Sharing good practices in West Africa

collage Benin

In early October 2018, MIEUX convened its final Regional Knowledge Sharing Round-table in Cotonou, Benin. The final Round-table was devoted to the region of West Africa and gathered 20+ participants, a mix of partners and experts, from Benin, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Togo among others.  

Conceived as part the commemorative events to mark 10 years of MIEUX interventions, these Round-tables are a chance for the partner countries to exchange common experiences and good practices stemming from MIEUX Actions. Each event has a thematic focus which corresponds to the main themes of the MIEUX Actions in the region. In this case, the focal points from Western African States that have benefitted from MIEUX Actions since 2009 reflected on the achievements, good practices and results accomplished by MIEUX Actions that focused on migration policy development and capacity building.

What were the results?

Regional Trends and challenges

Regarding trends, participants highlighted the role of education and awareness-raising among youth in deconstructing the myth of the European “El Dorado”. Likewise, many participants mentioned how local labour markets need to become more dynamic: on the one hand, governments would need to undertake several initiatives to absorb the current surplus of workers who migrate because of lack of opportunities. On the other, West African States still need to set up mechanisms to recognise and harness the new skills and experiences of those who have migrated and return either through voluntary or enforced return programmes.

In terms of common challenges, participants cited many pressing issues, such as: the impact of climate change on population movements, whether internal, cross-border or international; the effects of irregular migration on local labour markets, on feeding aspirations for young people and on brain-drain; the lack of reliable, accurate and updated data on migratory movements and its pernicious effects on policy development and resource planning; and finally, the ongoing rural exodus and its effects on local economies.

Examples of good practices and results

MIEUX’s peer-to-peer model of knowledge exchange was validated once again by the participants, who reported great benefits in learning from the examples and practices of EU institutions and of regional counterparts. Delegates were especially positive about their experiences working with Inter-Ministerial Committees that were set up during MIEUX Actions.  See below for a few examples of long-lasting results and follow the links for more information on each individual Action:

 Policy development

In Cabo Verde, the MIEUX Action that supported the formulation of the National Immigration Strategy helped to integrate migration into national development planning and improved the internal coordination and exchange of knowledge between national agencies, institutions and ministries. Aside from the strategy itself, the long-standing result is the permanent mechanism of monitoring and evaluation which in turns feeds into new and revised strategies and action plans.

In Niger, MIEUX’s participatory approach to policy development, which implies involving all institutions with a stake in migration in the process, was reported to be a first-time experience for the national administration, which has now incorporated this practice as its methodology for future formulation processes. Similar outcomes were reported by the delegates from Sierra Leone and Togo, where MIEUX supported the formulation of the National Migration Policy and of the National Strategy on Migration and Development, respectively.

In Togo, where MIEUX is supporting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration in formulating SOPs on return, readmission and reintegration of Togolese migrants, the Government is applying MIEUX’s participative approach to a new and more ambitious target: formulating a National Migration Policy through the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up during the MIEUX Action. 

Capacity Building

In Nigeria, MIEUX supported the Nigeria Immigration Service in developing a training manual on Blue Border Management, which has now been incorporated into the training curriculum of the NIS.

What’s next? MIEUX’s legacy in 2019

During the rest of the year, MIEUX will undertake a thorough analysis of all the inputs collected during these events. The analysis will provide the foundations for an updated and comprehensive publication collecting MIEUX’s good practices and recommendations for capacity building and knowledge exchange on migration that will be published in early 2019. This publication will be particularly important to complement ongoing discussions at UN level on the future global capacity building mechanism to support the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration.

Find out more about MIEUX’s 10-year commemorative activities

Find out more about other Regional Round-tables