High-Level Panel Stresses Positive Contribution of Migrants in Africa
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The High-Level Panel on Migration in Africa, headed by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, met to advance their strategies related to migration for African development.

The fifth round of intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is taking place from 4-8 June 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

29 May 2018: The High-Level Panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) discussed migration strategies for African development. A report from the Panel is expected to be submitted to the African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit, in January 2019. Also in May, the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) held a consultative meeting, addressing the forthcoming global compacts on both migrants and refugees.

The HLPM, headed by former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, met from 28-29 May 2018, in Geneva, Switzerland, to advance strategies related to migration for African development. Sirleaf said one of the key messages emerging from the Panel’s work is the need for African states to “pursue a course of action and rigorous implementation to harness the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development.” She outlined the economic opportunity created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), saying it has a potential market of 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $US 2.5 trillion.

Songwe said the free movement of people is necessary to achieve Africa’s economic transformation.

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), noted the close links between the AfCFTA and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, adding that the free movement of people, not just goods and services, is necessary to achieve Africa’s economic transformation. She also highlighted the need to sensitize African leaders “so that migration becomes part of the national political agenda,” and mentioned the strong collaboration between UNECA and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to produce high-quality data towards this end.

The meeting’s discussions should feed into a report by the Panel aiming to raise awareness on migration in Africa, and to outline recommendations to help build Africa’s case for facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration. The report is expected to be submitted to the AU Heads of State and Government Summit in January 2019.

HLPM was launched on 6 June 2017 and is made up of 16 eminent persons, including representatives of governments, the private sector, academia, and civil society. [ECA Press Release on HLPM Meeting of 23 May 2018] [ECA Press Release on HLPM Meeting of 28 May 2018] [IOM Press Release] [HLPM Functions and Composition]

At the IGC meeting, held in Paris, France, UN Secretary-General António Guterres (via video message) highlighted the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. He said the compact will mark the start of “what is expected to be a long journey towards equitable and humane ways of managing human mobility, anchored in respect for the rule of law.” The global compact for refugees, meanwhile, seeks to establish a workable framework for international cooperation, grounded in the international refugee protection regime.

The IGC is an informal, non-decision making forum for intergovernmental information exchange and policy debate on issues of relevance to the management of international migratory flows. The IGC brings together 17 participating States, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), IOM and the EU. [UN Secretary-General’s message] [IGC Website]

The fifth round of intergovernmental negotiations on the migration compact convenes from 4-8 June 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The meeting includes discussions on a second revised draft of the compact and two informal dialogues with stakeholders. [SDG Knowledge Hub story on second revised draft] [All SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of migration compact process]


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