Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) together

               Global Solutions and Local Action 

The annual global forum on migration and development took place this year in Istanbul, Turkey. The forum took place two weeks after the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Gaols by 193 countries at the UN General Assembly.This forum is aimed among others to establish partnership and cooperation between policy-makers in governments and NGO's. It brings together expertise from all around the world at all stages of economic, social and political development. Also policy-makers from a wide range of government agencies take part in this forum. The forum engages civil society representatives who hold parallel meetings and share their recommendations with the state representatives. 

Significance of migrants’ contribution to the development
This year the director of HIRDA Foundation Fatumo Farah was Co-chair of the civil society meetings of the Global Forum on Migration and Development. She held a speech about how migrants/ Diaspora contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Gaols.  As a director of NGO in development sector, Fatumo Farah has first -hand experience with migration and development. The organisation works towards mobilisation of Somali Diaspora to contribute into development of their country of origin. During the discussions Mrs. Farah highlighted the values migrants have and their contribution to the host country.

This contribution is according to her significant and needs to be acknowledged. She said; ‘As migrants/Diaspora members, we would like to challenge some of the current misconceptions about migration and refugee’s issues. There are real facts of what the Diaspora/ migrant communities have done’ Fatumo farah Director of HIRDA FOUNDATION 

Click on this picture to view Fatumo Farahs speech at the GFMD 2015! Starts at 2:08:32
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Civil Society Recommendations

From the discussion civil society organisations have development a recommendation for the Global Forum on Migration and development. The recommendations were presented by the co-chair of the civil society meeting Mr. Ignacio Packer, who is the secretary General of Terre des Hommes International Federation.
The recommendations were as followed; 

  • On protecting children in the context of migration, among other things urging the US, now the only UN member state on the planet that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to do so.
  • On responding to migrants in crisis, calling states to widen scope of effort beyond the current “countries” in crisis approach, to the “migrants” in crisis, improving – without delay – needs-first and rights-based responses to migrants in distress in transit, including opportunities for orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration.
  • On implementing the newly adopted “2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”: welcoming the inclusion of explicit targets regarding migrants and migration in the new goals and noting the immediate task to take them forward into national policy, implementation and monitoring, with civil society directly involved.
  • On respecting labour rights and conventions, including the 1990 UN Migrant Workers Convention: saying “Here is another good choice whose time has come: it’s high time for Europe to sign these conventions, together with other main countries of destination.”
  • On reform of abusive migrant recruitment processes, commending concrete progress between international organisations and the private sector, among recruitment agencies themselves, particularly in Asia, and most recently ground-breaking legislation in the Gulf region; an issue on which “where governments and private businesses are increasingly recognizing the need to choose reforms and policy changes.”
  • On fighting xenophobia: “The siege mentality fanned by an increasing number of populist leaders and by xenophobic media is disgraceful and dishonest. Society that is truly “civil” demands a new choice: to no longer play with—or surrender to–such intolerance.”
  • On joined governance: expressing concern for policies drafted or passed in more than 60 countries since 2013 that shrink the space for civil society to engage meaningfully with governments on better solutions for migrants and refugees. “We claim a rightful place by demanding genuine participation in governance at local, national, regional and global levels. A place at the decision-making table, and co-responsibility.”

Plea for change in immigration policies
In conclusion, civil society’s united message to governments was that there is a need for choices that has to be made in policies and practices on migration and development. Mr.Packers stated that civil societies reject building blocks of migration policy based on prejudice and fear. He emphasized that choices need to build on evidence and values: on reality not assumptions and values centred upon full respect for human rights of migrants.  This year there was a special session named filling the empty seats about the role of the private sector in GFMD. Also women and children were mainstreamed in all sessions of the civil society discussions.  Next year the GFMD will be held in Dhakar, Bangladesh. 

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