The UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Analysis of the Final Draft and Monitoring Implementation

Edited by Elspeth Guild (Queen Mary University of London) and Tugba Basaran (University of Cambridge)


The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September 2016, initiated a process towards two Compacts: the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The Compacts are non-binding agreements which lay out a set of principles, objectives and partnerships for the governance of refugees and migration. This commentary will focus on the Global Compact on Migration, the first intergovernmental agreement on migration, negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations.


In the ‘GCM Commentary’ below, every objective of the Global Compact for Migration is examined in view of human rights obligations and state practices. The contributors provide for each of the GCM’s objectives a critical assessment, highlight significant changes during the negotiations, and underline future aspirations. The commentaries sought to provide scholars, practitioners and policy-makers alike with accessible substantive analyses in the lead up to the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration at the end of 2018. The commentaries were posted on this blog between September and December 2018, objective by objective. Translations of this blog series in French and Arabic are available on the Hijra website. 


In the ‘GCM Indicators’ posts below, each of the objectives is examined with a view towards implementation, to determine what those charged with reviewing implementation should be watching out for, ensuring that the GCM is being applied correctly (and human rights consistently). The starting place is the identification of targets to which evaluators can have regard when examining national implementation. These blogs will assist states in finding their way through the GCM to the correct implementation. We also hope that these blogs may assist states engaged in the peer-to-peer UN Universal Periodic Review processes.


The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was adopted in December 2018. The first review carried out by the UN Network on Migration took place in the UNECE region (including Europe/North America) in November 2020. In the ‘GCM Implementation‘ blog series we examine the country and stakeholder reports on implementation from the perspective of the engagements of states in the Compact. The series includes both analyses of country reports and thematic blogs covering objectives of the Compact or specific human rights issues as well as the UNSG report.