Experts for Having Accurate Data on Migration to Implement GCM

Global migration experts have suggested the countries to ensure having adequate and accurate data of outgoing and returning migrant workers to take effective interventions at the national levels to protect the migrants during this COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Speaking at the first session of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) webinar series held on Tuesday (September 1), they underscored the need for collecting and utilizing disaggregated migration data to promote safe, orderly and regular migration.

The webinar series happened under part of the six months Certificate Programme on “Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM)” hosted by Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), Cross Regional Center for Refugees and Migrants (CCRM), Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT), and the Civil Society Action Committee (CSAC).

MFA regional coordinator William Gois who moderated the sessions threw the volley of questions before the expert panelists to highlight what kind of data actually needed for the countries as these data helped them shaping the migration policies.

He said that the respective countries themselves should determine what kind of data especially on remittance and migration, returning migrants they need for collection to take measures including the reintegration of the COVID affected returnees.

William said that although collecting and utilizing accurate and disaggregated data becomes ‘the first objective of the GCM but it is not the easy objective to work with.’

About 500 participants joined the webinar discussed that the UN member states agreed on the goals of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) for managing international migration in all dimensions.

The non-binding GCM encompassed a total of 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels.

The Objective 1 of the GCM begins with a commitment to collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies.

Speaking a panelist, Bela Hovy, Chief of Publications, Outreach and Support Unit in UN DESA highlighted the importance of migration data for implementation of the global compact for migration.

“Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is extremely practical. We don’t need further guidance. In fact, let us make it work. There are lots of low-hanging fruits but quite few actions can be easily implemented. We cannot progress on data in our daily works step by step bottom up,” Bela said.

A presentation was made on background history of the GCM, an intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations that covered all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

It was formally endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 December 2018.

In his concluding remarks, Bela Hovy stressed the need for collecting accurate and disaggregated data on migration to simultaneously implement the 2030 agenda and the GCM in all spheres.

Echoing the importance of migration data, Sonia Plaza, Senior Economist in the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice of the World Bank, mentioned that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included the issues of migrant workers who were affected by the COVID-19 among other stakeholders.

She said that the impact of COVID has been detrimental disturbing the flows of the migrants and remittances of the different countries. Besides, migration became affected as many countries were in wars and others have been facing economic recessions, she said.

Sonia Plaza emphasized on collaboration of the civil society organizations, international bodies and relevant stakeholders to collect data of the migration as “policies can be based on data on remittances and migrant workers.”

“We have the GCM to improve the international comparability and comfortability of data on migration,” said Sonia Plaza.

Dr S. Irudaya Rajan, Professor, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Research Unit on International Migration at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, also spoke as panelist at the webinar.

Raising the context of Indian migrant workers and Non- Resident Indians, Prof Rajan said that there was no specific data of the Indian migrants badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lockdown imposed by their government to control spread of coronavirus fully stopped mobility of migrant workers in India, he noted that data was very important to manage COVID but nobody knew how many Indian migrants got stranded abroad and how many of them returned home.

Migration specialist Sara Salman, who is representing the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia said that accessible data had been the preconditions to achieving the rest 22 objectives of GCM.

She said that if there were no reliable data on migration, it would not be possible to see the migration from 360-degree vision.

Migration Governance analyst of Zambia Paddy Siyanga Knudsen, Bangladesh’s former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque and Shabari Nair, of Labour Migration Specialist for South Asia, based in the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team (DWT) in New Delhi, among others also spoke at the webinar.

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