The Global Compact for Migration and its Approach on How to Address the Root Causes of Migration

In a politically unstable world, discussing migration seems to be a challenge by itself, but its vital importance is constantly reminded to governments around the globe when they are confronted with the inherent human suffering attached to current migration issues. To respond to this complex reality, The Global Compact for Migration aimed to bring the international community to work towards creating an updated, non-binding framework to address the challenges of migration. Moreover, the document takes a step forward, acknowledging the structural factors that create instability and forces people to leave their homes, as well as discussing the measures needed to create pathways to solve these factors.

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted after two years of negotiations, by 164 of the 193 members of the United Nations at The Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakech. The purpose of the document was to create a comprehensive guideline that responds to current concerns of the parties on how to deal with migration. According to population facts, a report of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; by December 2017, the number of migrants increased from 173 million people in 2000 to an estimated of 258 million people in 2017, accounting for 3.8% of the global population. Under this context, it is required that governments engage in finding pathways for addressing this global issue, designing multilateral policies towards progressively tackling down the root causes of migration.

Although much work is needed to start creating long-term solutions for conflict-stricken countries, the compact is an important step that needs the legitimacy from signing and non-signing governments to evolve into multilateral policies that respond to current concerns and enables countries to be prepared for future risks. However, even as the compact configures a non-binding document, a cloud of doubt and misinformation have foster claims that it will force countries to surrender their national sovereignty, compelling signatories to disproportionally prioritize migrants.

On the contrary, the Compact encompasses 23 objectives on addressing the common challenges that the world faces. In regards towards long-term solutions, objective 2, “Minimize the adverse drivers and structural factors that compel people to leave their country of origin”, recognizes that address migration means to engage and develop policies that enable progressively reducing and transform the conditions that cause human displacement such economic crisis, natural disaster, and social unrest, just as indent 18 states and I quote:

We commit to create conducive political, economic, social and environmental conditions for people to lead peaceful, productive and sustainable lives in their own country and to fulfil their personal aspirations, while ensuring that desperation and deteriorating environments do not compel them to seek a livelihood elsewhere through irregular migration.

The Compact states that investment on social, economic, political and environmental stability must be a priority for all signing parties, thereby comply with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must be the long-term policy for creating secure nations and regions that allow populations to build their lives in their communities. This understanding was outlined in the General Assembly resolution that set the 2030 Agenda, that mentions in article 29, “…We also recognize that international migration is a multidimensional reality of major relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination, which requires coherent and comprehensive responses…”

It is a fact that the document does not create rights and obligations for the signing parties, but it opens the opportunity for addressing migratory issues around the world through a multilateral approach. Even as the compact didn’t receive the support of all the countries of the United Nations, such as the United States, Australia, Chile, Hungary, among other; This attempt to create change in how policies are designed could provide a sustainable pathway for cooperation in unstable regions and conflict-stricken countries; where attempts to address migration have fallen short of creating institutions that are able to transform economic conditions, incentivize freedom, and protects vulnerable populations.

Economist writing about Latin America