2nd Annual Meeting of the UN Network on Migration in Georgia

On 12 December 2023, the 2nd annual meeting of the UN Network on Migration in Georgia convened in Tbilisi, with a primary focus on the Regular Labour Migration Pathways.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Sabine Machl, UN Resident Coordinator and co-chair of the UN Network on Migration in Georgia, highlighted that “the success of the UN Network on Migration will depend on our collective commitment. As the co-chair of the Network, I would like to confirm once again the UN Country Team’s commitment to support this endeavor, as we look ahead to the opportunities to meet and discuss our achievements and challenges. We will also continue our support to the implementation of the Migration Strategy of Georgia for 2021-2030.”

Ms. Ketevan Betlemidze, Chairperson of the Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, highlighted that “…climate change is and will be one of the important factors influencing labor migration by possibly reducing performance effectiveness, threatening the agricultural livelihoods, causing desertification etc. ...the only logical way to tackle the obstacles that hinder regular pathways is a whole-of-government approach to the governance and management of migration. However, the whole-of-government approach would not be fully effective without a whole-of-society approach to the problems and their proactive solutions.” 

Amr Taha, Senior Regional Liaison and Policy Advisor, International Organization for Migration (IOM) – UN Migration Agency, Regional Office for South- Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, reiterated that “advancing the Global Compact simultaneously advances several other important frameworks - many of which it rests on - in addition to national priorities and strategies.” Mr. Taha also mentioned that “In response to Members States’ request, the upcoming GCM Regional Review on 11 March 2024 will be preceded by GCM Talks fostering meaningful dialogue within and across governments and countries. The UN Network on Migration stands ready to support the Government of Georgia in organising a GCM Talk.”

Mrs. Sanja Celebic Lukovac, Chief of Mission, IOM Georgia, emphasized that “Since its establishment in the Network’s activities in Georgia led to the various impactful initiatives aimed at raising awareness, fostering knowledge, and strengthening cooperation in the implementation of and reporting on the Global Compact.” She also reiterated that “the Global Compact recognizes that migrants and migration are important contributors to sustainable development and calls for a whole-of-government as well as whole-of society approach on migration. I would like to commend the Government of Georgia for integrating these two significant approaches to its advanced migration governance model.”

Two major reports were introduced by IOM and International Labour Organization (ILO) experts addressed leveraging human mobility and enhancing pathways for regular migration through bilateral agreements. The IOM Flagship Report on “Leveraging Human Mobility to Rescue the 2030 Agenda” was presented by Mr. Daniel Silva, Policy Officer, Migration and Sustainable Development Division, IOM HQ; and the Global Guidance on Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements”, published in February 2022 by the Global UN Network on Migration under the Workstream 8 Enhancing pathways for regular migration through bilateral agreements, co-lead by ILO and IOM, in collaboration with a number of UN partners, was presented by Mr. Paul Tacon, Labour Migration Specialist, ILO HQ.  

Recognizing the significance of incorporating the perspectives of the European Union (EU) and receiving countries, especially in the context of regular labour migration pathways, a dedicated panel discussion showcased the relevant policies and collaborative efforts with the Government of Georgia.

Ms. Asunción Sánchez Ruiz, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Georgia, underlined that “migration management, is above all about the safety and the rights that need to be respected. Respect for human dignity and human rights should be an essential part of our cooperation in this regard.”

Mr. Marcos Granados Gómez, Chargé d’Affaires of the Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain, pointed out that “migration policy has a fundamental external dimension we need to address together with countries of origin and transit with proper dialogue and political frameworks. This external dimension is the prerequisite for a well-managed migration; without it there is no migration policy possible. In this sense, this conference is very timely, as it aims at supporting Georgian institutions to better manage this phenomenon.”

Ms. Theresa Schuhmann, Migration Liaison Officer in Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, highlighted that “the collaboration between State Employment Support Agency (SESA) and the Federal Employment Agency (BA) has been firmly established over the past three years. The program has facilitated connections between a significant number of employers and employees, utilized for circular migration opportunities within the framework of seasonal employment.“

The second panel analyzed the whole-of-government approach established by the Government of Georgia and explored the important steps taken in the past years to promote and facilitate regular labour migration pathways as a viable alternative to irregular migration and an important factor of country’s development. The main institutions and agencies presented their specific roles and contributions. Government representatives included Mr. Giorgi Bunturi, Head of Division for Labour Migration Issues, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia; Mr. Goga Tabatadze, Head of the Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia; Ms. Nino Veltauri, Director, State Employment Support Agency (SESA); and Ms. Nino Kakulia, Qualification and Partnership Development Team Leader, Skills Agency.

Additionally, a dedicated dialogue, co-moderated by Ms. Natia Kvitsiani, National Programme Officer (LMI) at IOM Georgia and Ms. Nino Veltauri, Director of the State Employment Support Agency (SESA), deliberated on the diverse experiences of Georgian labour migrants abroad. 

Building on the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, the Network meeting brought together the representatives of the Government of Georgia, Embassies and diplomatic representations, UN agencies and International Organizations, non-governmental organizations and labour migrants. 

For more information, please contact Tamar Mamulashvili-Beler, Senior Programme Development and Support Assistant/Assistant to Chief of Mission, IOM Georgia at