Bangladesh. This can be done through awareness raising and it is much stronger through education;”

See the Opening of Common Space of this year’s GFMD, with 2015 civil society Chair for the GFMD, Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of Terre des Hommes, making an intervention for civil society to an audience of government officials (as from 47:45 on video). He insisted on the urgency to take action as illustrated by the very title of the GFMD 2016, “time for action”:

“Action means change.  In this process, “no business as usual”.  We should get out of our comfort zone.  All stakeholders.  With humility, leaving behind our logos and egos.  With a sense of urgency, to respond to today’s issues and prepare for the future for the future generations.

Change with commitments that uphold rights.

Change for all governments to respond to the challenges and comply with the values enshrined in the human rights framework.  Not just a few governments, not only those in regions people move through or to.

Change starts by a different way of telling the story.  Migration is a reality with opportunities.

Change behaviour of steps towards migrants.  For harmonious societies, increase social inclusion.  Our work as civil society through the Global Compact is for a change in daily life.

The time we have is to be focused and for action.”

Three points of emphasis:

  1. First:  URGENCY:  protection and assistance now for migrants on the ground
  2. Second:  IMPLEMENTATION:  focus on  action implementing existing commitments without delay
  3. Third:  INCLUSION:  participation of civil society, especially migrants and diaspora, together with all relevant stakeholders, in the preparations for, and participation in, the Global Compact on Migration.  Not to forget local authorities.  Nor the weight of youth and the perspectives of children.

Don’t invite migrants to tell stories but to work with you on policy implementation, on the challenges of solutions.  Migrant policy based on evidence and on the values enshrined in the human rights framework.

Requirements to accomplish these actions:

  • First, an Effective Governance Framework: to accomplish such actions, an effective governance framework is needed.
    Treaties are important; they do not meet the criterion of urgency, as migrants are dying by the thousands in transit.
    Guidelines are important, but most are non-binding.
    A commitment with concrete deliverables, implementation and a monitoring framework—is what civil society wants to deliver with governments.  It fits both the criteria of urgency and monitored implementation.
  • Second, A Tools-based Approach: Governance framework doesn’t need to start from scratch. Some tools exist already
  • Third:  Partnership with Civil Society:
    Appreciate the many expressions of support for this participation.
    It is at a time where the speed of shrinking civic space is very deep, very fast, across borders.
    No time to waste.  No time for lofty concepts. Monitoring and measures.  Make difference in people’s life.
    Justin Mc Dermott gave an overview of the “Peter Sutherland report”.  The first recommendation: “Who needs what” and special attention to children.

A child is a child no matter his/her migration status.  A child does not go running a round with an “M” for migrant, “R” for refugee, “I” for internally displaced or other.  As such, children are a link between the two global compacts.

We need to ensure that both Global Compacts are adopted in 2018 with coherent and harmonised child focused goals, targets and indicators similar to, and in line with, the SDG 2030 Agenda. This would be common for both Global Compacts on the basis of the principle of non-discrimination irrespective of a child’s migration or residency status.


On the GFMD you can find on this website 3 more posts:

  1. GFMD Civil Society Days: key messages on children on the move
  2. “I believe in the impossible, every day” #GFMD_CSD
  3. “Tracking change”, the satelite meeting ahead of GFMD 2016

The Independent, Dhaka newspaper,  article about the GFMD 

GFDM 2016 Reports and speeches are available on the GFMD website

Read more about the Civil Society Days of the GFMD

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