Trends: what were the needs on the ground in 2021?

In MIEUX+, we work on a demand-driven basis, receiving requests for capacity development assistance from partners based in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the EU Neighbourhood. This is one of our key features and one that helps us to paint a picture of the current needs on the ground.

Nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic spread at an international level, and with a string of new requests in several regions, what are some of the trends that we can observe? What are the topics that stand out among the new requests and what can we infer from the situation in the regions where we work? Overall, how is capacity development helping government institutions with their needs on migration?

The starting point

These questions have prompted us to delve once more into our portfolio of projects and draw some preliminary observations from the 32 expressions of interest received during 2021. Many of the requests allude to the shifts in management, resource planning and service delivery tied to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, whilst others attempt to take this time to set the foundations for long terms plans.

When analysing our portfolio, we can see “classic” topics such as labour migration, border management and trafficking in human beings alongside newer topics such as climate change, integration, and the role of local government. A surge in interest from Central Asian authorities has resulted in five new Actions in the region.

Capacity development to navigate times of crisis

Aside from topics, it is important to note that the pace of expressions of interest has not slowed down. Institutions around the world continue to trust in capacity development to navigate the challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic. Placing emphasis on mutual exchange of knowledge and lessons learned we received 32 expressions of interest during 2021, similar in number to the 36 received during the previous year. Following an internal approval procedure, approved requests were transformed into projects (Actions) with activities that either began in the second half of 2021 or that will start in the coming weeks.

Increasing competencies of public officials

In fact, COVID-19 continues to be a major factor driving the need for innovation, resilience and sustainability for Public Administrations around the world. Increasing the knowledge, skills and competencies of public officials remains a top priority for many MIEUX+ partners around the world.

  • One specific example is Mauritius, where authorities are focusing on countering trafficking networks. The steep recession brought on by the pandemic offers fertile ground for criminal networks to thrive, prompting the Prime Minister’s Office to request our support to strengthen the capacities of public officials in the area of identification, referral, investigation and prosecution of trafficking. The Action will support the development of Standard Operating Procedures for the management of trafficking cases.

Cooperation and networks for effective institutions

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the importance of horizontal and vertical coordination to manage complex crises. Strong cooperation among government bodies as well as other actors including academia, civil society and the private sector has proven essential. Several partners around the world are relying on our expertise in this area to request support.

  • In Moldova, we will support the Ministry of Interior to develop an inter-institutional monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the effective implementation of their Integrated Border Management (IBM) Strategy, which will improve inter-agency cooperation and regular information exchange.

  • In Tajikistan, remittances from international migrant workers represent nearly 30% of the country’s GDP. Global travel restrictions imposed in early 2020 and legislative changes in destination countries have severely restricted mobility for many of these workers. In this difficult context, the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Employment and three civil society organisations wish to enhance coordination among civil society partners and private employment agencies to raise awareness on ethical recruitment and migrants’ rights. We will support them in this endeavour with a new Action.

  • In the Gran Chaco region, shared between Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and second in biodiversity only to the Amazon rainforest, environmental degradation and agricultural practices are causing population displacement and disrupting livelihoods for many of the indigenous groups who reside in the area. A network of academia, local and regional authorities as well as civil society organisations joined forces to request our support in formulating a policy and other instruments for the management of environmental migration at subnational level.

Policies to set strong foundations

In spite of the volatile situation, some partners are choosing to concentrate on improving their policy frameworks to construct a sustainable architecture of migration.

  • During 2021, we supported the Government of Benin in including migration and mobility in their National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change, which was finalised during the COP21 Conference in Glasgow.

  • In 2022, we will support Costa Rica’s Directorate of Migration and Foreigners with the evaluation of the Second National Integration Plan, formulated in 2017 with a previous Action and formulation of the Third Integration Plan, which will cover 2023 -2027.

  • In Uganda, Africa’s largest refugee-hosting country, we will support the Municipal Council of Nebbi, Yumbe Town Council and the NGO Urban Afrikanischer Traum (Uganda), home to 60% of refugees and asylum seekers in the area, to include migration into local planning and policies.

2022: towards a new normal?

The expressions of interest we received during the last year gave us a glimpse of the situation on the ground for many partners. New realities brought on by the pandemic are challenging tried, tested methodologies and forcing Public Administrations to innovate. Despite challenges, our partners are continuously seeking ways to cooperate and strengthen capacities, persevering in their efforts to build sustainable and durable solutions for migrants and local populations.

In 2022 and beyond, MIEUX+ Actions will continue to help governments and other stakeholders to inspire each other by sharing practices, solutions and actions on a range of different topics. In these last two years of implementation, mostly done in a virtual setting, we have learned to adapt our practices to the shifting priorities and restrictions to mobility brought on by the pandemic. Whilst a “new normal” is still far ahead on the horizon, we will continue to represent a needs-based solution for Public Administrations around the world.