E-Workshop on GCM National Action Plan Held
Photo: Migration News

An e-workshop titled ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) National Action Plan and Well-being of Returnees and Migrants Abroad during Pandemic’ was held in Dhaka on this Saturday, 13th June 2020.

Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration and the CGCM hosted the workshop joined by senior government officials, civil society leaders and migrants’ right activists.

The workshop stressed the implementation and review of GCM (Global Compact on Migration) which was overseen by an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism, but it has been crucial to gather inputs from civil society and relevant actors for drafting the GCM Action Plan.

The speakers stressed the need to take into account the “new normal” and take concerted efforts to implement all of the objectives and goals of the GCM to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration.

Syeed Ahamed from IID, the secretariat of Civil Society for Global Commitments on Migration (CGCM), moderated the e-workshop.

Gerry Fox from PROKAS noted that ‘we are now suffering from a health, socio-economic and protection crisis altogether.’

He also mentioned that GCM National Action Plan would be a critical vehicle for responding to both short- and long-term challenges coming with the COVID-19 pandemic. Government, national and international NGOs and civil society must work together and utilize their partnership to address many of these challenges.

In the welcoming remarks, Shahreen Munir, Secretariat of Bangladesh UN Network on Migration, stated that the workshop is indeed an timely effort and focuses on the perspective of how COVID-19 affects implementation of GCM, as COVID-19 is not only a health crisis, but also a socioeconomic one. She also mentioned that frameworks such as GCM are important to guide conversations.

Sumaiya Islam from Civil Society for Global Commitments on Migration said that at this crisismoment we need accurate data that cannot be collected by anyone alone said in her welcoming remarks. She urged to everyone to work together.

Syeed Ahamed presented a IID’s recent study on ‘What do migrants talk about during pandemic’. The study revealed that mostly migrants are talking in 4 issues: support services, returning home, lockdown concern and lack of information. The study data was collected from thousands of social media public posts by migrants. He also suggested that to address migrants’ issues implementation of relevant GCM objectives and actions needs to be prioritized in this pandemic era.

Md Shahidul Haque, Former Foreign Secretary and Advisor, urged all to think about a more human and rights-based migration. He emphasized that most countries have not taken adequate measures to ensure that people on the move are safe. But, fortunately we have a cooperative framework agreed upon by GCC countries, HRC 17 points guideline and WEF (World Economic Forum) Davos. If we can take out these objectives into clusters for discussions that may provide an opportunity to reimagine human mobility.

Nazrul Islam, DG of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, predicted that although devising the National Plan with GCM prioritisation is a much needed first step, but eventually, our national plan will not work as expected without the implementation of GCM and mechanism at both regional and international level. We must remind the CoD that they are being benefited by our workers and will continue to be and they must be treated fairly, especially in such pressing times.

Ahmed Monirus Saleheen suggested that to transform the commitments of the GCM into action during this crisis, local effort must be supplemented by the development partners. He predicted that situation as critical as this one cannot be handled by the government alone without the support of relevant stakeholders. CSOs, national and international NGOs in the field must bring everything they can offer to the table to combat the pandemic in safeguarding our migrants.

Giorgi Gigauri of IOM mentioned that although our long-term objectives remain the same for the migration sector, one of our biggest challenges now is to balance humanitarian imperatives with economical one. We must keep in mind that the national interests should be served first.

Syed Saiful Haque, Chairperson of WARBE; Shakirul Islam, Chairperson of OvibashiKarmiUnnayan Program (OKUP); Shariful Hasan, Head of BRAC Migration; Hasan Imam Shaon, Head of Devcom and Asif Munir were the other panel members. More than 60 stakeholders of the migration sector includingAnisur Rahman Khan and Nazmul Haque participated in this e-workshop.


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