8th Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development
Date: 14-16 October 2015
Venue: Istanbul - Türkiye

Turkey hosted the 8th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit in Istanbul during 14-16 October 2015 on the theme of “Strengthening Partnerships: Migration and Human Mobility for Sustainable Development.” The Forum, which has been chaired by Turkey since 1 July 2014, brought together around 600 delegates from 150 countries and 30 international organizations, high level officials of international organizations, particularly UN Deputy Secretary-General, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Alliance of Civilizations High Representative, and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship as well as representatives of civil society organizations. OIC delegation comprising Ambassador Mouhamadou Doudou Lo, Director General of the Department of the Economic Affairs in OIC General Secretariat, Dr. Kenan Bağcı, Senior Researcher at SESRIC, and Ms. Esma Demirtaş, Researcher at SESRIC attended the meeting. Ambassodor Musa Kulaklıkaya, Director General of SESRIC, also attended the opening session of the Forum.

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led consultative process open to all States that are Members and Observers of the United Nations. It addresses the issues related to emigration and development in practical and action-oriented ways. The Forum’s purpose is to address the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to international migration and its linkages with development, to bring together government expertise from all regions, to enhance dialogue, cooperation and partnership and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national, regional and global levels.

The first session of the GFMD was held in 2007 in Belgium. Since then, 6 more GFMD summit meetings have been held across the world, hosted by the governments of the Philippines (2008), Greece (2009), Mexico (2010), Switzerland (2011), Mauritius (2012) and Sweden (2013-2014). After Turkey’s chairmanship during 2014-2015, Bangladesh has been endorsed as the 2015-2016 Chair of the Forum.

The Forum is inaugurated by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey. In his address, Prime Minister Davutoğlu underlined that discussing the latest issues on the migration and development with the active participation of the representatives of international organizations, civil society and private sector in İstanbul for three days is a timely and opportune event and touched upon the migration crisis. Stressing the need to come up together with solutions to the tragedies on the basis of common humanitarian values rather than ignoring them, Prime Minister Davutoğlu drew attention to Turkey’s exemplary efforts for the Syrian and Iraqi refugees for four years.

In the opening session, Jan Eliasson, UN deputy secretary general, António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser United Nations High Representative United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations, H.E. Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs and Citizenship and H.E. Nurul Islam, BSc, Minister of Expatriates’Welfare and Overseas Employment from Bangladesh are delivered a speech.

The GFMD has been elaborated by three parallel sessions, each with two rondtables. The three sessions was organized to ensure the GFMD’s pivotal role and relevance in the global dialogue on migration and development.

The themes for sessions and roundtables were as follows:

Session 1 : Partnerships and action for the protection of migrants in crises and transit

  • “Partnerships to promote inclusion and protect the human rights of all migrants in order to achieve the full benefits of migration”
  • “Reducing the human and financial costs of international migration, particularly labor migration: Cooperative approaches to fair recruitment practices and lower remittance fees”

Session 2 : Partnerships and action for decent migrant labour recruitment and employment

  • “Mainstreaming migration into planning at the sectoral level”
  • “Making migration work post-2015: implementing the SDGs”

Session 3 : Beyond xenophobia and exclusion: Local partnerships and action for the social inclusion of migrants and diaspora

  • “Enhancing human development and human security for forced migrants, who are compelled to cross international borders, through international cooperation on labor market access, educational opportunity, family reunification, and other avenues of mobility”
  • “Private sector-government partnerships to support migrant/diaspora entrepreneurship and job creation, with a focus on small and medium enterprises”

In addition those sessions, 15 side events have been organized by different states, international organizations and civil society organizations. A special session has been also organized on the Future of the Forum destined to heads of delegation and Platform for Partnerships for member’s delegations.

Furthermore, the issue of migration and development has been widely discussed in its relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs or 2030 Agenda), and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). Important role of migration in realizing the international development goals are further stressed. The Agenda 2030 sets a number of migration-related targets and also recognizes the importance of building and harnessing the inter-linkages between policies and actions outlined in the AAAA. The outcome of the AAAA (Financing for Development) recognized for the first time the contribution of migration to sustainable development. Together, the Agenda 2030 and AAAA create a strong basis for action on migration and development. In order to make progress towards the ambitious universal commitments, all countries will need to consider mainstreaming migration into respective planning processes and development plans and strategies.

For more information about the Forum, visit: www.gfmd.org