On the last day of the MIDWA meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire yesterday (25/8), an agreement was reached between the members of the ECOWAS on a joint action plan. Ministers, delegates and experts worked together for three days to draw up the action plan and approved a steering committee to monitor the progress of migration management in West Africa.
The MIDWA meeting was organised by ECOWAS to discuss the challenges of free movement of persons and migration in the ECOWAS region. Each member state acknowledged the fact that there is room for improvement.
The ECOWAS region is characterized by high levels of cross-border human mobility and migration caused by climate change. The challenges they face also include terrorism and corruption at the borders. The social and economic impact of the free movement of persons has also been undermined by the lack of support and viable integration policies of ECOWAS member states.
High-level experts and government officials from the 15 member states of the ECOWAS region and Mauritania discussed and worked on seven themes: border management, diaspora, professional mobility and student exchange, the impact of climate changes, data management, reintegration and partnerships. They discussed and listed up recommendations for each topic.
Some of the key recommendations of the meeting included: the need to update legal frameworks in terms of refusing entry to people without travel documents (border management); the need to consider migration as a social issue (diaspora); the need to strengthen cross-border natural resource management mechanisms through greater involvement of local authorities (climate change); and the need for continuous awareness raising in relation to citizens’ rights and free movement (partnerships).