Since 2009, the programme embarked on successive phases, each marked by an innovation.
- MIEUX I (2009 – 2011) started as a pilot project focusing exclusively on capacity development on the subject of Irregular Migration and Trafficking in Human Beings.
- MIEUX II (2012 – 2015) enlarged the scope of the programme to cover more topics, including International Protection and Asylum, Legal Migration, Migration and Development and crosscutting topics that were clustered under the name of Horizontal Interventions.
- MIEUX III (2016 – April 2019) incorporated new actors as eligible organisations to request capacity development assistance, including local-level authorities, parliamentary assemblies, and civil society when coupled with government institutions.
Putting the “plus” in MIEUX for the new phase, debuting in April 2020, entailed delving into its portfolio of over 100 projects (Actions) to extract lessons learnt, practices and expertise to determine what had made MIEUX so successful over the years. Consultations with partner authorities took place in 2018; partners provided input that fed into the design of the new phase and materialised into two new types of projects that would focus on a holistic approach to capacity development and on “regional capacity development partnerships”.
Having described our concept behind the holistic approach to capacity development in part I last week, today I will describe the concept behind the latter.
What do we mean by regional capacity development partnerships?
Regional cooperation on migration is not a new feature of global migration governance. In the case of MIEUX, throughout more than 12 years of implementation we have observed that in addition to learning about European practices, partners are eager to learn from their neighbours and to collaborate at sub-regional and regional level on common migration and mobility challenges.
During the 2018 Regional Knowledge Sharing Round-tables, partners requested more regional collaboration through exchanges of practices and lessons learnt from previous and ongoing MIEUX Actions.
We noticed that in all regions, institutions that we worked with saw certain countries as leaders in certain areas of migration governance and management. The practices, policies and plans enacted by these countries inspire neighbouring countries and prompt them to request their adaptation into their domestic contexts.
With this in mind, the MIEUX team conceptualised a new kind of Action that could be requested for the new phase dubbed as “regional capacity development partnerships”.
This new type of Actions is expected to create greater convergence at regional level, increase collaboration, develop joint approaches to existing or emerging issues and lead towards adaptation and replication of (innovative) practices that were successful in a given context.
In practice, how does this work? New Action in the pipeline
We will launch a new Action involving Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, the four Member States of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development - GUAM. All four countries have high rates of emigration and remittances feature as an important portion of gross domestic product.
Many GUAM nationals emigrate across Europe, with Poland, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic counting as the main destination countries. Following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions by European Member States and partner countries in March 2020, GUAM nationals have found themselves stranded in destination countries, many of them in vulnerable situations. The reduction of employment opportunities across the EU, Russia and the United States has led to a surge in returning migrants and decreased inflows of personal remittances to GUAM Member States in a very short period of time.
Adding to the above, the disruption of seasonal migration schemes and the deterioration of security and humanitarian aid in the disputed territories within the region have exacerbated the negative effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Georgia's experience in consular assistance
Adequate crisis preparedness and early preventive measures by the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consular departments and diplomatic missions played a crucial role in ensuring effective assistance to Georgian nationals and mitigating the negative consequences from national mobility restrictions. As a result, consular staff posted abroad were ready to act as first responders and assist their citizens: around 22,800 Georgian citizens, with a specific focus on vulnerable groups, were repatriated in a short timeframe from destination countries.
To put in place these measures successfully, the Georgian Government had previously benefitted from ICMPD support in the framework of the capacity development component of the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative. Together, they developed policies, coordination mechanisms and training curriculum dedicated to consular crisis management. These successful practices, and how to put them in practice, will provide the model for inspiration for the other GUAM MS.
The new Action will assess consular crisis management policies and practices for protecting nationals abroad and produce recommendations for action to respond better to future health emergencies in all GUAM MS. The institutions involved (mainly Ministries of Foreign Affairs) will then update relevant policies, practices and training materials by including health emergencies, including a revised training curriculum and manual for diplomats and consular staff.
These concrete measures, mechanisms and materials will build on existing coordination mechanisms for consular affairs to enhance consular cooperation and emergency responses during crises. The joint work of the four countries will also contribute to greater inter-agency and inter-state coordination with the GUAM Secretariat, as a guarantor of the sustainability of results.
The success of these projects will require continued collaboration and commitment from the partner countries to ensure coordination at all levels.
New Actions of this sort are in the pipeline in the regions where we operate and we will duly inform our audiences through the website, newsletter and social media channels. Stay tuned for more updates!