On this International Migrants Day I am sharing the report of Theresa Symons and Magdalena Saavedra. There is a call to action for Good Shepherds around the world. How are you going to respond? Share your ideas in the comments box.
Good Shepherd Representatives at the GFMD
Sr. Magdalena Saavedra from the Centre of Overseas Workers, Davao, Philippines and Theresa Symons from MDO Asia Pacific, represented Good Shepherd at the recent Civil Society Programme for Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 8-9 December. There were about 300 participants at the civil society forum.
This was followed by Common Space between civil society and governments on 9 December and the GFMD Summit for governments from 10-12 December.
Focus of the civil society forum
The theme for civil society programme was “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders.”
Robust discussions were held at the plenary debates and parallel working sessions which focused on four action-oriented themes:
- Doing protection of migrant workers
- Doing protection of migrant on the move
- Doing inclusive development
- Doing global governance better
Outcome recommendations broadly centered around various ways of implementing people-centered, needs first, rights-based policies on migration and human development; with civil society working with governments and businesses.
The recommendations will influence the development of a governance framework on migration called the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration, which is expected to be finalized by 2018 to be adopted by UN member states.
Our learning experiences
Magdalena and Theresa shared that it was a privilege for them to attend the civil society forum. It was an opportunity to network with participants coming from different organizations, engage in conversations on good practices, listen to different perspectives on migration and learn about issues affecting migrants in other countries.
These are some of their insights and reflections in relation to the Good Shepherd Congregation:
- Good Shepherd worldwide have extensive grassroots activities in sending as well as host countries. We play critical roles in educating and empowering our program participants on the rights of migrants
- It is not enough to just be doing grassroots activities on migration. It is also important to have a working knowledge of policies, statements and guidelines on migration so that we can shape our programs to influence systemic changes locally, regionally and globally.
- The needs of migrants have evolved in complexity which cannot be addressed by a sole organization. To increase our effectiveness in mission, we need to network and collaborate across borders as Good Shepherd agencies and with other NGOs, faith based groups, civil society organizations, governments and businesses.
- A large bulk of migrants (regular and irregular) are women and children, it is a must for the Congregation to strengthen its response to the plight of the migrants in the local, regional and global level. As an international Congregation, more concrete and collective action has to be done (pro-active response to our broad directions).
Links to the following important websites related to the GFMD:
- Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) http://www.gfmd.org
- GFMD Civil Society Days MADE Migration and Development Civil Society Network
- The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants New York Declaration in 6 languages
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Sustainable Development Goals
In the picture our representatives with Eva Richter from NGO Committee on Migration in New York. (Submitted by Theresa and Magdalena)
With some of the participants and Undersecretary Ambassador Jose S. Brillantes Chairman of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers, Pathma Krishnan Regional Coordinator of Education International-Asia Pacific, Theresa Symons Good Shepherd Congregation MDO-Asia Pacific, Mel Nuqui of Dawn – Executive Director (courtesy of Magdalena)