ABU DHABI, Major new inter-governmental partnerships were announced yesterday as the 13th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development finished, after a year under the Chairmanship of the United Arab Emirates.

Following a seven-day programme of discussions that began on January 18th, the ground-breaking online meeting came to a conclusion with an address by Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation and 2020 Chair.

Among the highlights of the Summit has been the announcement of a new partnership between the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the African Union to work together on implementing an orientation programme for Gulf-bound migrant workers from Africa. The programme is aimed at providing accurate information on key issues ranging from the rules around recruitment to employment contract regulations and remittances.

This was accompanied by the announcement of other major development partnerships, including one between Belgium’s development agency ENABEL and Consortium Sénégal Jeunesse, to enable young Senegalese entrepreneurs to get the visas they need to help build their businesses.

Other schemes presented included plans to encourage diaspora populations to contribute to skilling programmes in their countries of origin, developed by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the African Foundation for Development, and new capacity building partnerships presented by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development.

The 13th GFMD Summit has been notable in a number of ways. It is the first GFMD Summit to have been held over seven days, rather than four or five. It is the first to be held online, the first to include regional thematic inputs from consultations held early in 2020, and the first to be entirely open to all stakeholders. It is also the first to attract over 2000 participants.

Over the course of the Summit, the UAE hosted a total of thirty-four events, including six thematic Roundtable discussions, thirteen side events, nine networking sessions, a Youth Leadership and Innovation Contest, and a competition for new start-up businesses run by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and Switzerland-based incubator Seedstars.

The IOE Seedstars Migration Challenge competition was won by DignifAI, which offers outsourcing data-annotation services developing Artificial Intelligence software to assist in the recruitment and training of migrant populations in the Colombian-Venezuelan and Brazilian-Venezuelan borders. The youth contest, overseen by the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, was won by Alejandro Daly, who has developed a new app to tackle xenophobia.

Addressing the closing session of the Summit, Nasser Al Hamli said, “As Chair of the GFMD over the last year, we have put innovative partnerships at the centre of our programme. The UAE’s Summit has brought that to life. Partnerships are the building blocks for international cooperation, driving forward improvements in the way that the world is governed.

“The GFMD will continue to play a major role in improving how migration is governed. It does this by providing a space for difficult discussions, by focusing on concrete outcomes, and by reinforcing the link between migration and development. The GFMD is the place where we can, as a global community, come together to affirm our commitment to a better world. Long may it flourish.”

Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary for International Relations and Communications at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, commented on the closing of the Summit, saying, “The positive feedback that we have received from governments and other participants has been exceptional. Over the last seven days, the UAE has delivered a truly global meeting, despite the challenges that we have faced as a result of COVID-19.

“Over the course of thirty-four individual events, we have addressed topics of major significance for the world’s 270 million migrants. These include the impact of the pandemic and our plans for recovery, the effects of technology on labour markets, and how we can address irregular migration. We have launched new partnerships, welcomed the participation of young people, and highlighted the role of business in bringing new ideas to life.

“At a time when global travel is limited, this has been a celebration of human movement.”

The Closing Ceremony, held yesterday, saw statements from the United States and France. France signalled its intention to take over the chairmanship of the GFMD in 2022, with the UAE committing to continue to support the GFMD as a member of the Troika going forward.

Speakers at the Summit included the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ecuador, the Director General of the IOM, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States, the Secretary General of the Organisation of International Employers, the Lord Mayor of Sala in Sweden and the Deputy Director of the African Foundation for Development.

The GFMD was founded in 2008 as an informal platform for Member States, business, civil society, local government and international organisation to meet and discuss issues related to migration and development.

 

Source: Emirates News Agency