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International migration dialogue
Intensified international dialogue on migration has brought about a change of paradigm in migration policy. Migration is no longer primarily seen from a national perspective, rather it is now understood as a global phenomenon that offers both challenges and opportunities, and one that can only be approached through the creation of partnerships. For this reason, the multilateral discussions, at which representatives of a very wide range of states and organisations are taking part, support the approach of building bridges between the countries of origin, transit and destination as well as the resulting co-operation. It is also in Switzerland’s interests that this dialogue be pursued at all levels and that it participate actively in it.
UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development: The first time the subject of migration was discussed at ministerial level in a multilateral context was at the 61st United Nations General Assembly in September 2006. It was a milestone in the acknowledgement of migration as a global subject. The UN member states discussed important issues including the relationship between migration and development, labour migration, the rights of migrants, combating human trafficking and human smuggling. Switzerland has since been active in establishing migration as an issue on the UN’s agenda. Switzerland has also contributed to the venue of an informal meeting in the framework of the 2011 General Assembly and of a second high-level dialogue on “Migration and Development” at ministerial level in 2013.
The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD): The GFMD was created by a group of states with the aim of launching an informal global meeting place to promote discussion and concrete cooperation between states and other actors in the field of migration and development. Switzerland takes an active part in determining the direction of the GFMD as a member of the steering committee. In addition, Switzerland has been confided with the Chaimanship of the GFMD for the year 2011. This will make it possible for Switzerland to even further intensify its commitment within the GFMD.
International organizations: A large number of international organizations are working on the question of migration. Since 2007, they have combined their efforts in the framework of the Global Migration Group. The most important partners for our work are:
- the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)
Regional organizations: A number of organizations at the regional level are involved in migration issues, including:
- the Council of Europe
- the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
In the last few years, Switzerland has taken on important roles in several different areas of the international dialogue on migration. Its efforts have made an important contribution to placing this issue on the international agenda and in fostering the above-mentioned paradigm change. .The notion that migration can also be seen as an opportunity must be further strengthened and promoted through concrete projects and partnerships.