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Over the past three years since the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration (HLD) and Development in 2006, the CSO engagement outside the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has grown more vibrant. Each year, hundreds of civil society representatives and members of the general public have participated in parallel events while the official civil society days were held.   In 2008, the Peoples’ Global Action (PGA) on Migration, Development and Human Rights, a parallel event held to the 2008 GFMD, was attended by almost 4,000 delegates for the entire week.

The relationship between the GFMD and the CSO-led processes was not completely separate, nor should it be so. In the 2008 GFMD, for instance, many of the representatives organizing and participating in the PGA were also official delegates to the GFMD.

This year, as governments meet in Athens for the 3rd GFMD, CSOs that have been monitoring the process will again be organizing the Peoples’ Global Action together with the local groups in Athens.  The Peoples’ Global Action (PGA) is an independent civil society event parallel to the 3rd Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held from 1-5 November 2009. The PGA will bring together groups from round the world to share information dialogue, strengthen their analysis and develop joint positions on current and emerging issues on migration. The PGA also provides essential space for lobbying and pressuring governments and international bodies to look at migration from a human rights perspective and to make governments accountable to their international human rights and development commitments. Furthermore, PGA paves the way for capacity building and establishment and widening networks.

Discussions are centered on human rights as the basis for development and explores from a rights-based perspective, the full range of issues involved in migration, including the underlying problems of poverty and injustice, and how CSOs can decisively address these.

Since the 2007 GFMD, there has been not much improvement in terms of the mechanism, structure and discussion around migration and development. Still, migration is being understood through the lens of economic gains, a position that is contrary to the perspectives of migrants and CSOs.

Among CSOs, there was an overwhelming agreement that the GFMD’s “migration and development” theme was meant by governments to be synonymous with “migration for development” and “managed migration”.  CSOs felt that the GFMD mandate “migration and development” does not go far enough to affirming the human dignity of migrants and to firmly placing their rights at the center of development. Moreover, the migration-development model calls for an intensification of the segmentation of labour, particularly female labour, which continues to reinforce inequality. This year’s theme is again centered on development aspects rather than human rights. Likewise, the GFMD remains a closed event with restricted participation by migrants and civil society. It is critical that an alternative events, like the PGA, is organized to enable migrants, social movements, and civil society worldwide to directly respond to current migration and development concerns

Parallel events like the PGA provide essential space for debate, critique and positioning on current and emerging issues on migration.  In effect, the “parallel” events are much more than being replicas of the GFMD as the level of analysis never fails to go beyond that of the official Forum.   Parallel events allow migrants, CSO representatives and other stakeholders to express their concerns to their respective governments.

The PGA will be held from 1-5 November in Athens, Greece. Activities would include workshops, public actions and demonstrations and side meetings. Prior to the PGA, a series of activities will also be held to popularize the event.

To know more about the PGA, please contact us

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