The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is composed of 8 countries in East and the Horn of Africa, namely Djibouti, Eritrea1, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. These countries have and continue to experience common challenges of movement of mixed migrant populations whether in search of economic opportunities or as a result of forceful displacement due to civil strive, disasters such as floods, and droughts amongst other reasons have also seen displacement of populations.
The region also has a significant diaspora that is found in the Middle East, Europe and North America comprising a great resource that if tapped could contribute to the development of the region. Many of the IGAD countries continue to export labour mostly semiskilled within the region and beyond; however, labour migration continues to be a challenge as often it has been a conduit for criminals to take advantage of and engage in smuggling and trafficking.
Member states have also not taken full advantage of the development potential of migration by not mainstreaming it in development planning. This may be due to lack of capacity and expertise on how to do this. With these countries sharing porous borders, migration goes on both regularly and irregularly. One of the reason this happens is because migration continues to be handled and dealt with by different government agencies and polices that do not speak to or cooperate with each other.
There is also little information sharing not only within agencies but its more lacking at the regional level, which makes border management especially a challenge.
Short historic background of Migration Programme
Migration at IGAD is addressed within the framework of the Regional Migration Policy Framework (RMPF) that is derived from the continental framework on Migration adopted in Banjul in 2006. The framework was adopted by the IGAD Council of Ministers in 2012 and has become the primary IGAD policy reference on migration. The IGAD RMPF provides a comprehensive policy approach that addresses thematic, institutional and other challenges related to migration governance in the IGAD Region. The ultimate objective of the Regional Migration Policy Framework is to realize the well-being and protection of migrants including IDPs and refugees in all IGAD Member States and the realisation of the developmental potential of migration.
In order to implement the RMPF, the IGAD Secretariat developed the Migration Action Plan (MAP) 2015-2020. This document was drafted in response to the findings of several assessments on migration and population displacement in the IGAD region as well an identification of priorities exercise conducted within member states and validated regionally.
The MAP comprises twelve strategic priorities with clusters of activities constructed around the key components and recommendations of the IGAD RMPF. Priorities include, amongst others, ensuring better management of labour migration, supporting and facilitating the cross-border and internal mobility of pastoralist communities, building national data systems on migration and accelerating economic integration and prosperity through the facilitation of free movement of people in the IGAD region.
Since 2008, a regional migration dialogue platform was established through the IGAD Regional Consultative Process (RCP) on migration. The RCP has offered Member States a platform for dialogue and cooperation in various aspects of migration. Decisions and recommendations that emanate from the RCP are endorsed by IGAD policy organs ensuring action is taken on them.
IGAD member States continue to search for a common rationale and a process to manage the mobility of people and reduce irregular migration, through cooperative efforts such as harmonized law and common agreements on labour migration. However, a challenge lies in the fact that the countries of the region do not have concise information on the state of migration in their own countries and within the region as a whole. This gap has been a hindrance to effective planning and migration management and appreciating the role of migration in development of the region.
To address this problem Switzerland is currently supporting the migration program at IGAD with the objective of building regional and national capacities for the implementation of the Regional Migration Policy Framework (RMPF) to enhance Migration
Governance and the protection of migrants thus supporting regional integration and development.