ECOWAS member-states hold deliberations on Valletta Action Plan

A meeting on implementing the Valletta Action Plan by Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) member-states has been held in Accra to deliberate on relevant issues regarding how to maximise the positives of migration to impact positively on the development of countries among others.

The Valletta Action Plan is built around five priority areas, which are development benefits of migration and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement; legal migration and mobility; protection and asylum.

The others are prevention of and fight against irregular migration; migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings and return; readmission and reintegration.

In 2015, records indicate that one million migrants arrived in Europe, with more than 2,000 lives being lost in the process and when the migrants were grouped West Africans featured in the top-five countries of origin.

Representing the Director/Africa and Regional Integration Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Mrs. Sena Siaw-Boateng, and Mr. Eric Persah of the Migration Policy and Advocacy Network, stated that migration is a multi-faceted global issue that has increasingly become a matter of international concern.

“The phenomenon has been a very longstanding and common one in Africa generally and in West Africa in particular, with approximately 19.3 million people on the move on the continent according to World Bank estimates,” he added.

Per his stance, migration from Africa to Europe has been triggered by multiple factors: such as conflict and civil strife, political instability and persecution, poor government, corruption, financial crises and others.

“Many of those that are compelled to migrate for these reasons have only the irregular route through the savannah, Sahara and sea available to them,” he said.

According to him, he hopes the meeting will birth discussions on migration, regular or irregular routes, to safeguard the rights of migrants — especially vulnerable groups such as women, children and the aged; adding that it is vital all stakeholders work as a team so that their interests are respected when implementing the Valleta Action Plan.

Mr. William Hanna, Head of the European Union in Ghana, noted that the EU will support the Valletta Action Plan’s implementation through its ‘EU Emergency Trust Fund’ for stability, and address the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.

He added that unemployment is one of the underpinning reasons why people move from one place to another in the hope of securing economic activity to support themselves.

Mr. Hanna appealed for government to adequately address the issue of unemployment and other pertinent ones that compel people to go through dangerous routes and ordeals to relocate.

Ms. Emmerentia Erasmus, Coordinator, International Centre for Policy Migration and Development (ICMPD), opined that with appropriate initiatives migration can impact development positively.



Source: B&FT Online