Sr. Magdalena Saavedra from the Centre of Overseas Workers, Davao, Philippines and Theresa Symons from MDO Asia Pacific, represented Good Shepherd at the recent Civil Society Programme for Global
Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from
8-9 December. There were about 300 participants at the civil society forum.
This was followed by Common Space between civil society and governments on 9
December and the GFMD Summit for governments from 10-12 December.
Focus of the civil society forum
The theme for civil society programme was “Time for Action: Doing rights-based
governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders.”
Robust discussions were held at the plenary debates and parallel working sessions which focused on four action-oriented themes:
· Doing protection of (internal and external) migrant workers
· Doing protection of migrant on the move (regular and irregular)
· Doing inclusive development
· Doing global governance better
Outcome recommendations broadly centered on various ways of implementing people-centered, needs first, rights-based policies on migration and human development; with civil society working with governments and businesses.
The recommendations will influence the development of a governance framework
on migration called the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration, which is expected to be finalized by 2018 to be adopted by UN member states.
Our learning experiences
Magdalena and Theresa shared that it was a privilege for them to attend the civil society forum. It was an opportunity to network with participants coming from different organizations, engage in conversations on good practices, listen to different perspectives on migration and learn about issues affecting migrants in other countries.
These are some of their insights, reflections and recommendations in relation to the Good Shepherd Congregation:
· Good Shepherd worldwide has extensive grassroots activities in sending as well as receiving countries. We play critical roles in educating and empowering our program participants on the rights of migrants
· It is not enough to just be doing grassroots activities on migration. It is also important to have a working knowledge of policies, statements and guidelines on migration so that we can shape our programs to influence systemic changes locally, regionally and globally.
· The needs of migrants have evolved in complexity which cannot be
addressed by a sole organization. To increase our effectiveness in mission, we need to network and collaborate across borders as Good Shepherd agencies and with other NGOs, faith based groups, civil society organizations, governments and businesses.
· A large bulk of migrants (regular and irregular) are women and children, it is a must for the Congregation to strengthen its response to the plight of the migrants in the local, regional and global level. As an international Congregation, more concrete and collective action has to be done (pro-active response to our broad directions).
Links to the following important websites related to the GFMD:
1. Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) http://www.gfmd.org
2. GFMD Civil Society Days http://www.madenetwork.org/civil-society-days-gfmd-2016
3. The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/declaration
4. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org
(Original in English – prepared by Theresa Symons (Malaysia) and Sr. Magdalena Saavedra (Philippines)