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UN Network on Migration and UNECE host review of Global Compact for Migration implementation

UN Network on Migration and UNECE host review of Global Compact for Migration implementation

GCM regional review meeting

More than 280 member state representatives, partners and stakeholders met on 11 March in Geneva for the Regional Review of efforts to implement the guiding principles and 23 objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region. 

Organized by UNECE and the United Nations Network on Migration , and co-chaired by Spain and the Republic of Moldova, the findings from the event, the first of five around the world, will inform the 2026 International Migration Review Forum. The Regional Review was held ahead of the Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (13-14 March) in response to the call for stronger linkages between the GCM and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Progress Declaration of the International Migration Review Forum. 

In her summary, co-chair H.E. Pilar Cancela, State Secretary for Migration in Spain, noted growing shortages in skilled labour in the region are exacerbated by the challenge posed by skills recognition, the lack of flexible, rights-based pathways to reduce the deadly toll irregular migration takes globally, the centrality of strong data to support evidence-based decision-making, and the need to confront negative perceptions of migrants and migration. 

Co-chair H.E. Jana Costachi, Moldova's State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted that over half of the world's international migrants in 2020 were located within the UNECE region, driven by employment opportunities, family unification, education and the impact of climate change and environmental disasters. 

“Despite the predominance of regular migration channels, there are persistent challenges ensuring the safety and the legality of this movement,” she said. “Tragically, thousands of migrants have lost their lives during journey, highlighting that urgency of enhanced cooperation and humanitarian assistance to mitigate such risks.” 

UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean stated "If we are to achieve the SDGs, we need to consider the impact of migration at all levels and on all outcomes, beyond the migration-specific Targets. As in other areas of sustainable development, there is a strong need for better data on migration. With support from UNECE, the statistics community continues to seek novel ways to meet the data needs that our member countries face."   

Cooperation to improve national systems of registering asylum seekers and refugees, and to streamline related definitions, is one example of this in practice. UNECE also recently issued guidance on how to use surveys and administrative sources for measuring how immigrants fare in their host countries compared to the main population.  

As a reflection of its importance, improving the collection and use of data on international migration statistics is the first objective of the Global Compact. 

In her powerful statement to the closing session, youth delegate Feblezi Huebi from the Migrant and Youth Platform noted the “countless obstacles they (youth) face in their pursuit of a better future” including language barriers, socio-economic challenges and discrimination. “By prioritizing youth inclusion and addressing the identified priorities of access to education, trafficking of persons, regular pathways, alternatives to detention, and labour exploitation, we can create a more just, equitable, and inclusive future for all young migrants across our region,” she said.   

OHCHR Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif said the GCM offers a “offers a powerful counter-narrative” to the “dehumanizing rhetoric and divisive narratives” on migration emerging at a time when more than 60 countries around the world head to the polls. 

“As we evaluate progress under the Global Compact, it is crucial to integrate its principles into the ongoing negotiations and implementation of legal and policy frameworks within the UNECE region,” she added. “The Global Compact serves as a guiding compass, steering decision-makers towards policies that prioritize human rights, dignity, and respect for all migrants, and that ensures their meaningful participation in all decisions affecting them.” 

Seven European donor countries reaffirmed their support for the Migration-MPTF and called upon other Member States to contribute to its efforts to support GCM implementation, pointing to the success of M-MPTF-funded initiatives including in Tajikistan and North Macedonia addressing issues such as migration-related vulnerabilities of families left behind and enhanced data collection. 

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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