Adopted in 2018, UN Global Compact on Migration is now up for review

The UN Migration Network is organizing a dialogue series from January through April this year to help shape the agenda and contents of the four roundtables of the IMRF 2022 of the UN Global Compact on Migration.

The UN Global Compact on Migration (GCM) that was adopted by UN member states in 2018 is now up for review. The global review comes every 4 years after the adoption of the Global Compact, in a process known as the International Migration Review Forum (IMRF).

The first IMRF will be held at the UN General Assembly in New York from 17-20 May 2022, preceded by a one-day informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearing on 16 May. The format of the meeting, whether in-person or hybrid, will be finalized in due course. PSI will be bringing a delegation of union activists to the IMRF.

In the lead up to the IMRF 2022, the UN Migration Network, is organizing a dialogue series from January through April this year to help shape the agenda and contents of the four roundtables of the IMRF 2022. These roundtables cover all the 23 Objectives of the Global Compact. The outcome of the IMRF will be a Progress Declaration to be adopted by member states.

Below is PSI’s intervention delivered by Genevieve Gencianos, PSI Migration Programme Officer at the first Migration Dialogue Series held on 19th January. It brings PSI key messages addressing adverse migration drivers (Objective 2) and fair and ethical recruitment and decent work (Objective 6) of the Global Compact.


Guide Question:

Objective 2: What are the most effective measures that states and stakeholders can take to minimise the drivers and structural factors compelling people to leave their countries of origin, and to make the option to remain in one’s country viable to all? What is the most effective and appropriate use of development assistance in achieving this objective?

While the impact of the covid pandemic continues to unfold, forced displacement has also continued to rise, reaching yet another peak at 82.4 million people displaced globally as of end-2020 (UNHCR 2021). In these two years that the world has been grappling with the covid pandemic, climate disasters have continued taking their toll in human lives. In 2020 alone, 30.7 million people were displaced by disasters, of which more than 98% were weather-related, such as floods, storms and wildfires. Some regions continued having record-breaking temperatures leading to water scarcity, drought, and loss of farmlands. Environmental degradation from climate change is fuelling more conflicts and violence, causing people to flee for their safety. The climate crisis, combined and interlinked with conflicts and the covid pandemic, is a major driver of forced migration today. 

Dubbed as the Triple C’s, covid, conflicts and climate disasters have brought more hardships for already vulnerable populations such as migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), as they continue to struggle with access to jobs, social protection, public services, and vaccination.

Understanding climate migration and its complex interlinkages with social, political and economic factors, including in the context of the covid pandemic and other health crises, is crucial in building an approach that is people-centered, gender-responsive and rooted on sustainable development. As a response to these challenges, we build on our key demands: climate justice, human rights, and quality public services,

We remain tireless in our fight for climate justice.

  • We continue to demand equity and justice in addressing the climate crisis.

  • We must hold rich countries who have contributed the most greenhouse gas emissions accountable for causing the problem of climate change for which the poor in developing countries are paying heavily, sometimes with their lives.

  • We are fighting to ensure a just and equitable transition for workers affected by loss and damage from climate change, the move to low-carbon energy production and other climate change response measures. 

We advocate for the protection of human rights above all else.

  • We need to recognize the complexity of climate-induced migration as it relates to social, political and economic factors, in order to ensure a gender-responsive, child-sensitive and people-centered approach.

  • We uphold the fundamental respect for human rights and humanitarian law; whether the person referred to is a migrant, a refugee or an internally displaced person (IDP) and whose movement or displacement was impacted by or a result of climate change, she or he is entitled to the full protection of her/his human and labour rights.

  • We must continue to push for the ratification and effective implementation of the UN and ILO instruments on migrant workers, i.e. UN Migrant Workers Convention, UN Core Conventions, ILO Conventions 97 and 143 (Migrant Workers) and all other international labour standards.

  • We call on all states to uphold the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, including a fair- sharing of responsibility in receiving and hosting refugees.

  • We remind states hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs) to adhere to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

  • We support the creation of more legal pathways to migration anchored on the rights-based normative framework, while preserving the integrity of the asylum system. 

We defend quality and inclusive public services.

While we acknowledge the positive aspects of labour migration, we should not overlook either that migration is not the core strategy for adaptation to climate change, but in investing in conditions that will allow people to stay and to avoid and mitigate forced displacement. For the question lies: When sustainable options are available, who would want to migrate or be uprooted from their homes, their communities, their culture and their livelihood?

Therefore, investing in quality and inclusive public services must be a core strategy. Towards this,  

  • We defend equal and universal access to quality public services. The provision of public goods and services essential to our lives must not be left to the whims of the market. We must continue to fight privatization and put people over profit.

  • We call for investment in public services, such as health care, social care, disaster management and response, clean water, sanitation, public infrastructure and all range of public services as the best strategy for societies, displaced communities and host communities to adapt to the 3C’s (conflicts, covid and climate), build resilience, and pursue equitable and sustainable development.

  • For developing countries most impacted by the climate crisis, we should push towards integrating loss and damage support and adaptation assistance into their public services, with the overall goal of preventing displacement and humanitarian crises and eradicating poverty, rather than reacting to them.

  • We need to ensure safety, decent work, fair remuneration and social protection for our public service workers who are at the frontlines of dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis, conflicts and covid.

  • Protect and defend the human and trade union rights of all workers, including migrant and refugee workers.

We invite you to watch the video, Public Services and the Triple Cs


As the world continues to battle the covid pandemic, the climate crisis also continues to deepen, with its most profound impacts witnessed in disasters caused by extreme weather occurrences such as, forest fires, floods and typhoons or by slow-onset events such as, droughts and desertification.

Public Services and the Triple Cs: Covid, Conflicts and the Climate Crisis

Guide Question:

Objective 6: What opportunities are there for strengthened cooperation between governments and other stakeholders to improve implementation of fair and ethical recruitment, at national, bilateral, (inter) regional or global level to ensure safe, orderly and regular labour migration based on fair and ethical recruitment and decent work?

The pandemic has highlighted the invisible yet essential role of migrant health and care workers, a majority of whom are women, who are providing frontline services while working in precarious conditions and with little access to social protection. They are invisible in terms of rights, yet essential to fill the existing shortages in the health workforce. So essential that many rich countries are resorting to international recruitment to fill their staffing needs. As PSI, we are strongly advocate for the rights-based governance of health worker migration and mobility, as we anticipate a continuing increase in international recruitment, driven by the global health workforce shortage, demographic ageing, pandemics and disasters, and the foreseen growth in health sector employment.

PSI Study on the Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Health and Care Workers

In continuing to build our evidence-base and strategy, last year, PSI and the Open University-UK carried out a study on the Impact of COVID-19 on Migrant Health and Care Workers. The study surveyed 40 PSI-affiliated trade unions that organize and represent health care workers in 32 countries worldwide. The results of our study are presented in the three infographic factsheets below.

Fact Sheet 1 presents the situation. Fact Sheet 2 shows what our unions are doing in defending the rights of migrant health and care workers. Fact Sheet 3 is our trade union agenda.