Analysis of migration patterns to address issues and impacts
Historically migration has had negative connotations with many discussions centering around control and security issues. This perception is currently evolving, led by enhanced awareness of the ramifications of migration. Discussions now centre around improving partnership building and cooperation practices between regions and countries creating improvements in policy development, human rights and economic development.
Understanding the cause and effects
Across the 79 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) migration is common and happens for a variety of reasons. Some are economic but also increasingly, some can be put down to the effects of climate change on the natural environment. Little attention has ever been paid to analysing migration patterns or to addressing the issues and impacts it brings with it - until now.
In 2009 the Intra-ACP Migration Facility was set up to help ACP countries better understand and manage their migratory flows and the consequences of these flows. As part of this, leading an international consortium, we set up a Project Management Unit (PMU), based in Brussels, to develop and reinforce the capacity of regional and national institutions, as well as support ACP civil society on questions about migration and development. The Facility worked within 6 pilot regions in Southern Africa, West Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, the Carribean and the Pacific in 12 pilot countries.
Spreading the word
Speaking on Lesotho national television in early 2014 at the Basotho Diaspora (people with roots in Lesotho living outside the country) Conference, our Southern Africa Managing Director, Varsha Ramballey who served as Project Director was able to illustrate one example of why this facility has been so crucial. “Migration is a major phenomenon in Lesotho which appears to be causing many broader development challenges for the country. The Intra ACP Migration Facility has played a significant role in supporting the Government of Lesotho hosting a series of conferences. These conferences have resulted in dialogue between the Government of Lesotho and civil society on the one hand, and the Basotho Diaspora on the other hand. The facility has also delivered a number of imperative policy frameworks and agreements and resulted in the establishment of a Migration and Development Department by the National Department of Home Affairs which will sustain these policies through a structured implementation programme”.
In 2010, the seriousness of the situation in Lesotho saw 21% of the total population living outside the country. By supporting the government and bringing their departments together to come up with solutions and start implementing the necessary actions the socio-economic future of Lesotho is looking brighter.
Speaking at the Basotho Diaspora Conference the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs in Lesotho, honourable ‘Malebitso Ralebitso’ said “Thanks to our consultants. Thank you so much for restoring our confidence. You also spoke about involving people at grassroots level and that’s exactly what we want to hear“.
Giving crucial support at all levels
Ensuring that representatives from civil society organisations can participate in political policy dialogue will ensure that the needs and rights of migrants are validated and taken into account. Supporting this, our work to ensure that mainstream migration is integrated into national and regional development strategies and policies will only serve to improve the living conditions and rights for all people living in ACP countries, migrant or otherwise so that they all have a ‘better’ place to live in.