IOM, ECOWAS Take Steps Toward Establishing Regional Strategy on Mixed Migration

Published Date: 
Mon, 07/01/2019 - 23:30
Country: 
Gambia

Banjul – Given the increasing diversity of people and motivations pushing thousands to migrate within West Africa and beyond, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized on 24-27 June a four-day workshop aimed at developing a regional strategy to strengthen the protection environment for migrant within and outside the region.

Gathering together 19 government representatives from ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania, the workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to define the strategy’s priorities and orientations. Moreover, the workshop built the capacities of participants to better protect and provide assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations, as well as to understand mixed migration concepts and trends; challenges, such as smuggling; and opportunities within the ECOWAS Free Movement Protocol.

“The event will increase our expertise and capacities to manage mixed migration within ECOWAS,” emphasized Ousman Ceesay, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior of The Gambia. “This will certainly guide policymakers in securing migration policy coherence both nationally and internationally.”

The workshop was organized upon the recommendation of the Ministerial Meeting of the Migration Dialogue in West Africa (MIDWA)’s technical working group on mixed migration, which agreed on the necessity of establishing a mixed migration strategy that would complement the 2018-2028 ECOWAS Migration Strategy.

“The growing diversity of migrants’ profiles, motivations and contexts requires us to look beyond the traditional distinction between economic migrants and refugees, hence the need to talk about and analyze mixed migration flows,” remarks Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission in The Gambia. “IOM is glad to offer a platform for Member States to share best practices and agree on joint priorities for the strategy.”

The workshop is also preceded by previous initiatives between IOM and ECOWAS to strengthen the governance of mixed migration in the region. In 2018, a mixed migration manual and training kit was developed, detailing protection principles, regional and national practices to effectively manage mixed migration, and guidance for the protection of migrants.

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email: fkim@iom.int; or Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia, Tel: +2203303168, Email: aalazas@iom.int.