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On 9-10 October 2019, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), and the Gorée Institute jointly organised a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue on the theme “Migration, Peace and Security: What Role for CSOs in Promoting Regional Integration in the Nexus of Migration and Free Movement of People”.
The forum, held at Gorée Island, Senegal, attracted over 40 participants from civil society, government, academia, international and regional organizations in 10 countries.
The AYC was represented by Mr. Moussa Diop, Commissioner of Political Affairs (Senegal) and Mr. Kawsu Sillah, Executive Secretary (Gambia).
The main objective of the dialogue was to explore migration and free movement of people in the nexus of regional integration, address the pros and cons of this discourse, and recommend practical operable recommendations for the AU, Member States, RECs/RMs and other stakeholders working on migration, peace and security.
The specific objectives of the forum were to:
In his opening speech, Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto, Director, Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) acknowledged that the location of the Post-Tana Forum in Gorée Island was symbolic of the important historical legacy of migration in and out of Africa. ‘’The Tana Forum is a symbol of African intellectual independence, and the organization of dialogue foras such as the Post-Tana Forum is a useful space for key organizations such as ECOWAS to discuss and develop substantive knowledge and policies on migration’’, he said.
Dr. Yonas went on to highlight that the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa (Tana Forum) aims at bridging the gap between policy making and policy implementation by bringing together Heads of State and Government, experts, prominent personalities, leaders of international and regional institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, eminent scholars, academics and socially engaged youth to discuss timely issues in a spirit of commonality and moral duty towards finding solutions to peace and security challenges facing the continent.
Accordingly to the director, the informal nature of the Forum lends a different approach to discussing security issues on the continent. ‘’The Forum is not intended to deliver official declarations; instead, it is stimulated by the desire to engage in fresh, candid and in-depth discussions on pressing peace and security issues to produce innovative ideas and open new windows of opportunities for solutions’’, he added.
He noted that in its 8th edition, the Tana Forum discussed “Political Dynamics in the Horn of Africa: Nurturing the Emerging Peace Trends” on 3-4 May 2019 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. Further, he revealed that during this forum, national and regional stability in the Horn of Africa (HoA) was highlighted as paramount importance to the region’s peace and security agenda, serving as vital components of sustainable development objectives across the region. ‘’Among the various topics raised and discussed, the situation regarding migration and free movement of people in Africa and beyond emerged as an issue that requires deeper discussions and engagement with civil society institutions. This was the backdrop to this Dakar dialogue, which aimed to garner experiences and perspectives from CSOs and stakeholders active in this field, Dr. Yonas concluded.
Other speakers of the opening ceremony includes; Mr. Doudou Dia, Director, Gorée Institute; Mrs. Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, Director, African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP); Professor Ndioro Ndiaye, Advisor to the President, Government of Senegal and Brigadier General Amadou Anta Gueye, Director, Centre des Hautes Etudes de Dfense et de Scruit/CHEDS/.
Mr. Kawsu Sillah, Executive Secretary of the AYC participated in a panel discussion on “Current Status of Migration and Displacement in Africa” which focuses on ► State and non-state actors and external responses to migration (interrogating current policy frameworks, mediating efforts and their impact); ► Push and pull factors of migration and displacement in Africa; ► Implications of migration and displacement in Africa.
This panel was moderated by Mrs. Michelle Ndiaye, Director, Africa Peace and Security Programme, Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS). Other panelists were: Dr. Chukwuemeka B. Eze, Director, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Mr. Ernest Lartey, Head of Conflict and Security Program, Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Center (KAIPTC) and Dr. Marie-Paule Kodjo, President, ONG Playdoo-CI.
The panellists discussed the political economy that creates structural factors conducive to migration. Dating back to the slave trade and colonial history to the modern-day era of globalization and neoliberalism, the current imbalance in global trade relations is furthered by African elites who lack the political will to keep African resources and talents within the continent. They argued that, in order to reverse this trend, bilateral and multilateral relationships should focus on African ownership over the exploitation of resources and industrialization.
They went on to identify both push factors (such as unemployment, climate change, insecurity and armed conflict) and pull factors (such as political stability, favourable economic and climatic conditions and attractive migration policies) as key to regulating and managing migration efficiently. They further noted that, migration is a cross-cutting issue relevant to a majority of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to them, the main references to migration are found in Goal 8 and Goal 10, which aim to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth” and “reduce inequality within and among countries” respectively. They highlighted that Safe and free migration and movement greatly contributes to closing the widening inequality divide by abiding to the SDG principle of “leaving no one behind.”
In conclusion, they highlighted that, adhering to multilateral frameworks and implementing them at the national level is necessary to tackle push and pull factors in a holistic way. ‘’One example is the Multilateral Cooperation Agreement to Combat Child Trafficking in West Africa, adopted by 11 ECOWAS member states in 2005. In Côte d’Ivoire, this has translated into promising initiatives resulting from collaboration with CSOs, such as advocacy campaigns informing the youth on the risks of migration, programmes to support the return of migrants, and the introduction of new laws such as compulsory education. Furthermore, national efforts should be increasingly coordinated with neighbouring countries to find common approaches to migration. This requires strong political leadership and regional integration. While migration is often portrayed negatively, it is a natural phenomenon that brings benefits when adequately managed and organized’’, they stated.
They collectively emphasized that; civil society actors should highlight the positive aspects of migration in order to contribute to the development of new policies that support migrants’ contributions to society. The role of civil society organizations is to engage in advocacy, accountability and action. The CSO actors have the unique ability to equip citizens with the necessary knowledge to hold governments accountable for the use of their taxes, and to push for more inclusive exploitation of national resources. To allow CSOs to play these roles, states have the responsibility to make civic space more conducive. While CSOs are often associated with confrontation, activism and advocacy against government policies, they can also benefit from increased professionalization, clearer mandates, and closer collaboration with the state.
Finally, they said, in order to better engage with the government on migration issues, CSOs should use social media efficiently and constantly engage with the government’s online platforms.
The following sessions were also adequately covered during the forum:
In the final session, the summary of outcomes and key takeaways were presented and adopted by the participants.
Outcomes of the forum:
For more, visit the Forum website, here.