Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration adopted

Why in News?

  • Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted by 164 nations including India at Intergovernmental Conference held under the auspices of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) at Marrakesh, Morocco.
  • It is the first intergovernmental agreement to cover wide-ranging dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner and agreed upon by all the UN member states minus United States.

Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration:

  • It seeks to better manage migration at local, national, regional and global levels, in order to reduce the risks and vulnerabilities of migrants.
  • It creates a non-legally binding and co-operative framework that builds on commitments agreed upon by member states in New York Declaration for refugees and migrants of December 2016.
  • It lists four objectives:
    o Ease pressures on host countries.
    o Enhance refugee self-reliance.
    o Expand access to third country solutions.
    o Support conditions in countries of origin for return with safety and dignity.
  • It sets out a framework on how international cooperation on migration issues should work but does not oblige states to take concrete action.
  • It sets out 23 objectives to deal with issues ranging from factors that compel people to move, legal channels for migration, combating trafficking and smuggling, harness economic benefits of migration and return of the migrants.
  • Its intent to protect human rights of migrants, address root causes of migration, and combat negative myths surrounding migration.
  • It acknowledges that migration is an international issue that affects all member states and there is a need for more effective migration governance.

Increase in International migrants:

  • According to UN, there were 258 million international migrants in the world in 2017, increasing almost 50% since 2000.
  • The number of migrants, representing 3.4% of world’s population, is increasing faster than global population, driven by economic prosperity, inequality, violence, conflict and climate change.
  • Migrants worldwide account for 3% of the world’s entire population, but contribute 10% of the global gross domestic production (GDP).
  • Migrant’s remittance is a huge contributor to their home countries’ development.
  • Around 80% of world’s migrants move between countries in a safe and orderly fashion.
  • But more than 60,000 people have died on the move since the year 2000.
  • Besides in transit countries or the country of destination, racism, discrimination and human-rights violations are continuously reported.
  • The process of developing the compact was started in early 2017 as implementation of decision by UN member states as adopted New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016.
  • UN member states’ another decision pledged in the declaration is to develop a Global Compact on Refugees.

Difference between migrant and refugee:

  • Refugees are persons who are outside their country of origin for reasons of feared persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order as a result, require international protection.
  • The refugee definition can be found in the 1951 Convention and regional refugee instruments, as well as UNHCR’s Statute.


  • While there is no formal legal definition of an international migrant, most experts agree that an international migrant is someone who changes his or her country of usual residence, irrespective of the reason for migration or legal status.
  • Generally, a distinction is made between short-term or temporary migration, covering movements with a duration between three and 12 months, and long-term or permanent migration, refering to a change of country of residence for a duration of one year or more.
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