On 9-10 October 2019, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), and the Gorée Institute jointly organized a two-day multi-stakeholder dialogue on the theme “Migration, Peace and Security: What Role for CSOs”. The forum, held on Gorée Island, Senegal, attracted over 30 participants from civil society, government, academia, and international and regional organizations in 10 countries.
The dialogue sought to explore migration and free movement of people in the nexus of regional integration, address the pros and cons of this discourse, and recommend practical operable recommendations for the AU, Member States, RECs/RMs and other stakeholders working on migration, peace and security.
The specific objectives of the forum were to:
- Assess the situation of migration and displacement in Africa and challenges posed;
- Discuss strategic approaches that protect the human rights of migrants and refugees in countries of destination, transit, and origin;
- Identify the critical role of CSOs on the topic.
- Civil society, government and development actors tend to work in silos, with government usually going to CSOs after making decisions, not before or during the decision-making process. More efforts towards policy dialogue are needed to achieve harmonious development.
- As actors at the grassroots level, civil society organizations are expected to monitor and advocate for the implementation of regional and international instruments agreed to by their governments. At the community level, CSOs have a key role to play – their proximity to local populations means they have access to critical information that decision makers can use, such as quantitative data on which areas need social services and gender disparities. Community dialogue facilitators have also been used to intervene in the prevention of conflict and violent extremism, and to strengthen social cohesion in communities.
- For women, migration is a means to increase their income, be empowered, and access an environment with less barriers to gender equality. However, female migrants are also exposed to intimidation, discrimination, sexual exploitation, xenophobia, and poor and unsafe work conditions. The gender dimension of migration and security should be fully acknowledged and addressed in policy discussions.
- Finally, regions seeing the most movement are not necessarily the most unstable; factors other than migration account for insecurity in those regions. CSOs have a comparative advantage to change the dominant media narrative about African migration, and they must strive to do so.
Click here to view photos from the forum.