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EAC Partner States Meet to Establish Regional Consultative Process on Migration
Nairobi - Government Ministers and senior representatives from seven countries forming the East African Community (EAC)- the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda plus the recently admitted Democratic Republic of Congo are meeting (30-31 March 2022) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi to deliberate on the establishment of a Regional Consultative Process on Migration (RCP) for the EAC region.
On 14-16 February 2022, EAC Partner States met in Kigali, Rwanda where they took note of the importance of establishing an RCP and recommended enhancing the Concept Paper, the draft Operational Modalities and Terms of Reference for the Establishment of the RCP and asked for these to be submitted to Partner States for inputs by March 2022.
The RCP once established will help EAC Partner States engage in migration discussions, appreciating that migrants and increased mobility in East Africa can contribute to national development, by reducing poverty and lowering the unemployment rate among the youth, and other benefits.
There are an estimated 195 million people, including refugees and asylum seekers and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region, with EAC countries being nations of origin, destination and transit for migrants, the displaced, and other groups on the move.
With an increase in the number of labour migrants from the region to destinations like the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), increased climate induced forced displacement and migration, conflict driven migration, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobility, an RCP on migration for the region is timely. The hope is that the RCP dialogue process can respond to migration challenges in the region and maximize the development opportunities migration can bring.
The EAC region would not be the first Regional Economic Community in Africa to enhance its approach to migration governance through an RCP. The Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA), the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), the Migration Dialogue for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Region (IGAD-RCP), the Migration Dialogue from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Member States (MIDCOM) and others are already operational.
It is hoped that the establishment of a RCP for the EAC region will lead to policy makers addressing migration in a wholistic manner, creating intergovernmental networks to consult on migration governance to promote migration and development.
The establishment of EAC RCP will lead to the enhancement and the protection of migrants' rights, improved labor migration, migration and health, migration and security (counter smuggling, human trafficking and other cross-border crimes); and migration, environment and climate change, and will also support the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Migration.
“The existing EAC migration related forums focus on labour issues hence miss the opportunity to discuss and address migration in a holistic approach. The RCP would therefore create a platform for effective networks for EAC Partner States to collectively consult on migration governance issues beyond labour” said Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General.
Mohammed Abdiker, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa, said “RCPs are important for sharing good practices and partnership models. As such, they have been recognized as important vehicles for building consensus to overcome migration challenges that might otherwise be intractable and have played an important role in shaping regional, inter-regional and global governance of migration.”
The conference has been organized by the EAC Secretariat and IOM. It is being attended by the Partner States’ Ministers in charge EAC Affairs; Interior, Home Affairs, Labour and Directorates of Immigration from EAC Partner States, the EAC Secretariat, IOM, and representatives of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
For media inquiries and interview requests, please contact IOM RO Media & Communication Unit at RONairobiMCU@iom.int or Yvonne Ndege, Regional Communications and Spokesperson, East and Horn of Africa on firstname.lastname@example.org / Phone: +254797735977.