What is the GFMD?  The Global Forum on Migration and Development, or GFMD, is an intergovernmental forum (a meeting of governments) that takes place every year to discuss migration and development issues. It is an informal, voluntary, state-led and non-binding forum that seeks to address the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to migration and development and to foster action-oriented outcomes. The GFMD came out of the recommendations of the United Nations High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development held on September 14-15 2006. The first GFMD took place in Brussels, Belgium on 10-11 July 2007. The second GFMD was hosted by the Philippine government and was held in Manila from 27-30 October 2008.

For more information and documents, see the websites for GFMD 2007 and GFMD 2008, both of which can be accessed from the portal:

When and where is the next GFMD?  The next GFMD will take place in Athens, Greece on 2-5 November 2009. The Civil Society Days (CSD) will be held on 2-3 November immediately before the intergovernmental days on 4-5 November.

What is Civil Society Days (CSD)?  Civil Society Days (CSD) is the non-governments’ parties component of the GFMD. The purpose of the CSD is to bring NGOs and other civil society organizations together to exchange ideas and experiences in the field of migration and development with an aim to contribute to the Forum a civil society perspective on migration issues. The CSD recommendations and proposals are presented to the government representatives during the 2-day intergovernmental meetings.

What will be discussed at the GFMD?  This year’s discussion is centered on “Integrating Migration Policies into Development Strategies for the Benefit of All”. The Roundtable Themes (RTDs) selected are:
RTD 1- How to make the migration-development nexus work for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
RTD 2- Migrant integration, reintegration and circulation for development
RTD 3- Policy and Institutional Coherence and Partnerships

Why is the GFMD important?  The GFMD has become one of the principal international spaces in which government discuss migration and development policy. International discourse and thought on migration policy and its relationship to development – and migrants’ rights - is being developed there. Further, bilateral agreements on migration are frequently being negotiated during the GFMD. Prior to GFMD, there was no single forum that brings governments together to discuss migration and development.

Why are migrants’ rights organizations concerned about the GFMD?  GFMD is a concern for migrants’ organizations and civil society organizations because there is no assurance that Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) participation will be a permanent and integral feature of the forum. In fact, several governments strongly oppose the idea of civil society involvement at the GFMD. As a result, there is neither a model established for CSO participation nor a permanent structure for the CSO Fora. Given this uncertainty, it is feared that the forum will continue to evolve without substantive consideration for migrants’ rights and of the fundamental issues that underlie the so-called pursuit of development, and that migrants who are the real actors in this debate will remain unheard.

As in the past, the GFMD is taking the course of examining migration policy only through the lens of economic development, without concern for the impact policies have on migrants. It has so far been very resistant to the integration of international human rights framework and principles to protect migrants. It has also been very restrictive to the participation of civil society.

Who are the organizers of the 3rd GFMD?  The organizers are the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Interior for the government process and the Alexander Onassis Foundation for the Civil Society Days (CSD).

What is the role of Onassis Foundation?  As the organizer of the CSO forum, the Onassis Foundation is tasked to facilitate the selection of the 200 CSO participants from around the globe and 30 local organizations. An International Advisory Committee (IAC) has been created to help shape the agenda of the Civil Society Days and to look into the criteria and selection of participants for the global CSO. An experts committee is also set up to prepare the background paper for the GFMD CSO formal process.

How many CSOs will participate in the formal CSD?  Two hundred (200) CSOs from around the globe and 30 CSOs in Athens will participate in the CSO Day which is scheduled from 2-3 November.

What are the windows for engagement?  You may participate through the following channels:

A. Official Forum
A website was created for the GFMD 2009. For Civil Society Organizations, online application is available at Prior to the CSD, interested individuals and organizations may contribute to the online dialogue. Input from the dialogue will be used as background material for consideration during the CSD Conference.

B. Parallel Event
Given the restrictive nature of the GFMD to the participation of civil society, CSOs that have been part of the past GFMDs will be organizing a parallel event dubbed as the Peoples’ Global Action that would provide essential space for groups from around the world to share information, dialogue, strengthen their analysis and develop joint positions on current and emerging issues on migration. Activities in the parallel event also pave the way for capacity building and establishment of networks. Activities would include workshops, public actions and demonstrations.

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.



Copyright 2008-2009, Peoples' Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights