The UN Global Compact for Migration represents the international community's attempt to establish a common global approach to all aspects of international migration. The pact comprises 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional, and global levels.
The non-binding compact was approved back in July by all UN member nations with only the United States staying out. At the Marrakesh conference, the nations are supposed to formally endorse the agreement.
Several countries however later reversed their position in the months and days leading up to the event. In particular, Austria, Australia, Israel, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Lithuania have abandoned their plans to sign the agreement over concerns that the pact might put certain restrictions on their national migration policies.
The motion has proved to be an especially divisive issue in Europe, which is still struggling to tackle the worst migration crisis since World War II.
Meanwhile, Belgium itself is facing a crisis of the ruling coalition, with the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) exiting the cabinet over Prime Minister Charles Michel's plans to sign the UN migration pact.
The United Nations has already called the withdrawal of several countries from the agreement "regrettable," noting that migration is one of the key issues that can only be dealt with through dialogue.