African Migration Observatory

Last week, the African Union finalized and accepted the Moroccan initiative to establish a new African Migration Observatory, which will be based in the capital city of Rabat.

The goal of the Observatory, as stated by the Moroccan government is to “understand, anticipate and act” on all matters of migration, focused primarily of inter-African mobility. The proposal was accepted based on the “African Agenda on Migration,” a non-binding document permeated by a co-development approach and containing ideas, proposals and thoughts shared by official institutions, civil society organizations and researchers from Africa to address migration challenges.”

As regards migration management, the Agenda proposes an approach based on national policies, sub-regional coordination, a continental vision and international more...

An Observatory, as defined by the dictionary is a place of observation, documenting and information gathering. With the urgency the Moroccan government mentioned on the need to have better coordination center on migration, more forceful and clear actions are needed. It remains for us to see what the Observatory’s full mandate is, and importantly, if important civil society stakeholders will be invited to participate and propose strategies and ideas.

Morocco’s city of Marrakesh is the venue for the final adaptation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at this year’s GFMD (Global Forum on Migration & Development ) in early December. The country’s own migration policies and treatment of migrants, including many from Sub Saharan Africa will be under scrutiny. Morocco’s relationship to the European Union is that of a neighbor but also associate country of the EU framed in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean. Among the ENP countries, Morocco has been recognized an advanced status, opening up to high levels of political cooperation. It should be recalled that in 1987, Morocco applied to join the European Communities (the precursor to the European Union). The application was rejected on the grounds that Morocco was not considered to be a "European country" and hence could not join.

Morocco’s relationship to other African countries, particularly those South of the Sahara remains a complicated story. Last year, amidst much controversy, it joined the African Union, after 33 years of absence, becoming the 55th member state. In 1984, it left the Organization of African Unity (now the AU) when the body recognized the independence of Western Sahara. With a reinforced agenda to focus on “African solutions” we can expect more from Morocco in the coming years, and especially as relates to the implementation of the Global Compact. Already, encouragingly rejected last week’s proposal by the AU to allow migrants rescued in international waters to request asylum in the EU from "regional disembarkation platforms" located outside Europe. At a summit in Brussels last week, European leaders agreed to a deal that would see EU countries voluntarily establishing "controlled centers" to process migrants' asylum claims and “regional disembarkation platforms" to process migrants outside the bloc — most likely in Northern African countries.

  • Facebook B&W
  • Twitter B&W
  • Instagram B&W