Global Compact for Migration | The Youth Cafe

Since the beginning of human civilization, progress has come hand-in-hand with the movement of people, seeking not just to survive, but thrive in their environment. We have come a long way, and while most migrations are well-managed and done through regular, safe, and orderly channels, this is not a reality shared by all migrants. Currently, there are around 258 million migrants living outside their country of origin. That’s 258 million lives affected by our ever-changing world, from young people seeking opportunities for higher education, finding work, or getting married, to families and unaccompanied minors displaced because of disasters, political instability, and poverty. A staggering 32% of these migrants are under the age of 30.

“A staggering 32% of migrants are under the age of 30.“

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016. This was just the beginning of an intergovernmental effort towards safe, orderly, and regular migration on a global scale, to protect the rights of refugees and migrants. The development of a global compact followed, formalized through a series of UN regional commissions, multi-stakeholder hearings, and regional civil society consultations throughout 2017 and 2018. It was during July of this year that the member states came to agree upon an unprecedented, all-encompassing global compact to ensure proper governance of international migration, addressing its challenges, fortifying migrant rights, and contributing to sustainable development.

The Global Compact for Migration is to be formally adopted at the Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, during Dec 10 - 11, 2018.  

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Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, has stated previously that, “Migration has always been with us. And climate change, demographics, growing instability, growing inequalities, and aspirations for a better life, as well as unmet needs in labour markets mean that it is here to stay. And the answer is effective international cooperation in managing migration to ensure that its benefits are most widely distributed and that the human rights of all concerned are properly protected.”  

This is the rationale behind the Global Compact for Migration (GCM). Outlined in paragraph 16 of the Global Compact for Migration is a list of 26 objectives to better manage migration at local, national, regional, and global levels. It seeks to lessen the negative impact of structural factors and drivers which make it difficult for migrants to build and maintain sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin. It also recognizes the different stages of migration and seeks to reduce the unique risks and vulnerabilities that migrants may face by respecting, protecting, and fulfilling their human rights, providing care and assistance wherever possible. The discrimination and exploitation based on ethnicity, gender, age, and religion constitute the plethora of vulnerabilities that migrants, especially youth, face with no inherent tools or assistance.

However, the GCM recognizes that different societies are undergoing demographic, economic, social, and environmental changes at different scales that may have implications for and result from migration, grounding the legitimate concerns of states and communities.  Ultimately, the GCM and the member states adopting it are striving to create conditions which are conducive to enabling all migrants to enrich our societies through human, economic, and social capacities, facilitating their contributions to sustainable development at local, national, regional, and global levels. The GCM is in line with recognizing the value of diversity, sharing in the building of a sustainable, brighter future by increasing the capacity for inclusive facilitation and cultivation of potential in our migrant populations. To ensure that the benefits and opportunities of migration may be fully harnessed, strong, evidence-based policies, as well as cooperation and input at all levels, are integral. The GCM will be an opportunity to significantly improve governance over migration, to address challenges in a way that strengthens the involvement of migrants and migration towards sustainable development.  

The Youth Forum will take place during Migration Week in December 2018 in Marrakesh, Morocco.


This official space will be a platform for young people to remain extensively engaged, influencing the implementation, follow-up, and review of the GCM. As statistics reveal the unique demographic space youth occupy in the migrant spectrum and the vulnerabilities inherent in their age group as a result of socio-economic factors, this platform seeks to be an opportunity to reinforce the rationale behind the GCM by involving youth, especially those interested in or are a part of migrant populations.  

The aim of the Youth Forum is to build capacity and ensure that young people and their communities are actively informed and prepared to take part in the implementation of the GCM from grassroots to intergovernmental levels. It will be a youth-led event, open to all youth who wish to participate. It will present a unique engagement opportunity for youth and young migrants. The program will draw on youth discussions, positions, and actions from different regions through the entire GCM process, seeking to build capacity for policy implementation and a sense of public collective ownership of the GCM success. The outcome of the forum and the participation of youth in the GCM consultations and negotiations as well as the plan for implementation and follow-up will be presented within intergovernmental and public platforms, including the GCM follow-up and review.