Canada adopts Global Migration Compact

The United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration is the first global framework on international migration
More than 258 million migrants in the world are living outside their country of birth today — a 49 per cent increase compared to 2000. Of these, 68.5 million are refugees who are forced to flee their homes due to violence, discrimination and war. This number is only expected to rise for a number of reasons including population growth, demographic imbalances, inequality, war and climate change.

In response, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, effectively launching processes to create two non-legally binding global compacts: the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration
The first global framework on all aspects of international migration, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been released, and the Government of Canada announced today it has adopted the compact. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen made the announcement at the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech, Morocco. “Comprehensive national migration systems can help drive innovation, economic growth and social stability. Our government believes that this Global Compact is not only an effective way to address the challenges that migration can bring, but is also an opportunity for nations to harness the contributions of newcomers and to ensure their successful integration into new countries,” Hussen said.

The GCM acknowledges the serious challenges that irregular migration poses, while emphasizing the positive contributions of migrants, and the benefits of regular pathways and well-managed migration systems
The Compact sets out 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels. Canada has been actively engaged in the development of the GCM, including the majority of the almost 200 action items, which reflect Canadian practices.

Countries who adopt the compact are not expected to implement each action, but to view them as examples of best practices on how to achieve the objectives. Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said: “The compact is an important international framework to better manage and address global migration challenges, as well as improve co-operation between countries. It contributes to a rules-based international system, and furthers a global approach to migration, which is based on facts, stands up for human rights and works to eliminate gender-based violence.”

The Global Compact for Migration is the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The global compact is non-legally binding. It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination and human rights, and recognizes that a co-operative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

The 23 objectives are as follows:

Collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies
Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin
Provide accurate and timely information at all stages of migration
Ensure that all migrants have proof of legal identity and adequate documentation
Enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration
Facilitate fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work
Address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration
Save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants
Strengthen the transnational response to smuggling of migrants
Prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons in the context of international migration
Manage borders in an integrated, secure and coordinated manner
Strengthen certainty and predictability in migration procedures for appropriate screening, assessment and referral
Use migration detention only as a measure of last resort and work towards alternatives
Enhance consular protection, assistance and cooperation throughout the migration cycle
Provide access to basic services for migrants
Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion
Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration
Invest in skills development and facilitate mutual recognition of skills, qualifications and competences
Create conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries
Promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants
Cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration
Establish mechanisms for the portability of social security entitlements and earned benefits
Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration

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