Mercy Global Action Contributes to Review of Migration-Related SDGs
The annual High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) took place virtually from 6-15 July 2021 to measure progress on achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the 2021 HLPF reviewed progress on SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnerships). Among these are the targets most directly related to the relationship between migration and sustainable development, especially SDG 8.8 (labour rights and safe and secure working conditions for migrant workers); SDG 10.7 (facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration); and 10.c (reducing the transaction costs of remittances).
As a member of the NGO Committee on Migration, and in close collaboration with the government of Mexico, Mercy Global Action advocated strongly with the co-facilitators of the HLPF Ministerial Declaration to ensure that the outcome document reflected the emphatic importance that the 2030 Agenda gave to the role of migrants and migration in development. This reference had been notably absent from the early drafts of the document.
The letters and conversations MGA and other civil society partners had with Member States resulted in a positive outcome. The final version of the Ministerial Declaration contained a stand-alone paragraph on migration and development, which read in part: “We recommit to cooperating internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants regardless of migration status, and to supporting countries of origin, transit and destination in the spirit of international cooperation, taking into account national circumstances” (paragraph 31). The Declaration also called upon Member States to take steps to support the full inclusion of migrants in the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
On Monday, 12 July, Cecilie Kern, as the Vice-Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration, and a member of the Civil Society Action Committee, was a panelist during the VNR Lab on Migration. During each year’s HLPF, the VNR Labs provide an informal platform for experience sharing and reflection on the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, in which Member States report their progress towards the achievement of the SDGs. The VNR Lab on Migration, entitled “Leveraging the potential of migration for achieving the SDGs,” was organized by the United Nations Network on Migration in collaboration with the Group of Friends on Migration, chaired by the governments of Bangladesh and Ireland.
During the VNR Lab, the governments of Chad, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Iraq, the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration, and representatives of UN agencies and regional mechanisms, academia, and civil society assessed progress made in achieving migration-related targets of the SDGs, while highlighting the cross-cutting nature of migration in the 2030 Agenda and taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also explored interlinkages in monitoring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), especially as we approach the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), to be held during the first half of 2022.
In her remarks, informed by the MGA publication“Hope in a Time of Pandemic,” Cecilie emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how the GCM is more relevant and necessary than ever before. During the pandemic, many governments have implemented policies to remove barriers and facilitate migrants’ access to regular status, remittance channels, social protection and basic services. They have shown that they can make major changes to migration governance systems when it benefited them during COVID-19. Now they need to make permanent systematic, structural and institutional reforms that continue beyond the pandemic if we are to achieve the migration-related SDG targets. Cecilie also highlighted the critical role of civil society in implementing and reviewing the SDGs and the GCM, and called for open and inclusive civil society participation in the IMRF, to ensure real and effective opportunities for robust engagement.
Event Recording (Cecilie’s remarks begin at approximately 1:25:17)