This paper draws on Pécoud’s international migration narratives (IMN) as an analytical framework to examine the Global Forum on Migration and Development’s Civil Society Days (GFMD-CSD). We analyse the narratives both produced and challenged at the GFMD-CSD, suggesting that while the GFMD-CSD poses a gentle challenge to existing IMN, it falls short of meaningfully (re)politicizing predominant migration paradigms. This is partly due to how the forum is a fraught space that reflects and reproduces uneven power dynamics between the Global North and South, concealing and nullifying contestations of power. Nonetheless, the GFMD-CSD, as a hybridized, experimental and fluidly defined discourse-led ‘global’ space, still functions as an important arena through which challenges to depoliticized state-led rhetoric might slowly trickle. Therefore, a closer interpretation of self-reflexive GFMD-CSD civil society strategies might challenge Pécoud’s conceptualization of what constitutes a ‘depoliticized’ approach to migration.