Global Migration Group

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The Global Migration Group (GMG) is a group consisting of fourteen UN agencies, the World Bank and the International Organisation for Migration that work in cooperation to address global migration issues. It was created in 2006 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in order to better coordinate multilateral migration governance initiatives.[1] The Group's primary aim is to improve the management of cross-border migration, to promote further research and to develop international norms relating to migration.

The GMG is chaired on a rotating basis of six months by a member agency, during which a thematic topic is adopted to guide the Group's activities. UNICEF chaired the Group during the first half of 2011 with a focus on youth.[2] UNESCO Chairs the Group in the second half of 2011 on the theme of climate change and its impact on migration.[2]

The GMG also feeds its activities into that of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, although the two are not formally affiliated.

GMG working themes[edit]

Global environmental change and migration (July – December 2011)[edit]

The relationship between global environmental change and migration is an emerging issue on the global policy agenda. During UNESCO's chairmanship, the GMG is focusing its work on linkages between the environment, human settlement and population movement.[3]

There is a wide range of migration-related issues associated with environmental factors, including governance, conflict, human rights and international law, gender, economic and human development, as well as public health. Environmental degradation takes place in a context marked by inequalities within and between countries in terms of development and capacities to address their consequences, thereby raising issues of global justice. Increased movement of people (including displacement and possible relocation) in this context will have real impacts for migrants and communities in countries of origin, destination and transit.

The GMG works jointly to identify the challenges inherent in the links between climate change and migration, displacement and relocation. Such challenges include the legal and normative framework applicable to environmentally induced displacement and migration. There remains a lack of clarity on issues such as the legal status of people fleeing environmental disasters, the need for better data collection and monitoring, and the consideration of migration as a de facto adaptation strategy in national climate change strategies, for example in National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPAs). The GMG works together to prepare inputs on these challenges for events such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will be held this year in Durban, South Africa from 28 November to 9 December (17th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Youth, Adolescents and Migration (January – June 2011)[edit]

In light of the International Year of Youth (12 August 2010 – 11 August 2011), the thematic focus aims to bring greater attention to a rights based approach to adolescent and youth issues within the discussion on international migration. These issues are considered from an equity, human development and gender perspective.

Globally, there are some 48 million international migrants under 25 years of age, representing nearly 23 per cent of the total migrant population. The issues affecting youth and adolescents in this context are multidimensional, including gender, family, health, education, employment, labour mobility, environment, urbanization, participation and sustainable human development.

While migration can provide opportunities for adolescents and youth, it can also expose them to the risk of human trafficking and increase their vulnerability to exploitation, abuse, violence and a wide range of human rights violations. Girls and young women, migrants in an irregular situation, those travelling unaccompanied, and family members that remain in the country of origin can be particularly vulnerable. As highlighted in the joint statement of the GMG Principals in September 2010, the GMG will continue to work for the promotion and protection of the human rights of all migrants—including youth and adolescents—regardless of migration status.

The GMG focuses on the medium and long-term impacts of migration on youth and adolescents. Young people are more likely to take on the risks of international migration in pursuit of its expected gains, including education. Greater equality of opportunity in communities of origin, transit and destination can ensure the wellbeing of young migrants and maximise their contributions as workers, entrepreneurs, students and members of society. Exploring issues such as looking into how best to address inequality of opportunities for adolescents and youth in countries of origin may reduce migration by necessity.

Special attention is paid to identifying common policy and programmatic approaches for enhancing cooperation among governments, agencies and relevant stakeholders. This effort aims to increase policy coherence and develop the capacity of stakeholders in data collection, analysis, evidence-based policymaking, and dissemination of best practices at country, regional and global levels.


  • GMG Principals' Meeting. To be held by UNESCO as current GMG Chair, where the focus of the meeting will be on the theme of global environmental change and migration. The Principals of the different GMG member agencies are to be present (represented at Director-General or Assistant Director General level) and a Joint Statement is to be released.[4] 15 November 2011, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France.
  • GFMD Concluding Debate. The GMG will be participating in this event which focuses on the overarching theme of "Taking Action on Migration and Development – Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation".[5] It will build on the insights drawn from the previous GFMD thematic meetings. 1–2 December 2011, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • UN-ESCWA upcoming Interregional Workshop on strengthening capacities to deal with international migration: "Examining development, institutional and policy aspects of migration between Africa, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean". 22–23 September 2011, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • GFMD Thematic Meetings
  • GMG Symposium: "Migration and Youth: Harnessing Opportunities for Development".[6] Hosted by former Chair UNICEF. 17–18 May 2011, United Nations Plaza, New York, US.


  • Migration and the Economic Crisis
  • Migration Data
  • Migration and Development
  • Labour Migration
  • Migration and Human Rights
  • Migration and Children
  • Migration and Gender
  • Migration and Climate Change
  • Forced Migration
  • Trafficking and Smuggling
  • Migration and Health
  • Migration and Governance

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Newland, K. (2010) ‘The governance of international migration: mechanisms, processes and institutions’, Global Governance, 16 (3), pp.331-344.
  2. ^ a b GMG Website.
  3. ^ See Migration and Climate Change (UNESCO/Cambridge University Press 2011)
  4. ^ Principals' Meeting
  5. ^ GFMD Concluding Debate
  6. ^ GMG Symposium