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SADC partnership with IOM poised to achieve progress on migration management

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States are gradually making progress on migration management, with a number of policy frameworks already in place while others are still under development, the Acting SADC Executive Secretary, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, has said.

Ambassador Nourrice was speaking during a courtesy call by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for Southern Africa, Mr Charles Allan Kwenin, on 11th November 2021 in Gaborone, Botswana. The meeting considered ongoing SADC-IOM cooperation in thematic areas such as labour migration and mixed migration health, immigration and border movement as well as migration data.

Ambassador Nourrice appreciated the work done by the IOM in SADC Member States in addressing migration challenges and ensuring coordinated management of migration as well as formulation of policies and strategies. He also appreciated the progress that is being made at the regional level through active implementation of the SADC-IOM Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in November 2016.

Mr Kwenin took the opportunity to congratulate the SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias Magosi, on his recent appointment. He acknowledged the long standing cordial relationship and partnership between the two institutions through joint activities of cooperation and thanked the Secretariat for support extended during the just ended Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) Ministerial meeting held from 25 to 29 October 2021 in Mozambique.

He highlighted the adoption of the Maputo Diaspora Declaration and informed of IOM’s readiness to support Member States in developing and implementing national diaspora policies, including a regional diaspora programme. The IOM Regional Director took note that as per practice, the outcomes of MIDSA would also be brought to the attention of relevant SADC structures for further deliberation and to build synergies for effective implementation.

Ambassador Nourrice said that SADC was at an advanced stage in developing a Regional Migration Policy Framework to harmonise and coordinate Member States efforts on migration. The framework is designed to maximise the developmental impact of migration and stem out irregular migration, which gives way to insecure border and increased migrants vulnerabilities to trafficking and smuggling, amongst other challenges. The Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (MCO) will consider the draft framework during its next meeting in June 2022.

The parties agreed that there was a need to strengthen cooperation to address emerging issues and find lasting solutions to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. It was noted that more pragmatic approaches were needed to manage migration during the pandemic, especially to reduce irregular and unsafe migration through undesignated entry points. This requires continued dialogue involving Member States for the adoption of responsive and well-adapted standards and mechanisms that promote adherence to health protocols and orderly movement of persons. The parties further agreed to enhance cooperation on disaster risk reduction and humanitarian border management, especially taking into account the increase in climate related disasters in the Region. In this regard, IOM agreed to extend technical support towards the full establishment of the SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations (SHOC), which is based in Mozambique.

Ambassador Nourrice and Mr. Kwenin underscored the mutual commitment to continue collaborating through the existing MoU, and immediate follow up actions to support and enhance Member States capacities to effectively manage migration were agreed upon. These actions include migration policy development, migration and data, labour migration, migration and health as well as capacity building initiatives, among others.

IOM is a related organisation of the United Nations (UN) which specializes in migration management on the basis that well managed migration presents developmental benefits for sending and receiving countries. All SADC Member States are members of the IOM.