MIEUX and West Africa
West Africa is the region of the world with the largest share of MIEUX Actions, 27 in total. In addition to ECOWAS, 14 out of 16 West African governments have requested to work with MIEUX. As described in the West Africa Regional Factsheet published earlier this year, the majority of Actions have focused on the development of migration policies, legislation, strategies and action plans in specific sectors of migration, but also irregular migration and trafficking and labour migration feature prominently.
In late September, Benin will host the final in the series of MIEUX Regional Knowledge Sharing Round-tables, aimed at extracting the good practices and analysing the impact of the MIEUX interventions over the last ten years.
Aside from this event, there are two interesting Actions taking place in Mali and Benin that are worth highlighting because of their strategic interest for effective migration management and governance in the region: labour migration and migration and environment.
Mali: Management of labour migration
In the first week of September, MIEUX travelled to Bamako, Mali, to finalise the Handbook for Labour Migration Management, key document of the MIEUX Action started in 2014 upon request from the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training that will be used to train officers from the National Employment Agency (ANPE in French) and other stakeholders in labour migration management in the country, such as the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration, the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) and the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).
The Handbook will serve as Operational Guidelines for the ANPE, the Ministry and other actors to clarify all aspects related to professional migration in Mali, for example, the international placement issues and those relating to the reintegration of migrants in the labour market in Mali. It is also in line with the implementation of the labour migration axis of Mali’s recent National Migration Policy (PONAM in French).
As Romain Gustot, MIEUX Project Officer in charge of the Action stated, “We were honoured to have the Minister of Employment chairing the opening of the workshop, demonstrating the strong political will of the Malian government to engage in this topic. More than 15 different entities participated in the project, also higher than expected. They shared their in-depth knowledge of the topic and we had fruitful discussions on how to make sure this handbook will benefit every entity and person involved and not just the ANPE”.
Benin: Migration and Environment
West Africa is one among several regions in the world witnessing the radical transformation of the natural environments of its populations under the combined effect of climate change and other processes of environmental degradation.
Sea level rise, soil salinization, floods, drought, desertification, wind intensification and heat waves are just some of the many environmental changes that affect local livelihoods, threaten food security and an increasing number of people to move to and within West Africa.
As environmental degradation in the region is expected to continue with global warming, it seems essential to implement frameworks and policies that target the link between migration, the environment and climate change at local, national and regional levels and more specifically, the potential adaptation role migration plays for persons displaced by natural catastrophes.
Following the joint request of the Ministry of Environment (Benin); Secretary of State (Guinea-Bissau); Ministry of Planning, Development and Land Use (Togo) in 2014, MIEUX has been supporting the three institutions in developing a regional dialogue and consultation on migration, climate change, and environmental issues, including the principles outlined in the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda. The activities carried out until now will unfold into a ‘Restitution and capitalisation workshop’ in Cotonou, Benin, on the last week of September.
This joint approach is in line with MIEUX’s recommendations for ways forward to improve migration governance in West Africa and could serve as a role model for the deployment of a regional response to deal and counter what is becoming the primary cause of forced displacement and migration in the 21st century