Leaders and representatives from 164 countries have adopted the global migration pact on the first day of the migration conference in Marrakech.
Rabat – Over 160 countries approved the Global Compact on Migration (CGM) Monday. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the compact a “road map to prevent suffering and chaos” which aims to benefit the world’s population.
Taking place today and tomorrow in Marrakech, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration aims “to better manage international migration, address its challenges, and strengthen migrants’ rights while contributing to sustainable development.”
The pact “is the first-ever inter-governmentally negotiated agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner,” according to the UN.
According to UN figures, there are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their home countries, representing 3.4 percent of the world’s population, up 2.7 percent since 2000.
Speaking at the Marrakech conference, Guterres regretted that over 60,000 migrants have died on the move since 2000, calling the tragedy “a source of collective shame.”
Moments before the adoption of the migration pact, Guterres said, “This moment is the inspiring product of dedicated and painstaking efforts.”
In July, 192 UN member states approved the global migration pact. However, a number of countries, including the US, have withdrawn from the pact primarily citing national sovereignty concerns.
UN hopes reluctant countries will later join pact
“It is true that some states are not with us today,” said Guterres. “I can only hope that they will see the GMC’s value for their own societies and join us in this common venture.”
The pact is not legally binding and the approving states are not requested to sign it but only to approve it by acclamation. Guterres said that the UN will not impose migration policies on member states.
UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour, who chairs the Marrakech intergovernmental conference, attributed criticism of the agreement to a “very bad understanding of the text.”
“It must be read after all, it’s a very long and detailed text—or based on ignorance or bad faith because when we hear constantly that this pact is damaging to the sovereignty of states, we must really ask ourselves what document have they been reading!” Arbour said last week.
UNSG spokesman Stephane Dujarric explained the pact saying, “This is about helping countries manage migration. This is about reaffirming the rights of countries to obviously control their own borders. It seems to defy logic to see how you can manage migration without having a global conversation.”
Guterres will officially launch the Migration Network at the Marrakech conference.
Later today, the UN secretary general will also participate in a high-level event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights along with several former high commissioners for human rights.