Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

Established 2007

Type: Global Process on Migration

The GFMD is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process open to all States Members and Observers of the United Nations and select observer organizations.  It was created upon the proposal of the UN Secretary-General at the September 2006 General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development. Its main purpose is to address, in a transparent manner, the multidimensional aspects, opportunities and challenges related to international migration and its inter-linkages with development, to bring together government expertise from all regions, to enhance dialogue and cooperation and partnership and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes at the national, regional and global levels.
Each year, the GFMD is organized by a different host government. Since the first meeting in Belgium in 2007, the GFMD has traveled the world -- to the Philippines in 2008, Greece in 2009, Mexico in 2010, Switzerland in 2011, Mauritius in 2012, Sweden in 2014, Turkey in 2015, Bangladesh in 2016 and Germany in 2017. The eleventh GFMD meeting will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco on 5 to 7 December 2018.
The GFMD has a supporting framework that includes a Troika (the past, current and future Chairs which offer political and strategic guidance to the Chair-in-Office), a Steering Group (comprised of 30 governments that provide political and conceptual support to the GFMD process), a consultative body called the Friends of the Forum (all States Members and Observers of the United Nations), and a support unit that provides the Chair-in-Office with administrative, liaison, financial and organizational support, as well as administers the GFMD Platform for Partnerships. Designated national Focal Points enable the GFMD to liaise with participating governments and, secondly, facilitate dialogue and greater coordination at the national level.
The GFMD’s strong link with the United Nations is maintained through the Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration and Development (SRSG), Mrs. Louise Arbour, and the inter-agency Global Migration Group. The SRSG provides advisory services to the Chair-in-Office and helps improve the coordination between the GFMD and the UN.  The GMG, on the other hand, has been a partner – collectively or through the individual efforts of its member agencies -- in providing expert support in the preparation of GFMD meetings and for the implementation of GFMD outcomes and recommendations.
Since its inception, the GFMD process has brought together expertise from all regions and countries at all stages of economic, social and political development. Policy-makers from a wide range of government agencies participate, including from Ministries and Departments of Immigration, Development, Labour, Foreign Affairs, Gender Equality, Home Affairs, Justice, Interior, Integration and Nationals Abroad. Over the years, the GFMD has operated on the basis of a unique participative working method, involving governments and policy makers from a varied background. UN and other international agencies, civil society organizations and businesses are also engaged as distinct and crucial partners in the process, based on terms that are defined as appropriate by governments.
The GFMD has worked closely with UN specialized agencies and international organizations, particularly the GMG agencies, not only in developing the GFMD thematic agenda, but in fostering a common understanding of current global migration realities and challenges, while highlighting the mutually reinforcing links between migration and development. With support from the GMG and the UN community, the GFMD has engendered a human rights-centered approach to migration policy-making and advocated successfully for the inclusion of migration in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

The civil society process has accompanied the GFMD from the beginning, aiming to give voice and recognize the expertise of academia, NGOs, trade unions, the private sector, migrants and diaspora representatives in the Forum. Civil society days (CSD) are held usually prior to the GFMD Summit. The results of CSD deliberations are put forward as recommendations and action plan for consideration by the governments. To deepen the engagement between governments and civil society, a “Common Space” beginning 2010 has brought together governments, civil society representatives and international organizations at the opening of the GFMD Summit to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest.

After repeated discussions of the crucial role that the private sector plays in managing migration challenges and opportunities, governments endorsed the establishment of the GFMD business mechanism at the Istanbul Summit in 2016. The aim is to improve migration governance by enabling employers to actively contribute to contemporary migration policy debates and cooperation, on one hand, and enable governments to understand how migration policies and practices affect business operations at national, regional and global levels, on the other hand.
On 19 September 2016, world leaders gathered at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants. From this meeting followed the adoption of the New York Declaration  that recognized the need to strengthen international cooperation on migration. UN Member States committed to negotiate a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration (GCM).  Both the New York Declaration and the ensuing GCM Modalities recognized the GFMD as an important platform and envisaged its contribution to the GCM process.
Taking up the invitation, the GFMD 2017-2018 Co-Chairs Germany and Morocco have structured their Co-Chairmanship around working towards a valuable GFMD contribution to the GCM process. Since January 2017, four GCM-focused events have been organized – one in New York (November 2016), two in Geneva (February and April 2017) and a stocktaking event in Vienna (September 2017). The Tenth GFMD Summit Roundtables in Berlin were likewise structured to systematically draw inputs for the GCM. Through these state-led and collaborative efforts, the GFMD prepared its contribution– the GFMD Thematic Recollection from 2007 to 2017 – which highlights the main recommendations from previous GFMD Summits and examples of migration and development policies and programs from among over 1,000 entries in the GFMD’s Platform for Partnerships (PFP) Policy and Practice Database. The GFMD Thematic Recollection was submitted to the GCM co-facilitators and to the UN SRSG for International Migration, Mrs. Louise Arbour, during the GCM stocktaking in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on 4-6 December 2017.


Current Focus
Governance of Migration
Migration Policy coherence and mainstreaming
Migration and development
Labour migration and mobility, temporary and circular labour migration
Minimizing costs / maximizing human development
Migration and Trade
Regular Migration
Irregular Migration
Human Rights of migrants
Data and research on migration
Civil society and the private sector
Climate Change and Human Mobility
Social inclusion
Return and reintegration


Participating States (195 states)

Afghanistan Democratic Republic of the Congo Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Albania Costa Rica Iraq
Algeria Côte d'Ivoire Ireland
Andorra Croatia Israel
Angola Cuba Italy
Antigua and Barbuda Cyprus Jamaica
Argentina Czech Republic Japan
Armenia Denmark Jordan
Australia Djibouti Kazakhstan
Austria Dominica Kenya
Azerbaijan Dominican Republic Kiribati
Bahamas Ecuador Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Bahrain Egypt Republic of Korea
Bangladesh El Salvador Kuwait
Barbados Equatorial Guinea Kyrgyzstan
Belarus Eritrea Lao People's Democratic Republic
Belgium Estonia Latvia
Belize Ethiopia Lebanon
Benin Fiji Lesotho
Bhutan Finland Liberia
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) France Libya
Bosnia and Herzegovina Gabon Liechtenstein
Botswana Gambia Lithuania
Brazil Georgia Luxembourg
Brunei Darussalam Germany Macedonia
Bulgaria Ghana Madagascar
Burkina Faso Greece Malawi
Burundi Grenada Malaysia
Cabo Verde Guatemala Maldives
Cambodia Guinea Mali
Cameroon Guinea-Bissau Malta
Canada Guyana Marshall Islands
Central African Republic Haiti Mauritania
Chad Holy See Mauritius
Chile Honduras Mexico
China Hungary Micronesia (Federated States of)
Colombia Iceland Republic of Moldova
Comoros India Monaco
Congo Indonesia Mongolia


Montenegro Singapore
Morocco Slovakia
Mozambique Slovenia
Myanmar Solomon Islands
Namibia Somalia
Nauru South Africa
Nepal South Sudan
Netherlands Spain
New Zealand Sri Lanka
Nicaragua Sudan
Niger Suriname
Nigeria Swaziland
Norway Sweden
Oman Switzerland
Pakistan Syrian Arab Republic
Palau Tajikistan
Palestine United Republic of Tanzania
Panama Thailand
Papua New Guinea Timor-Leste
Paraguay Togo
Peru Tonga
Philippines Trinidad and Tobago
Poland Tunisia
Portugal Turkey
Qatar Turkmenistan
Romania Tuvalu
Russia Uganda
Rwanda Ukraine
Saint Kitts and Nevis United Arab Emirates
Saint Lucia United Kingdom
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines United States
Samoa Uruguay
San Marino Uzbekistan
Sao Tome and Principe Vanuatu
Saudi Arabia Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Senegal Viet Nam
Serbia Yemen
Seychelles Zambia
Sierra Leone Zimbabwe


Current Chair:

The Troika consists of the current Chair-in-Office, the outgoing Chair, and the future Chair of the Forum. The Co-Chairs assist the current Chair-in-Office in the preparatory process and in the implementation of the Forum.
The current GFMD Troika is comprised of Germany and Morocco (co-chairs-in-office). 
The annual GFMD Troika composition since 2007 is as follows:

The Chair-in-Office is assisted by a Taskforce. Its main responsibility is to help the Chair with the overall organization of the GFMD process. The Taskforce is comprised of experts and advisers who assist the Chair with the substantive preparations.


Observer Organizations
African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States
ACP-EU Migration Action
African Union
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Asian Development Bank
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
European Union (EU)
Food and Agricultural Organization
Inter-American Conference on Social Security
Inter-American Development Bank
International Committee of the Red Cross
Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees
International Catholic Migration Commission
International Center for Migration Policy Development
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
International Fund for Agricultural Development
International Labour Office (ILO)
International Organization for Employers (IOE)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
International Organization of the Francophonie
League of Arab States (LAS)
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Migration Forum Asia
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Organization of Islamic Conference
Partners in Population and Development
Platform for Disaster Displacement
Regional Conference on Migration (Puebla Process)
Secretaría General Iberoamericana
South American Conference on Migration
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
United Nations Alliance of Civilization
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
UN Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Human Security Unit
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Regional Commissions
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
World Bank
World Health Organization


GFMD Steering Group
The Steering Group is comprised of governments that are firmly committed to offer sustained political and conceptual support to the Forum process and to the Chair-in-Office, and to ensure continuity of the process. It is regionally balanced, and its composition takes into account different migration perspectives. 

The GFMD Steering Group comprises 30 governments:



Civil Society Organizations
GFMD Civil Society Network – Migration and Development Civil Society Network (

Private Sector
GFMD Business Mechanism ( co-coordinated by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Migration (WEF GFCM)

The GFMD Support Unit assists the Chair-in-Office with the administrative preparations of the Forum, including the meetings of the Steering Group, the Friends of the Forum, thematic ad hoc Working Groups and the main Forum. It serves the Chair-in-Office by maintaining the GFMD archives, managing internationally contributed funds to the GFMD, performing administrative, financial and logistical functions, and operating the GFMD main web portal. It also oversees the administration of the Platform for Partnership (PfP), a tool to facilitate exchange and showcase projects, programs and policies that are undertaken by governments in the field of Migration and Development (M&D), and which are related to GFMD themes, debates and outcomes. 
The GFMD Support Unit is hosted administratively by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva.

Contact Information
GFMD Support Unit
15 Route des Morillons,
1218 Le Grand Saconnex,
Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +4122 788 49 46 / +4122 788 49 47
Fax: +4122 788 49 48


June 28-30 , 2017, Berlin, Germany, the Tenth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development”.
December 10-12, 2016, Dhaka, Bangladesh, the Ninth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and DevelopmentMigration that works for Sustainable Development of all: Towards a Transformative Migration Agenda”.
October 14-16, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey, the Eighth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and DevelopmentStrengthening Partnerships: Human Mobility for Sustainable Development”.
May 14-16, 2014, Stockholm, Sweden, the Seventh Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Unlocking the Potential of Migration for Inclusive Development.
November 19-22, 2012, Port Louis, Mauritius, the Sixth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Enhancing the Human Development of Migrants and their Contribution to the Development of Communities and States”.
November 29 to December 2, 2011, Geneva, Switzerland, the Fifth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Taking Action on Migration and Development – Coherence, Capacity and Cooperation”.
November 8-11, 2010, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the Fourth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development “Partnerships for Migration and Human Development -- shared prosperity, shared responsibility”.
November 2-5, 2009, Athens, Greece, the Third GFMD Meeting “Integrating Migration Policies into Development Strategies for the Benefit of All”.
October 27-30, 2008, Manila, Philippines, the 2nd GFMD Meeting "Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development".
July 9-11, 2007, Brussels, Belgium, First Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development

Principal Documents

GFMD Operating Modalities
The GFMD Troika – Terms of Reference
GFMD Thematic Recollection (2007-2017) [FR] [ES]
The GFMD Steering Group: Terms of Reference and Guidelines for Membership
The GFMD Friends of the Forum – Terms of Reference
Long‐term Financing Framework for the GFMD
Tenth GFMD Summit Meeting Digest