UN Secretary General in Marrakesh for UN Migration Conference

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, arrived in Marrakesh Sunday to take part in the Intergovernmental Conference that will adopt formally the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The UN Chief, flanked by President of the General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration Louise Arbour will open the high-level conference on Monady Dec.10.

Ms. Arbour will also serve as Secretary-General for the Conference.

Other Heads of State and Government, ministers and other senior leaders, civil society representatives and representatives of the private and public sectors started flocking to Marrakesh for the conference. The UN expects the presence of at least twenty Heads of State and Government at the Marrakech Conference that it considers “a stepping stone”.

The two day Conference features a plenary debate, during which Member States will confirm their political commitment to the Global Compact for Migration. Two interactive dialogues with a keynote speaker and a panel of three will provide a pathway for implementation and partnerships at all levels with stakeholders.

The first dialogue, “Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration”, will be led by keynote speaker, Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and chair of the High-Level Panel on International Migration in Africa, will be the keynote speaker for the second dialogue, “Partnerships and innovative initiatives for the way forward.”

On the eve of his trip to Marrakesh, the UN Chief described the intergovernmental conference as a historic milestone for international cooperation.

The adoption of the Global Compact in Marrakech will be “a historic milestone for international cooperation” as it represents a “unique opportunity to enhance cooperation on migration and also to strengthen the contribution of migrants and migrations to sustainable development,” Antonio Guterres said in an interview with MAP.

This is the “first ever global agreement on a common approach to international migration”, he said, noting that “Marrakech will therefore pave the way for the implementation of the Global Compact.”

“Human mobility has always been part of history, but with this pact, we will have a framework for cooperation to better manage migration at the local, national, regional and global levels – even if it is not legally binding,” he said.

“The adoption of the Pact in Marrakech is the result of more than 18 months of intensive consultation and negotiation,” he recalled.

Regarding Morocco’s commitment to the issue of migration, the UN Chief stressed that the Kingdom has been “very active” in the field of migration at the national level as well as at the international level.

The United Nations and Morocco “are working together to contribute to Morocco’s National Strategy on Immigration and Asylum. This naturally opens the way for the implementation of the Global Compact in the country”, he said. “The United Nations will continue to support Morocco in its efforts, and to find synergies with all national and international partners that cooperate with the country to respond to migration while respecting national priorities,” Guterres said.

Touching on Morocco’s Immigration and Asylum Strategy, adopted in 2013, the UN Chief said that this strategy is “an essential step since it integrates migration issues into national policies”.

“The Kingdom of Morocco also plays a key role within the African Union to further strengthen cooperation and dialogue on migration in this continent,” Guterres pointed out.

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