Saturday, January 16, 2021
UAE Gets Ready to Host International Migration and Development Summit, Bringing the World Together in Unique Online Format
Preparations are underway for the United Arab Emirates to host a major international Summit on migration, starting tomorrow, Monday 18 January 2021. The Summit – which is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – will, for the first time, take place entirely online, using state-of-the art technology.
This year’s 13th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will be addressed by a number of senior international leaders, including António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and Luis Almagro, the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States.
Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, the current chair of the GFMD, will deliver the keynote speech, followed by Luis Gallegos, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ecuador, the previous chair.
With over 2000 senior officials from around the world already registered to participate in the seven-day event, the UAE has built its own unique online platform for the occasion. The GFMD’s Summit platform integrates multiple technologies to allow delegates to attend meetings, listen to interpreters across the four official Summit languages, organise their agendas and chat with one another. Delegates represent over 100 governments, as well as a number of global institutions, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the OECD, and the European Union.
Reflecting the rapid adoption of video conferencing technology over the last twelve months, the team organising the Summit has already road-tested the approach over the course of the UAE Chairmanship. Plans early last year for five major Regional Consultations had to be rapidly re-arranged after the COVID-19 pandemic halted international travel. Instead, the UAE organisers ran over thirty individual online events for the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas between May and July 2020.
Abdulla Al Nuaimi, Assistant Undersecretary for International Relations and Communications commented on preparations, saying, “The UAE’s agenda for migration and development will be at the centre of global discussions over the next seven days. This Summit is a catalyst for our priorities, including increased global collaboration and innovative partnerships that improve the lives of people around the world.
“Our goal is to deliver a world-class Summit – despite the extreme challenges of COVID-19 – using ground-breaking technology and inviting international leaders to address issues of global importance. This is a major opportunity to showcase to an international audience the extraordinary journey that the UAE has been on over the last fifty years, thanks in part to the many people from around the world who have joined us in building up this country.”
The involvement of such high-level representation at the 13th Summit is an indication by the international community of the importance of bringing the world together, after a year in which the pandemic caused the movement of people to come to a standstill. As one of the earliest Summits in the calendar of annual meetings, it will be an opportunity for international leaders to start to outline a vision for the world moving forward post-COVID-19.
The UAE announced its candidacy to host the GFMD in May 2019 and took over as the chair from Ecuador in Quito in January 2020. The GFMD is an inter-governmental meeting of senior officials that gathers annually to discuss how migration is governed around the world. Now in its fourteenth year, the GFMD has led to a number of major global initiatives, bringing together governments with delegations from business, civil society, local administrations. The 13th GFMD Summit will last until the 26th January and feature thirty-four individual events.