The paper explores the proposed rationale of the Global Forum on Migration and Development that was launched by Kofi Annan in 2006 as UN Secretary General, as an informal inter-governmental discussion space. First, it identifies the series of claims in Annan’s speech to the High-Level Dialogue that he convened in New York: that international migration must be managed; that to proceed from the present situation of entrenched disagreements and mistrust requires constructive structured communication; that the Global Forum can provide this and is a feasible way forward, unlike proposals for binding international conventions; and that through processes of growing mutual education and mutual acceptance the Forum can be fruitful. Implied are notions of building trust and community amongst the “migro-crats”, the public policymakers in the global networks of migration. Second, the paper monitors how the hypotheses had fared by the time of the second Forum conference, in Manila in 2008, by discourse analysis of its concluding report. The Manila meeting’s declaration of a “focus on the person” appeared in reality to a large extent mean a focus on the “migro-crats” and their interactive processes of mutual education and team-building that are intended to produce practical cooperation. To clarify this strategy and draw out its mindset and assumptions, the paper presents a series of tools for discourse analysis that may be more widely useful in migration studies and for participation in migration policy debate.

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International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Roldan, B., & Gasper, D. (2010). The global forum on migration and development. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 497, pp. 1–33). Retrieved from