By Aisha Tamba
Delegates from Ecowas member states yesterday commenced a four-day pilot workshop to review the proposed mixed migration strategy that is aimed at addressing migration complexities in the Ecowas region.
Supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the event aims at précising the mixed migration strategy developed by Ecowas member states, by clarifying its priorities and orientations, and increasing the expertise and training capacity of Ecowas region and Mauritania.
The manual details protection principles, regional and national practices to facilitate effective mixed migration management in West Africa and help officials indentify and refer migrants who may need protection to competent authorities.
According to officials, all participants obtained the advance level certification on the Mixed Migration Manual and Training Kit, developed under the framework of the support for Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa Project.
In her opening remarks, IOM chief of mission to The Gambia Ms Fumiko Nagano, said the increasing diversity of migrants’ profiles, motivation, and contexts requires a look beyond the transitional distinction between economic migrants and refugees, hence the need to talk about and analyse mixed migration flows.
She further noted that the IOM welcomes recent developments in migration governance initiated by the Ecowas member states at both regional and global levels.
She reiterated that the IOM believes that migration if properly managed can contribute positively to the socio-economic development of countries and communities in all stages of the migration cycle.
“This long standing belief is informed by the fact that migration is a reality as old as human civilisation; and has in turn informed IOM’s support to its member states and migrants and to ensure migration takes place in a humane, dignified and regular manner”
The deputy permanent secretary at the, Ministry for the Interior, Ousman Ceesay, said The Gambia welcomes the commitment of the Ecowas thematic working group to reinforce the management of mixed migration within the region in line with the 2018-2028 Regional Migration Strategy.
He said migration within the region has become increasingly complex with different categories of people in motion for a variety of often overlapping reasons, which subjected it to large-scale displacement crises due to conflict and environment degradation.
Officials said the workshop will enable participants to raise awareness and explain the trends, needs and challenges arising from considering mixed migration flows in West Africa, and the key priorities identified, to better support vulnerable migrants as well as member states in their provision of services to migrants.