back from Dhaka and on the road to Berlin back from Dhaka and on the road to Berlin


Pascal Fendrich & Aeberhard Peter, Coordinators, Swiss Civil Society on Migration and Development​

The Swiss Civil Society Platform on Migration and Development ( participated last December in the 2016 GFMD civil society days in Dhaka and in the preceding People’s Global Action. While Swiss civil society organisations regularly participated in previous GFMDs, it was only the second time, which was formally established in the summer 2015, and its members jointly prepared their participation and contributions. was represented by a delegation of four persons comprising the two coordinators (secretariat) as well as two selected members:  a representative of the African Foundation for Migration and Development and of African Mirror (a web-based diaspora TV channel). 
The “take off” to Dhaka happened in continuation of a broader process of consultations led by the platform’s GFMD working group including key moments such as the organisation of a talk show with civil society representatives on the priorities of the Migration and Development international dialogue (17.06.2016) ( or the organisation of an exchange with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation on priorities for the 2016 GFMD (12.11.2016). 
A central role of is to bring the substance of the international dialogue closer to its members and support them in adding their voices to the debate. It is precisely on “the role, potential and strategies of national civil society platforms on influencing migration policy” that organised a side event. The objective of this side event was to provide a space for learning about the role and actual strategies of national Civil Society Organisation (CSO) platforms for national policy influence, with a particular focus on how the international civil society dialogue can also feed into influencing national policy dialogue. The side event took the form of a panel discussion gathering representatives of CSO platforms of Bangladesh, Germany, Mexico, Senegal and It led to a rich exchange of experiences, which can be viewed in the following video:


The interest of the panellists and the audience once again underlined the relevance of the topic. Discussing strategies on how to bridge international debates with national policy dialogue and the possible contribution of civil society in this respect are critical dimensions for follow-up of global discussions and in the end for actual change. Ensuring civil society coordination and contribution to national policy dialogue processes is also particularly important in the context of the Global Compacts, which constitute unique opportunities for significant change on global migration governance and for civil society’ s influence in policy-making and implementation. Civil society has and will continue to have a key role to play in producing evidence, proposing innovative solutions and monitoring policies. With these objectives in mind, participants of the panel discussions shared the view that this GFMD 2016 side event should be seen as the kick off of regular exchanges between national CSO platforms/coordination structures for increased influence. 

Together with civil society colleagues from other countries and continents, intends to actively promote and feed these discussions throughout the year and in view of the next GFMDs. This dimension of work will come as a useful complement to the platform’s continuous efforts to support its members to play an active role on policy discussions at national and international levels and in particular in the Global Compact process. The participation in the 2017 GFMD in Berlin and the organisation of a Conference on the human, social and cultural rights of migrants in Switzerland in the second part of the year, will constitute key moments for the Swiss civil society in this process. The agenda for 2017 is dense and challenging, but inspiring.  

Related resources:


The Swiss Civil Society Platform on Migration and Development ( at the 2016 GFMD civil society