Africa and Global Compact on Migration
Now that the Global Compact on Migration has been adopted – what’s the next step?
This is the question in the minds of many who invested time and energy to attend Migration Week in Marrakech Morocco in early December 2018
The process that led to the adaptation of the Compact started two years ago, following a high level United Nations summit. The New York Declaration which came out of the deliberations was historic, backed by nearly 193 member states and led towards the formation of modalities of what a Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration would look like.
It has been a long and arduous journey. For those participating from the Africa region, civil society was present with a single representative who attended key negotiation sessions in New York and Geneva on behalf of PANiDMR. The lack of adequate representation by the diverse and multitude of civil society organizations whose issues and voices need to be elevated is a matter of great concern, a point I have raised time again, and echoed by many others. Two organizations that played a role in inclusion in information and participation, with representatives from Africa and the diaspora were: Global Coalition on Migration (GCM) and Women in Migration Network (WiMN) both have active members from Africa region and the diaspora contributing and expanding to analysis from regional and issue lens.
The final version of the Compact did not receive as many backers as has been expected in the endorsement of the New York Declaration. Regardless, the adaptation by over 150 countries some say is an enormous feat given the current political tensions around migration and in particular, rise in xenophobic, anti-immigrant sentiments and ultra-right parties in Europe and the United States.
During the negotiations, some 34 African government representatives had banned together, calling themselves as an ad hoc Africa Group. This body was responsible for the inclusion of the last Objective 23 Strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe. Moving forward, the question remains, where to now with the Compact. Issues of modalities and governance on implementation and review remain unsettled with various UN bodies and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) working out the mechanisms. Here too are the big questions on what role, if any, civil society organizations can play – if any.
First a look at the Compact and how African countries voted in favor, to adopt, or not. Here is a run down of what the count looks like: Of the 162 states that adopted the Compact, 46 are in Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea -Bissau, Madagascar, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. Of the 33 states that did not adopt, six are African countries: Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Switzerland
For complete list of all countries that voted to adopt, or not, or abstained, view this chart C:\Users\nunukidane\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Outlook\3SSSASDR\Voting on Compact 19Dec2018.pdf
The voting tally showing the position of countries will be relevant as civil society organizations move forward towards implementation and domestication of the Compact in this year and years to come. CSOs are looking to develop advocacy strategies at national level, which is related to some of the AU conventions mentioned above.
For much detailed analysis on thistopic, please read Tsion Tadesse Abebe's Policy Brief "Global Compact for Migration, Enhancing African migration govrnance" from the Institute for Security Studies