This paper has been commissioned by the International Organization for Migration to inform and assist the Organization in its role in servicing the intergovernmental negotiations towards a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration following the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016. Its objective is to review issues, themes and recommendations/proposals made by previous global migration initiatives and critically analyse areas of convergence and key tension points over time.
With that view, the paper provides a comparative thematic mapping structured along three main thematic clusters common to global migration initiatives: (a) minimizing the negative aspects of migration by addressing the drivers and consequences of forced and irregular migration, and combating smuggling and trafficking; (b) acknowledging and strengthening the positive effects of migration; and (c) protecting migrants’ rights and ensuring their well-being. By then, identifying the major sub-thematic issues included in these thematic clusters, the analysis highlights that global migration initiatives converge on a substantial number of sub-thematic issues. Divergences between them either denote thematic trends that have emerged over time or more inherent tension points on which agreement is not yet achieved, that is, the opening up of more legal avenues for migration, the consideration of low-skilled labour migration outside temporary migration policies and the ratification of the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. It concludes on the need for more knowledge-based research on the subject and on the lack of clear objectives and action plans for these initiatives calling for more evidence-based research.