The Financial Secretary (FS) and GFMD Chair-in-Office 2012, Mr. Ali Mansoor, launched the meeting. “I welcome you all to Mauritius, a small country with big experiences and tales to tell about linking migration and development across a diverse and multicultural society like ours”, he said.
In his address, the FS emphasised that the two priority goals for this year’s meeting are real practical outcomes which make a difference to the lives of people, and a focus on African concerns and African engagement. He also spoke about the African mobility project to explore how to better match labour demands with labour supplies across the continent.
The FS also praised the important role civil society has been playing to help ensure that the focus remains on practical solutions. “Its contributions towards integrating protection into the discussions on migration and development while ensuring that development means development of people, development for people, not the least in maintaining a critical voice have been a real challenge for us in government by making us think about how we can do better”, Ali Mansoor remarked.
The themes today focused on human development in international migration, on migration and development goals, on monitoring and regulating labour practices, on engaging diasporas as entrepreneurs and policy advocates, and on the protection of vulnerable migrant workers, amongst others. Results and recommendations from the Civil Society Days will be presented to governments during their opening session on 21 November. Following the opening session there will be a “Common Space” for dialogue between representatives of civil society, international organizations and governments.
The GFMD emerged as an outcome of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development in 2006. It is a State-led, voluntary process dedicated to informal, non-binding and outcomes-oriented dialogue. Policymakers and stakeholders from many countries all over the world participate in various GFMD meetings, in particular a large annual GFMD convening, to discuss the relation between migration and development, share experiences and forge practical cooperation.
Although state-led, the GFMD directly engages civil society partners, including migrant and diaspora organizations, human rights and development groups, labour unions, and members of the academic community and the private sector. Civil society partners are invited to provide input and make recommendations and concrete proposals. To this end Civil Society Days (CSD) are organized prior to the annual meeting of governments.
Each year the GFMD is organised by a different host government. In 2013, the Global Forum will not take place; instead the General Assembly of the UN will be hosting the second High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. In 2014 Sweden will be chairing the GFMD; in 2015, Turkey.