The African Consultations on Migration kicked-off today. The Consultations was officially opened by Dr. Olawale I. MAIYEGUN, the Director of Social Affairs Department; Mr. David CLAPP, the Coordinator of Sub-Regional Platform for East and Southern Africa, UNDP on behalf of the UNDG; and the Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, H.E. Mohamed GHONEIM.
Dr. MAIYEGUN spoke about the programmes of African Union that address various migration related issues in the most comprehensive way. He underlined the AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign, the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), and the Labour Migration Governance for Integration and Development in Africa (also known as the Joint Labour Migration Programme-JLMP).
The general objective of the Nairobi consultations are designed to provide a forum for all 54 AU Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to discuss the Migration Agenda and identify key priority areas that require immediate action in the short and medium term within the framework of AU policies and programs and Assembly Declaration (Assembly/AU/Decl.6(XXV)) on Migration at the 25th African Union Summit in Johannesburg in June 2015, as well as other relevant instruments such as the Valletta Action Plan.
The following presentations, among others, took place today,:
Valletta Action Plan and AU Initiatives; AU Response to Human Trafficking and smuggling of migrants from the AU COMMIT to the Horn of Africa Initiative; Boosting Intra-African Trade and Migration; Outcomes of the Valletta Summit on Migration; Study on the African Protocol on Free Movement of Persons Implementation Plan; Joint AUC/ILO/UNECA Labour Program (JLMP).
The key priorities of the Valletta Declaration and Action plan adopted during the summit have been linked with the work of AUC during AU presentations. It is worth mentioning that Action Plan also identified 16 priority projects to be implemented in 2016.
The expected outcomes from the Consultation are to:
Agree on a set of actions at national, regional and continental levels that would give effect to or operationalize the key AU instruments, programs and decisions; Identify high impact projects that could be realistically implemented in 2016 in the management of migration; Enhance a common understanding of all available funding instruments - including the EU Trust Fund for Migration - that can be used to advance the AU migration agenda.
Senior policy officials responsible for migration issues from AU Member States, Experts from AUC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNHCR, AfDB as well as the diaspora organisations in Europe shared their insights and experiences with the participants and other independent experts.
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Notes to the Editors:
For more than a decade, the African Union Commission (AUC) has been engaged in providing policy guidance on Migration and working closely with its Member States to address critical migration issues. The various AU policy frameworks and instruments on the issue contain recommendations on how to promote the benefits of migration, improve capacity for migration management and enhance mobility on the continent as well as address the challenges of irregular migration. As recently as the 25th AU Summit in Johannesburg, AU leaders deliberated extensively on how to effectively manage migration by committing to achieve a comprehensive range of issues by 2018, including to: speed up the implementation of continent wide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans; expedite the operationalization of the African Passport that would as a start facilitate free movement of persons that will be issued by Member States; improve labour mobility by establishing harmonized mechanism thereby ensuring that higher education in Africa is compatible, comparable to enable recognition of credentials that will facilitate transferability of knowledge, skills and expertise; and operationalize existing action plans to combat Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
Key flagship programs have been introduced by the African Union to address various migration related issues in the most comprehensive way. These include:
The 'AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) Campaign' launched in 2009: with the Ouagadougou Action Plan at the centre of its objective the campaign reached out to Member States, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Civil Society Organisations in taking serious measures against combating trafficking in human beings, while encouraging all actors to use the Ouagadougou Action Plan as a reference to develop and reform their policies, laws and interventions on trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. Building on the AU COMMIT, the Commission established the African Union Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on Human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in 2014 in response to the irregular Migration flows within and from the Horn of Africa to different destinations. The initiative aims to enhance cooperation among concerned Member States and other entities in addressing the challenges of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa region to destinations including the Middle East, Europe and Southern Africa. The initiative also creates a forum for cooperation among Member States in the Horn of Africa as well as other transit and destination countries Within the framework of migration and development, the Commission has established the African Institute for Remittances (AIR). Launched in November 2014, the AIR will work towards reducing the transaction cost of remittances while encouraging member states and migrants to leverage remittances for socio-economic development of the continent. Similarly, the 24th Assembly adopted the Labour Migration Governance for Integration and Development in Africa (also known as the Joint Labour Migration Programme-JLMP). Developed with the support of ILO, IOM and UNECA, the JLMP builds on conclusions and key recommendations by Member States and RECs to facilitate implementation of relevant policy frameworks on Labour Migration and the transformational Agenda 2063 towards continental integration. The objectives and actions set out in the JLMP are designed to address the challenges of labour migration and mobility on the continent by enhancing the capacity of Member States and RECs to, among others: achieve wider elaboration, adoption and implementation of harmonized free movement regimes and coherent national labour migration policy in the RECs, and extend social security to migrants with access to portability regimes compatible, resolve skills shortages and skills—education mismatches while increasing recognition of harmonized qualifications across Africa. Enhancing mobility and free movement regimes would provide alternative legal channels of migration and help to reduce irregular migration.
The political events in some North African countries in the recent past has had an impact on the patterns of irregular migration through the Mediterranean. The resulting influx of migrants into Europe in the past months has created a heightened security oriented approach to migration in destination countries. It has also resulted in humanitarian tragedy of significant proportion with the death of thousands of young people who are trying to seek better lives. The EU Valletta Summit on Migration that took place from 11-12 November brought together 28 EU Member States and 35 African countries and 2 RECs (ECOWAS & IGAD) plus Norway and Switzerland to discuss ways of addressing the current irregular migration flows into Europe.