Dialogue with Governments
One of civil society’s key objectives in the GFMD is to forge meaningful and constructive engagement with governments. The need to strengthen interaction between civil society and government representatives in the context of the GFMD has repeatedly been stressed by civil society participants during each of the five previous Civil Society Days (2007 – 2011). It is noteworthy that a substantial number of governments share and have expressed the same perspective, including GFMD Chairs over the years.
The GFMD format under the Mauritius Chairmanship encourages strengthened interaction between governments and civil society in achieving outcomes; proposing as one avenue for civil society to draft proposals for the GFMD Platform for Partnerships (a tool to facilitate exchange and showcase projects, programs and policies that are undertaken by governments in the field of migration and development) to foster cooperation and support. The concept paper also recognizes the importance of expanding the “Common Space” further, as a platform for dialogue between the different actors (see below).
In addition civil society intends to actively explore together with the Mauritian Chair and other governments how civil society can more productively and constructively be engaged in government deliberations, beginning with the two “ad hoc working groups” but also within the Common Space and the government roundtables at the GFMD.
At the GFMD in 2010, the Mexican Chair pioneered a “Common Space”; converting almost all of the opening plenary of the yearend GFMD meeting of governments into a more open and interactive session that engaged a cross-section of panelists and delegates from governments, civil society and international organizations. A full three hours were devoted to shared consideration of the themes deepening awareness of the links between migration and development and improving public perceptions of migration.
At the GFMD in 2011, the theme for Common Space was “Looking at the Big Picture: Demographics, Youth (Un-) Employment, Development and Migration”. It emphasized positive alternatives to irregular migration and remedies for migrants in irregular status, especially youth. All civil society delegates to the 2011 GFMD were invited to participate in a plenary session with all government delegates and observers that was centered around one presentation, two panels, and a period for questions, answers and exchange of perspectives from the floor.
The Common Space was widely perceived by governments and civil society as a positive contribution towards joint engagement, conversation and cooperation among these actors. Among responses submitted in the Evaluation Survey conducted among civil society participants after the GFMD however, recommendations were made to explore alternative models for the Common Space that would permit more genuine dialogue between civil society and governments including joint workshop or roundtable sessions. It was also suggested that some civil society representatives should be included in the government roundtable sessions in order to report on the perspectives of the corresponding civil society session.
While it is expected that the opening session of the Government Days on 21 November 2012 will be organized along similar lines, the Mauritian Chair emphasized in the 2012 Concept Paper the hope that civil society and governments would continue to increase their collaboration throughout the year outside of the Common Space.
Find here the concept paper for the Common Space 2012: (EN) (FR) (ES)