UN Network on Migration in Georgia The International Migration Review Forum and its Outcome Progress Declaration

Following the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) and the adoption of its outcome Progress Declaration, the co-chairs of the UN Network on Migration (Network) in Georgia hosted a dedicated meeting for the Network members and partners on 8 December 2022, to discuss the aftermath of IMRF, reporting on the status of implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) and possible cooperation in implementing the actions identified in the Progress Declaration. Building on the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, the Network meeting brought together partners both from the government and the civil society.

Dr. Sabine Machl, Resident Coordinator, UN Georgia, Network co-chair, highlighted that “coordinated by the International Organization for Migration, the Network works closely with the governmental institutions and agencies, international, non-governmental and civil society organizations, to support well-being of migrants, returnees, members of their communities and society as a whole, in line with the Global Compact and in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Tamar Tkeshelashvili, First Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia stated that “Georgia had passed a long and challenging way towards the establishment of its very own migration management system based on a principle of a whole-of-government approach. In this respect the last almost two decades have been outstanding and witnessing the development of the above system at the background of Georgia-EU integration process, where the Association Agreement and the Visa Liberalization Action Plan have established a firm basis for such development. Whereas in parallel the 2030 Development Agenda along with its Goals had become the supporting part of this action.”

Mr. Manfred Profazi, Regional Director, IOM Regional Office for South -Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, highlighted that “the success of the UN Network on Migration will depend on our collective commitment. As coordinator and secretariat of the Network, IOM stands ready to support implementation of the Global Compact with everyone present here today, and we especially look forward to supporting you in these important months after the International Migration Review Forum, as we look ahead to the opportunities we have to meet and discuss our achievements and challenges at the regional and global levels.”

Ms. Amy Muedin, Deputy Head of the UN Network on Migration Secretariat, Office of the Director General, IOM HQ presented the key messages of IMRF and the subsequent Progress Declaration and stated that “Inspired by the IMRF and the Progress Declaration the Network developed a new workplan to be launched for the 2022-2024 period with an aim to help guide country and regional level implementation of the Global Compact…” and highlighted that “… the utmost to this workplan is its commitment to work in partnership with Member States and stakeholders to continue to support implementation of the Global Compact.”

International Migration Review Forum (IMRF)

The Member States of the United Nations decided that the IMRF - a quadrennial high-level meeting - will serve as the primary intergovernmental global platform to discuss and share progress on the implementation of all aspects of the Compact, including as it relates to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders.

The inaugural IMRF took place from 17 to 20 May 2022, under the auspices of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Network was responsible for effective and coherent support in the implementation, follow-up, and review of the GCM, including by supporting the organization of the IMRF.

States were represented at the highest political level, including representatives of various ministries, sectors, local authorities, and stakeholders, in turn reflecting the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in the implementation, follow-up, and review of the Compact.

Progress Declaration

The Progress Declaration evaluates the overall progress made with respect to the implementation of the 23 objectives of the GCM at all levels; and identifies the key challenges, opportunities and emerging issues related to the implementation of the Compact, and the scope for further international cooperation on international migration. It lays down recommendations for actions to accelerate on the implementation of the Compact and strengthen international cooperation, including in relation to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts; racism and xenophobia; protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms; gender-responsive and child sensitive migration polices and legislation; the availability of regular pathways; the prevention of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants; proof of legal identity; recognition of formally and informally acquired skills; reducing transaction cost of migrant remittances; integration of migration as a cross-cutting issue in national development plans; among others.

In the wake of the United Nation General Assembly’s endorsement of the Progress Declaration (A/RES/76/266) IMRF, the GCM acquires yet more significance for international migration governance than ever before. The endorsement of the Progress Declaration places us at a critical crossroads, as it becomes increasingly important to ensure that we continue accelerating the implementation of the GCM while building on past achievements and establish forward-looking priorities on the basis of the IMRF’s milestone outcome document.

As stated by the President of the General Assembly “…the Progress Declaration is a milestone for multilateral engagement on migration, we have an obligation to breathe life into that text”.

The UN Network on Migration in Georgia (link)

The UN Network of Migration in Georgia (Country Network) was established in June 2020. It is co-chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and the IOM Chief of Mission, and its members include the UN Resident Coordinator Office (RCO), IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN WOMEN, UNDP, ILO, UNIDO, UNFPA, UNHCHR, FAO, WHO, OCHA. IOM Georgia acts as secretariat. The Country Network held a series of meetings since its establishment, providing briefing to its member on GCM implementation follow-up and review, as well as presenting the various tools and resources available to States and Stakeholders for the advancement of the GCM.

Georgia and the GCM

The Government of Georgia voted in favour of the GCM on 18 December 2019 (UN resolution A/73/PV.60). This was preceded by a statement at the Intergovernmental conference in Marrakech on the adoption of the same Compact.