UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

​October 2016

Pietro Mona, Deputy Head, Global Program Migration & Development, SDC Bern


On September 19th the 193 UN member states unanimously adopted a political declaration to address the challenges of large movements of refugees and migrants. This document contains numerous measures to prevent forced displacement, to better protect displaced persons and to enhance their self-reliance while taking into consideration also the needs of host communities. In the context of the UN Summit, the agreement was signed to assign the status as “UN related agency” to the IOM. These measures will strengthen the migration capacities of the UN system and strengthen coordination within the system. Notably, civil society organizations criticized the outcome of the Summit, since governments failed to make tangible commitments to address the plight of the millions of displaced persons. While the criticism is not unfounded, one also has to recognize that it is a political success to have organized – for the first time ever – a Summit jointly on refugees and migrants and to have managed to adopt a document which may not have the commitments some actors would have wanted, but that outlines a path for the important next steps. In 2018 we will have to elaborate a Global Compact on Responsibility Sharing for Refugees as well as a Global Compact on safe, regular and orderly migration. The first Global Compact is the responsibility of the UNHCR, who will outline a process in the coming months. The second Global Compact should be negotiated between all member states. Switzerland has signalled its interest to be actively engaged in this process which should be firmly anchored within the 2030 Agenda.

Furthermore, GPMD supported the organization of a Private Sector Forum on Migration and Refugees organized by Columbia University in cooperation with the New York based think tank Concordia. This Forum assembled engaged actors from the private sector and has outlined some steps to be taken on the way ahead. This platform was also the ideal context to launch the Brief elaborated by the Earth Security Group “Forced Displacement and Development: Public – Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development”. You will find more information under the following links and we will keep our readers updated through the Newsletter on the ongoing process.


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Photo (banner) credit: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/