Wrapping up - but not packing away
I mentioned the fact that participants at the Civil Society Days would like discussions around M&D to go beyond the 'usual suspects' - remittances, circular migration, the brain drain -
which are mentioned in the policy documents and in fora such as the GFMD. A lot of the frustration here in Athens, which Andrew also mentioned in his blog post yesterday is also about the GFMD itself, as delegates - many of whom have been to previous editions of the Forum in Brussels and Manila - feel that they are getting together, year in and year out, to discuss the same issues and come up with similar recommendations to the previous years'. Many of the people I spoke to - including Najla Tabet Chahda from Caritas Lebanon and Mary Joy Garcia-Dia from the Philippine Nurses Association of America, both of whom were interviewed for M4D TV - said that they believe that the GFMD should be an ongoing process, with discussions carrying on throughout the year and lessons learned from previous editions integrated into the planning for the next ones. Civil society participants have also put forward the idea that governments' commitments and declarations should be monitored and evaluated over time.
Turning the GFMD into an ongoing process may be a challenge, especially because most of the organisations working on M&D lack the capacity and clout of the big NGOs and influential NGO networks focusing on development alone, and because the issue brings together organisations with very diverse structures, mandates and approaches (advocacy-oriented rights groups and micro-credit NGOs, for instance, or helplines for migrant domestic workers and UN agencies), but it is a view shared by a number of governments involved in the GFMD. To capitalise on the momentum which has gained traction since the 2006 UN High-Level Dialogue on M&D, there should be an assessment of the Fora which have been held so far - a view which UN SRSG Peter Sutherland subscribed to in his video interview to M4D TV. However, as the Special Representative of the Secretary General also stressed, an open-ended, informal inter-governmental framework is the only setting which all governments will accept to discuss migration and development - or, simply, migration.
As the CSDs drew to a close, I felt that what most participants found to be most useful seemed to be the networking - Mary Joy Garcia-Dia, for instance, told M4D TV that she had met a number of fellow Filipinos from around the world who were also working on abusive recruitment practices.
We all need to build on what has been achieved so far and renew our efforts to ensure that migration creates the 'triple wins' mentioned by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2006 and cited by Mariana Moschou from the Onassis Foundation (the organisers of the 2009 Civil Society Days) in her video interview with M4D TV on Monday. This is the last post from our Athens blog, but we hope you will be back to log in to M4D, engage in discussions in the fora, post information on your projects, browse our database and link up with people working on issues you find interestiing across the world.
See you soon online!