NEW YORK: Pakistan has welcomed as “historic” the first-ever agreement among UN member states on an all-encompassing global compact to better manage international migration, address its challenges, strengthen migrant rights and contribute to sustainable development.
“This is truly a historic moment when multilateralism has triumphed,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said after the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalised on Friday that involved two years of discussions and consultations among member states.
The United States was the only country to disassociate itself with the negotiating process, and declined to become a party to the compact even though it is non-binding.
Washington had initially participated in the negotiations, but abruptly withdrew last December under orders from the Trump administration, which has taken an increasingly hostile view toward cross-border migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. It argued that such multinational agreements subverted the power of individual governments to control national borders.
The agreement will be formally adopted at an intergovernmental conference, which will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 10 and 11. Louise Arbour, special representative for International Migration, will serve as the conference s secretary-general.
In her remarks, the Pakistani envoy said the document draws a clear distinction between refugees and migrants, upholds the human rights of all migrants regardless of their status, provides clear guidelines to strengthen migrant-inclusive service delivery systems, promotes immigrant integration and regularisation, provides a gender-responsive and child sensitive approach and addresses the vulnerabilities of migrants.
“Our challenge now is to keep this process alive in a climate that is uncertain, to say the least, and when, in some countries false anti-immigrant narratives still hold sway,” she said, while commending the efforts of ambassadors of Mexico and Switzerland, who served as co-facilitators in the negotiating process to bring about consensus.
“We must now agree and undertake our shared responsibility for the protection and realisation of the rights of all migrants, to fully realise the immense potential and to harness the benefits of regular migration.”
Although the compact is non-binding, it will set out a framework of principles and practices that can facilitate safe, orderly, and regular migration.
As a result, Ambassador Lodhi said and it would have a “profound impact on how we think about migration and treat migrants”.
The Pakistani envoy also underscored the need for UN support to member states to develop “rigorous but realistic” plans and provide funding and tools to actually implement them.
“Our success rests on mutual trust, determination and solidarity to fulfill the 23 objectives and commitments contained in the GCM (Global Compact on Migration),” she added.
In a statement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the compact significant achievement.
He said it reflected “the shared understanding by governments that cross-border migration is, by its very nature, an international phenomenon and that effective management of this global reality requires international cooperation to enhance its positive impact for all. It also recognises that every individual has the right to safety, dignity and protection”.—INP