The first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) was held in May 2022 at the General Assembly in New York to review progress on the 2018 Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). At the mid-point between IMRF sessions, this publication, co-authored by Kate Sheill and Laurel Townhead, looks back on the inaugural IMRF to document the formal processes that led up to the forum, from a civil society perspective. It is intended as a contribution to institutional memory and to inform engagement with future IMRFs. The publication reviews the pre-existing limits and emerging constraints on the 2022 IMRF and how they drove and challenged efforts to expand civil society engagement. In particular, it reflects on this first global follow up and review process for its potential.
While recognising that the inaugural IMRF succeeded in regard to several measures, the paper concludes that more ambition is needed – for the IMRF itself as well as for implementation of the GCM – for it to deliver for migrants. It argues that rather than seeing it just a quadrennial four-day event, we need to reimagine the IMRF as an element of the broader UN architecture on migration governance and migrant rights to build coherence in the work across all relevant UN processes and entities and further broaden and deepen engagement by all stakeholder groups. Only then we will begin begin to meet that ambition and deliver for migrants.