Remarks on “Modalities for the Intergovernmental Negotiations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”

Stefanie Amadeo
U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
April 6, 2017



Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States would like to thank the facilitators, the President of the General Assembly, and the many delegations that worked so hard to negotiate this resolution. The United States is joining consensus on this resolution and looks forward to engaging actively during the preparatory process, the negotiation of the compact, and the intergovernmental conference in 2018.

We appreciate that the modalities resolution clarifies the role of the International Organization for Migration in providing support and expertise throughout the development of a compact and during preparations for an intergovernmental conference. With its extensive migration expertise and presence in nearly 150 countries worldwide, IOM’s contributions will be critical during all phases of the compact’s development and implementation. We also welcome the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration and are pleased that Ms. Arbour will play a leadership role in the compact process.

Mr. President, throughout the negotiation of this resolution, the United States underscored the importance of transparency, particularly the participation of civil society during the preparatory process and the conference. NGOs, academic institutions, private sector actors, and other stakeholders play an essential role on issues related to migration. For this reason, the preparatory process and conference should be open to all concerned parties, including those that do not have ECOSOC consultative status. Their expertise and participation are essential to the success of the preparatory process, the conference, and the implementation of a global migration compact.

In this context, we would like to reinforce our belief in the importance of inclusiveness, fairness, and transparency in compiling the lists of NGOs for participation in the compact preparatory process and conference as well as in other UN summits and high-level meetings. Any concerns a UN Member State may have about an NGO’s participation in meetings related to the compact need to be addressed transparently, not behind closed doors. NGOs must not be denied access to UN meetings and forums arbitrarily or for political reasons.

According to operative paragraphs 6(b) and 6(c) and the corresponding footnote in the resolution, the PGA will bring a proposed list and a final list of civil society participants to the attention of the General Assembly for both the preparatory process and the conference. It is only by comparing the proposed and final lists that we will see whether an organization has been blocked. This process is inadequate because it will not make clear which Member State objected to the participation of an NGO or why the Member State objected. It is our firm belief that the source and basis of any objections should be shared with the General Assembly.

The United States attaches the greatest importance to the contributions of civil society to the work of the United Nations. The compact preparatory process and conference will have greater value if all legitimate and concerned civil society voices are heard without exception. Each special session, high-level meeting, or conference is different, so the language in this resolution concerning civil society participation should not be seen as a precedent for other resolutions. In the future, this body should strive for more transparent modalities language that will foster robust civil society participation in the work of the United Nations.

Finally, the United States would like to emphasize the importance of transparency regarding cost estimates during the negotiation of General Assembly resolutions. The UN Secretariat should respect the intent of Rule 153 of the General Assembly Rules of Procedure and provide Member States with a cost estimate before Member States conclude the informal negotiation of a resolution. The formal adoption of a resolution is often a number of days or weeks after Member States conclude their informal negotiations. In order for Member States to be responsible contributors to the United Nations, the Secretariat must proactively share cost estimates at least 48 hours prior to the conclusion of informal negotiations. Member States must have sufficient time to review cost estimates and consider whether they match the activities envisioned in a draft resolution. As noted throughout the negotiation process, the United States is interested in ensuring that this process is conducted efficiently. We are pleased that this resolution has established a voluntary trust fund, which can and should be used to support the preparatory process and conference in 2018. We urge Member States to contribute to the fund accordingly.

The United States looks forward to working with UN Member States, your office, the UN Secretariat, SRSG Arbour, IOM, and all other stakeholders to exchange views on experiences and best practices and develop a non-binding global migration compact that will result in practical outcomes.

Thank you, Mr. President.