SRSG and Founding Father of the GFMD

Shared by GFMD Support Unit on 9th January 2018

Mr. Sutherland was appointed in 2006 as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In this function, Mr. Sutherland engineered the establishment of the GFMD in 2007 as an independent Forum for Member States to foster a global dialogue and cooperation on migration. Since then, until September 2016 when he fell ill, Mr. Sutherland had offered strategic advice and support to the rotating GFMD Chairmanships. 

Serving as the link between the GFMD and the UN, Mr. Sutherland accompanied the evolution of the Global Forum process. He helped galvanize support from participating Member States to ensure the sustainability of the GFMD process, promote greater cooperation between and among the Global Migration Group member agencies, and strengthen the engagement of the GFMD with other vital stakeholders, notably the civil society and the private sector. Mr. Sutherland’s tireless efforts bore fruition in 2013, when the Second High Level Dialogue on international migration firmly recognized the many achievements of the Global Forum in building trust and promoting practical solutions and cooperation on migration challenges. 

Deeply moved by the 2015 migration crises in the Andaman Sea and the Mediterranean, Mr. Sutherland strongly urged the global community to address the complex challenges of mixed migration. He championed the cause of protecting the human rights of both migrants and refugees, as he emphasized the need for responsibility-sharing between and among Member States, international organizations and other concerned stakeholders. He called for the inclusion of migration-related targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and recognized the potential role that the GFMD could play in the implementation and follow-up of migration commitments in the 2030 Agenda. 

In 2016, he provided the inspiration and crucial support for the organization of the UN High Level Summit on Large Movements of Member States and advocated for IOM to become part of the UN in order to deal with migration issues from a global cooperation angle. He also came out with a landmark report known as the “Sutherland Report,” which makes recommendations for the better management of migration through international cooperation, and proposes ways of strengthening the engagement of the United Nations on migration. In this report, he proposed that “in the immediate future, the Global Forum will serve to support consensus-building on an ambitious global compact on migration and advance the implementation of the migration-related commitments in the 2030 Agenda.” The Sutherland report is a key reference for the 54-page Thematic Recollection 2007-2017 of the GFMD which constituted the Global Forum’s contribution to the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) process.  

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