Launching the African Approach on the Regional Consultation on the Global Forum on Migration and Development
The African Union Commission, through the Department of Social Affairs (DSA) and the Directorate of the Citizen and Diaspora Organizations (CIDO), launched the African Meeting of the Regional Consultations on the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) on 12 May 2020, alongside the United Arab Emirates, the chair of the GFMD for 2020.
The focus of the GFMD 2020 is on labour migration and development, as it transpired from the preliminary vision for the UAE’s 2020 Chairmanship, and from the overarching theme of “The Future of Human Mobility: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development”.
The core objective of the 2020 GFMD is to establish partnerships and cooperation between countries and other stakeholders on the six thematic streams:
The Governance of Labour Migration in the Context of Changing Employment Landscapes;
Skilling Migrants for Employment;
Leveraging New Technologies to Empower Migrants;
Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection;
Discussing Approaches to Prevent Irregular Migration; and
Fostering Partnerships to Realise Migration-Related Goals in the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The African region opted to organize its consultation on three themes, essential for the continent’s development: The Governance of Labour Migration in the Context of Changing Employment Landscapes; Skilling Migrants for Employment; and Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection.
On the Governance of Labour Migration, Africa foresees an effective human-centred approach to be the cornerstone of international cooperation on migration and labour migration governance. An effective response to changing employment landscapes requires a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach. The AU’s approach involves the key stakeholders in all aspects of the labour migration governance, from the policy formulation process to the implementation and monitoring/evaluation.
On Skilling Migrants for Employment. Africa realizes that while many continents continue to have ageing labour populations, its labour force will continue to grow. As it stands Africa has a large proportion of low skilled migrant workers, which necessitates the adoption of the African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF) to enable African countries to link their qualifications and enhance comparability and transparency of qualifications, thus building the basis of an effective mobility of skills within the continent, and beyond.
On Addressing Gaps in Migrant Protection; Africa aims is to see better protection of migrants and migrant workers, respecting their rights and informing them on their rights. This necessitates that institutions working on labour migration, and particularly the Private Placement Agencies, to be more regulated and assisted to enforce the regulation.
In the current COVID-19 context, Africa is experiencing a few challenges and foreseeing others. Amongst those challenges is the protection of the vulnerable migrant workers especially undocumented migrants who are subjected to poor living conditions and face difficulties in accessing healthcare, food and medicine. Other challenges manifest themselves in job losses, reduces remittances, forced repatriations, increased discrimination, undue securitization of unarmed irregular migrants and xenophobia against migrant workers.
To achieve the continent’s goals and alleviate the COVID-19 challenges, Africa seeks to optimize the partnerships mechanisms and leverage on the potential of strategic migration management. These will be realized by investing in partnerships with the different stakeholders, represented by the Member States (governments) as well as non-state actors which include Civil Society Organizations, Social partners’ organizations, diaspora organizations representing the 6th Region of Africa employers and workers oragnizations, for a participatory and effective policy dialogue processes.
Guided by the Continental frameworks represented in Agenda 2063; the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA); the Global African Diaspora Summit (GADS), the Joint Labour Migration Policy framework (JLMP), and the global frameworks represented by the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and the GFMD, Africa will forge ahead in the migration for development discourse into the Africa we want.
Documents from the 2020 GFMD Online Regional Consultations can be found here.