To facilitate the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) which Bangladesh will host for the first time in December this year, a national civil society forum comprising 43 organisations was formed yesterday. The forum titled Bangladesh Civil Society Coordination Committee (BCSCC) called on the government to give the grass-roots level migrants a chance to have their voice heard at the GFMD. The BCSCC also urged the government and other GFMD stakeholders to ensure the voice and presence of the civil societies in the official GFMD sessions. This will reflect the key recommendations in the official GFMD process to influence its outcome and to ensure follow-up like Bangladesh did during the Chairmanship in the Colombo Process. Beginning in 2007, this is the second time the GFMD, which is a voluntary, informal, non-binding and government-led process to advance understanding and cooperation regarding mutually reinforcing relationship between migration and development, and to foster practical and action-oriented outcomes, is going to be held in Asia. The BCSCC feels that the GFMD provides a unique opportunity to push the issue of rights and dignity of migrants and that the civil society of the host country has an important role in shaping the GFMD agenda and highlighting concerns not covered in the official process at the people’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights. The committee will ensure that seminars and workshops are organised ahead of the GFMD, in addition to different kinds of activities to include the voice of the grass-roots level migrants to the GFMD, which will be attended by stakeholders from different countries. The committee is now planning to establish a working group which will develop and implement a plan on migration-specific and migration-reflected targets of the 2030 agenda for Bangladesh, and ensure links with the broader civil society in the region and around the world. The working group will also monitor the targets set for the Sustainable Development Goals regarding migration-related issues and push those in the GFMD through the government. The committee’s chairman, Dr CR Abrar who is the coordinator of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, said: “We expect the government will respond and cooperate with this committee in organising the GFMD where migration issues related to not only Bangladesh but other parts of the world will be highlighted.” “We also expect that other organisations will come under this umbrella of civil societies,” he added. Yesterday’s launching event was participated by representatives of 43 human rights organisations, migrant associations, development NGOs and international organisations. They chalked out programmes to mark the upcoming GFMD. The session was chaired by CR Abrar and co-chaired by Syed Saiful Haque of WARBE Development Foundation.