In December, world leaders of 165 countries adopted an ostensibly non-binding agreement that propagates a radical idea: that migration -- for any reason -- is something that needs to be promoted, enabled and protected.
The agreement is named the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), and now comes its implementation.
The UN has not wasted any time in setting this "non-binding" Compact in motion. Already at the Marrakesh Conference in December, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres launched the Migration Network (Network), a new addition to the UN bureaucracy, and seemingly intended to "ensure effective and coherent system‑wide support to the implementation of the Global Compact". The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will serve as the coordinator and secretariat of all constituent parts of the Network in implementing the Global Compact.
The UN, in other words, has set its enormous bureaucratic infrastructure into full motion to see to it that the Compact will have maximum impact across the globe.
IOM director-general Antonio Vitorino has already sent a warning to critics of the UN migration agenda. "If we want to succeed in having a more humane and better world, we should resist the temptation of negative narratives that some want to spread about migration," Vitorino said recently.
UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, in a January press conference, took it even further, not limiting himself to speech about the Global Compact:
"We need to enlist every segment of society in the battle for values that our world faces today – and, in particular, to tackle the rise of hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance... Poisonous views are penetrating political debates and polluting the mainstream. Let's never forget the lessons of the 1930s. Hate speech and hate crimes are direct threats to human rights, to sustainable development and to peace and security. That is why I have tasked my Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to bring together a UN team to scale up our response, define a system-wide strategy and present a global plan of action against hate speech and hate crimes on a fast-track basis".
This initiative should be deeply concerning and is likely to serve only to silence critics of the UN, including its agenda on migration and the Global Compact.
As part of the implementation work, on March 21-22, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a UN-affiliated forum, organized the first GFMD Thematic Workshop on the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) at the national level. Under the theme "Towards a Common Vision and Joint Action in Implementing the GCM at the National Level," the workshop gathered around 190 participants from 89 UN Member States and more than 40 civil society, private sector and international organizations. The agenda for the workshop states:
"Now that the GCM has been adopted, the task ahead is to ensure that its principles take root and the menu of its actionable commitments is implemented.
The EU, for its part, according to statements by Hungary and Austria, does not appear to agree that implementing the Global Compact should be up to every EU member state. Instead, the EU is working on making it legally binding, even for those EU countries who have not adopted the Compact.