By Tabora Bojang
In line with plans to supporting effective implementation of the Ecowas Common Approach on Migration, the Ecowas Commission in partnership with the EU is organising a 4-day training for Gambian border operatives on regional border management manuals.
In partnership with a consortium of partners, the cascade training is targeting 25 Gambian immigration officers. It is a follow-up to the ToT on Ecowas regional border management and free movement manuals forum held in Dakar.
It is underway at the Joint Officers Mess in Kotu.
Officials say the manual puts in context emerging trends and peculiarities of the West African migratory landscape and reflects current operational practices and strategies to enhance service delivery.
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of the Interior Louis Moses Mendy said the programme is designed to address the regional migration challenges of member states by strengthening capacity and comprehensive training tools for border officials to ‘efficiently’ carry out their duties guided by Ecowas protocols.
He said border management and free movement are of great concern to the Ecowas region especially concerning the free movement of persons, goods and services.
The DPS urged the officers as implementers of the free movement manual, to take the training seriously, as it will help raise their understandings to dealing with issues confronting them on a daily basis at the borders.
A rep of the Ecowas Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement Obi Ajugwo, enunciated that the workshop is structured to securing necessary consensus in the implementation of the manual.
He said the manual is a key component in the organisation’s vision to transforming from an Ecowas of states to an Ecowas of people, “focusing on a citizen-oriented regional integration and development agenda”.
He said: “The realisation of this objective requires our collective commitment to efforts that will result in the full implementation of the Ecowas migration instruments”.
According to Matthias Esene, national project officer of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the manual covers the notion of free movement in a “broad sense that is not only the right of entry, residence and establishment, but also the civil, economic and social rights necessary for its realization”.
He reiterated his organisation’s commitment to supporting institutional-oriented and innovative ideas, which strengthen the technical capacity of national governments and civil society organisations as one of the guiding principles driving their approach to migration management.