Good Shepherd represented at Global Forum

Important Civil Society Programme


Good Shepherd Representatives at the GFMD

Sr. Magdalena Saavedra from the Centre of Overseas Workers, Davao, Philippines and Ms Theresa Symons from MDO Asia Pacific, represented Good Shepherd at the recent Civil Society Programme for Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in Dhaka, Bangladesh from 8-9 December 2016.  There were about 300 participants at the civil society forum.

This was followed by Common Space between civil society and governments on 9 December and the GFMD Summit for governments from 10-12 December.


Focus of the forum

The theme for civil society programme was “Time for Action: Doing rights-based governance of migration and development in our communities and across borders.” 

Robust discussions were held at the plenary debates and parallel working sessions which focused on four action-oriented themes:

  • Doing protection of (internal and external) migrant workers

  • Doing protection of migrants on the move (regular and irregular)

  • Doing inclusive development

  • Doing global governance better


Outcome recommendations

Outcome recommendations broadly centered on various ways of implementing people-centered, needs first, rights-based policies on migration and human development; with civil society working with governments and businesses.

The recommendations will influence the development of a governance framework on migration called the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration, which is expected to be finalized by 2018 to be adopted by UN member states.  


Learning experiences of Magdalena and Theresa

Magdalena and Theresa shared that it was a privilege for them to attend the civil society forum.  It was an opportunity to network with participants coming from different organizations, engage in conversations on good practices, listen to different perspectives on migration and learn about issues affecting migrants in other countries.


Their reflections re Good Shepherd Congregation

These are some of their insights, reflections and recommendations in relation to the Good Shepherd Congregation:

  • Good Shepherd worldwide has extensive grassroots activities in sending as well as receiving countries.  We play critical roles in educating and empowering our programme participants on the rights of migrants.

  • It is not enough to just be doing grassroots activities on migration. It is also important to have a working knowledge of policies, statements and guidelines on migration so that we can shape our programmes to influence systemic changes locally, regionally and globally.

  • The needs of migrants have evolved in complexity which cannot be addressed by a sole organization. To increase our effectiveness in mission, we need to network and collaborate across borders as Good Shepherd agencies and with other NGOs, faith based groups, civil society organizations, governments and businesses.

  • A large bulk of migrants (regular and irregular) are women and children.  It is a must for the Congregation to strengthen its response to the plight of the migrants in the local, regional and global level. As an international Congregation, more concrete and collective action has to be done (pro-active response to our broad directions).


Article in National Catholic Reporter - Global Sisters Report

Sister Clare Nolan, Good Shepherd International Justice Peace training facilitator, interviewed Theresa Symons about her experience of the Forum.  This insightful article was published in the NCR Global Sisters Report January 2017.

Click here to read the article -


Important website links

  1. Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)

  2. GFMD Civil Society Days

  3. The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants

  4. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)