The two-day Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration will open in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Monday.
The UN Global Compact for Migration represents the international community’s attempt to establish a common global approach to all aspects of international migration. The pact comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional, and global levels.
The non-binding compact was approved back in July by all UN member nations with only the United States staying out. At the Marrakesh conference, the nations are supposed to formally endorse the agreement.
Several countries however later reversed their position in the months and days leading up to the event. In particular, Austria, Australia, Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Lithuania have abandoned their plans to sign the agreement over concerns that the pact might put certain restrictions on their national migration policies.
The motion has proved to be an especially divisive issue in Europe, which is still struggling to tackle the worst migration crisis since World War II.
The Flemish Parliament in Brussels, for instance, hosted on Saturday a meeting to protest signing the UN Global Compact for Migration. The event was organized with support of the Europe of Nations and Freedom — a eurosceptic group of the European Parliament. The participants voiced concerns that the pact might limit the sovereignty of states in terms of migration management.
Meanwhile, Belgium itself is facing a crisis of the ruling coalition, with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) exiting the cabinet over Prime Minister Charles Michel’s plans to sign the UN migration pact.
The United Nations has already called the withdrawal of several countries from the agreement “regrettable,” noting that migration is one of the key issues that can only be dealt with through dialogue.