DATE: 13-Dec-2020

This page provides an overview of the Chair’s vision for the 13th GFMD Summit, to be held online from 18 – 26 January 2021. Given that an online-only GFMD Summit has never been held before, Member States, Mechanisms and GFMD Observers will have a significant number of questions about how it will work in practice. The purpose of this page is to provide some answers to these questions and assist stakeholders in planning their participation in the Summit. It will be regularly updated and circulated, as more information becomes available. 

The Chair is of the view that an online-only Summit is as much an opportunity as it is a necessity. It allows for a participation by a wide cross-section of stakeholders, including at a senior level, from capital, from diverse regions, and by delegates who may otherwise have been disincentivised due to their inability to forego their normal duties when traveling for an extended period of time or due to the cost of travel. Our goal is to use the online-only format to ensure we have the most globally representative GFMD Summit to date.

Despite moving the Summit online, we will abide by the principles we outlined in January in our vision for the UAE Chairmanship. To that end, the entire Summit will be open to all stakeholders for the first time, although there will be certain restriction on some sessions (see below). Although the GFMD remains state-led, we welcome business, civil society and local government as co-partners in the design and implementation of the Summit. The content of the Summit will remain future-focused, emphasise partnerships and restate the relationship between migration and development outcomes. And for the first time, regional perspectives on migration will be integral to the background papers of the Summit Roundtables.

However, the online environment does pose constraints. First among these is the issue of divergent time-zones. It is unfortunately impossible to identify a time of day when everyone on the planet can reasonably be expected to be awake. Therefore, the Chair took the decision to organise the Summit around a narrow two-hour band when as broad a representation of the global population as possible will be able to participate. (For those on either side, in Oceania and the West Coast of the Americas, the Chair requests your understanding.) In the interests of global cohesion, this approach was preferred to, for example, holding each session twice daily.

This Summit will be the end of a year-long process, which has encompassed five online regional consultations (consisting of thirty-one individual meetings), three Friends of the Forum, two Migration Labs, alongside numerous webinars and meetings of GFMD Working Groups. Since the end of January 2020, well over a thousand individuals have contributed their time and their ideas to the GFMD. We count on your continued support as we move towards the culmination of that process in January 2021.

for more details on agenda and timings please visit