Published on: Dec 12, 2018
On December 10 in Marrakech, Morocco, world leaders gathered to adopt a program on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This 'Global Compact' is the first cooperation framework to puts in place a means of protection for the 258 million refugees and displaced persons in the world. Indeed, 258 million is the current figure and 49% higher than in the year 2000, highlighting the global challenges in terms of immigration. Looking at the main goals of the new framework, it is plain to see that supporting countries and communities in hosting the current influx of global migrants is of paramount importance.
The conference took place over two days and saw many senior government officials in attendance, as well as representative migrants themselves, members of civil society and private sector stakeholders. Theses influential policymakers talked about the various ways that working together could improve the world's migrant situation by taking steps to assist both host countries and migrant groups.
Among the major world countries attending the conference was, of course, Canada. The current Canada immigration policy in place already recognizes that effective international cooperation is vital when it comes to tackling issues posed by migration. Current policies also note that there are many benefits that migrants can bring to Canada. As a forward-looking nation, Canada has now announced that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration has been officially adopted as part of the country's policies. The country's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, made an announcement to this effect while attending the UN's Marrakech conference.
The global Compact recognizes that irregular migration poses serious global problems. However, it also sees the positives, emphasizing that when successfully managed through standardized pathways and suitable systems, migration can be a productive process. Highlighting the fact that the increasing flow of migrants and refugees is a growing concern right across the world (not just in Canada, although the country has faced many individual challenges of late), the United Nations has confirmed that among the 258 million people looking for new host countries, 68.5 million have been displaced by force. This number includes asylum seekers and refugees who have been forced to leave their home countries due to the risks from war, violence and/or discrimination that threaten their lives and livelihoods.
Within the Compact are 23 objectives for countries to follow. These cover various factors of migration. The states taking part do not have to implement all actions but are encouraged to review the best-practice measures as part of achieving these objectives. The Global Compact places an emphasis on state sovereignty as an anchor point, giving states the overarching right to manage their own borders.
Canada has played an active role in developing the Global Compact. With nearly 200 of its own actions to work on in terms of Canada immigration, the country will be focusing on aligning current practices with the 23 objectives set out in the Global Compact. Negotiations have been running for more than a year now, so the critical milestone marked by the Global Compact is the first international framework to address migration on an world-wide level.
Among the benefits of a comprehensive national migration system are economic growth, innovation and social stability. The Canadian government views the Global Compact as an effective way of tackling the many challenges that arise from Canada immigration. However, it also sees opportunities to maximise the contributions that new citizens can bring, while helping them to integrate and settle into their communities.
Minister Ahmed Hussen announced that Canada was proud to adopt the Global Compact. He said the country sees it as not only an opportunity to manage global migration but also to improve collaboration between countries, develop a rules-based international system and set up a global position on migration. This position will be fact-based, promoting human rights and striving to stamp out any violence arising through race or gender.
World leaders have confirmed that the Global Compact embodies a collective commitment to working together on international migration. The product of the compact is a 31-page document. Within this document is an acknowledgement that migration affects countries, communities, migrants and families in different ways but the overriding message is that these opportunities and challenges should unite everyone.
The Migration Compact is the first globally-negotiated, collaborative framework to implement safe, orderly and regular migration. Canada's participation in this does not affect the processes for Canada visa applications and Canada ETA submissions. Any changes to the Canada visa or Canada ETA process will, of course, be officially announced and shared when relevant.
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