Civil Society organizations and their partners marked their their eagerness to take part in international negotiations on the issue of migration and development on the second day of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Discussions held on 8 and 9 November culminated in a declaration on the need for better inclusion of Civil Society organizations in the international debate on migration.
The IFAD delegation joining the Forum, composed of representatives from the Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) and the Office of the Chief Development Strategist (CDS) attended as observer the various roundtables and regional consultations held in the course of the two Civil Society days, preceding the Government Days to take place on 9 and 10 November. Of special interest were the outcomes of regional consultations held today. Panelists from the Africa and Europe roundtable stated the need for enhanced action from Governments in harmonizing public policies on migration, in order to ensure better compliance with migrant workers' fundamental rights of mobility, health and welfare. Civil Society organizations in the Asia-Pacific and Gulf States roundtables highlighted the necessity for a more proactive engagement of Governments in balancing the role of migrant sponsor agencies (often known as kafila in Gulf countries) and employers, to avoid any possible abuse or violation of migrants rights. The application of more rigorous monitoring directives on migrant employment procedures was regarded by panelists from the Latin America and the Caribbean roundtable as an imperative step towards better and sustainable integration of migrant workers in destination countries.
The final set of recommendations resulting from these two days' discussions among Civil Society representatives is of course still in progress. But the shared conclusion by all regional consultations was the need of a more proactive engagement of migrant diaspora organizations in Government discussions on migration.
A nice and entertaining parenthesis was offered by the ceremony for the award of the Hestia prize by the Onassis Foundation. Each year, the Foundation acknowledges the operate of an NGO based in the Forum's host country with a special prize. The 2010 award went to the Mexican Association of Social Sector Credit Unions (AMUCSS), which works with rural, indigenous and transnational communities to promote better financial inclusion and local development. AMUCSS was also one of the key roundtable speakers in stressing the importance of access to remittances and financial services by smallholder farmers. IFAD has a long history of collaboration with AMUCSS and the award of the Hestia prize represented a moment of shared emotion for staff of both institutions.
Later during the day, the IFAD stand received once more the attention of the delegates visiting the Forum. Embassies of different countries came to look for successful models for migrant investment initiatives based on remittances. A special interest was also devoted by all visitors to the FFR ongoing and future programme on mobile remittance services. The FFR-developed information hub RemittancesGatweway.org also received the plause of visitors.
The main outcomes of all discussions held in these two days are meant to feed the discussions of Governments Delegates in the coming sessions of the Forum. The IFAD delegation will be present at Government roundtables on 10 and 11 November and will report on relevant developments on this blog.