Faced with a non-inclusive MIDWA, build our own dialogue spaces.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), religious organizations, migrant organizations and trade unions were briefed on the meeting of government experts of the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA). While recognizing the need for a dialogue framework for good regional governance of mobility and migration in West Africa; West African Non-State organizations are shocked by the lack of an inclusive and transparent process allowing a wide participation of all actors involved on this subject in West Africa. Indeed, the majority of West African non-state organizations took note of the holding of this meeting on the eve of its opening thanks to an email sent by the West African Observatory on Migrations. This last minute email from the Observatory, which aimed to prepare a final common position of the civil society, showed how the organizers of the MIDWA did not find it useful to associate validly all the West African Non-State organizations for a successful dialogue with state actors. Given the lack of consideration shown by the organizers of MIDWA that are the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the ECOWAS Commission, not to mention the European Union (EU) as a funder, the West Africans Non-State organizations would like to draw their attention to the following points:

1-      Many associations, NGOs, churches, and trade unions intervene daily with West African States and international organizations to provide services to migrants and protect their rights. The efforts made by these organizations and their acquired expertise deserve to be validly included and concerted in the Migration Dialogue for West Africa.

2-       Non-State organizations working on migration in West Africa regularly interact with the ECOWAS Commission and international organizations, including IOM. However, the lack of transparency in the MIDWA organizing process prevents them from contributing to the dialogue on migration in West Africa.

3-      The United Nations 2030 Agenda, which aims to leave no one behind, stresses the importance of including Non-State Actors at all levels in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). States, Regional Economic Communities and international organizations such as IOM are in principle obliged to ensure that these commitments are respected. But this is far from being the case as demonstrated by the MIDWA organization process.

4-      Finally, the Global Compact for Migration, adopted in December 2018 in Marrakech, considers civil society and trade unions as full partners for the achievement of a safe, orderly and regular migration at regional and global level. The International Organization for Migration and its representations are expected to play a leading role in the implementation of this compact. This can not be done without transparent and inclusive processes on their part. The MIDWA 2019 has just proved that we are far from all that.

Following these findings, civil society organizations, religious organizations, migrant organizations and trade unions, after multiple exchanges and reflections recommend:

The creation and self-organization of a specific space for West African Non-State Actors to contribute to the regional governance of migration. This space, which will be inclusive to all non-state actors working on migration in West Africa, will better promote our expertise and express our concerns to States and the ECOWAS Commission.

The creation of an institutional mechanism for direct dialogue between the ECOWAS Commission and the citizens of the community, without the intermediation of international organizations or the European Union, in order to ensure that the expectations of the citizens of the community are really taken into account for an ECOWAS of peoples.

Done at August 20, 2019


West African Observatory on Migrations, African Trade Union Migration Network (ATUMNET), Réseau des OSC de l’Afrique de l’Ouest sur la Migration (MIGRAFRIQUE), Réseau des Organisations Syndicales du Bénin pour la Migration (ROSYB Migration – Benin), ONG Migration et Développement Ici et Là-bas (Bénin), Union des Ressortissants de la CEDEAO au Bénin (UR CEDEAO – Benin),  Centre de Promotion et du Développement Social (CEPRODES – Burkina Faso),  Réseau Ouest Africain pour la Lutte Contre l’Immigration Clandestine (REALIC – Côte d’ivoire), Plateforme des Centrales Syndicales sur la Migration de Côte d’Ivoire (PCSM – Côte d’Ivoire),  Ecowas Youth Council (Guinea), ONG LEJEPAD (Guinea), Réseau Mondial Guinée Nouvelle (Guinea), Better Future Foundation (Liberia), Union des Jeunes Pour la Paix et la Nation Africaine (Niger), ONG AMAM (Niger), Centre for Youths Integrated Development (Nigeria), Cadre d’Action et de Réflexion Intersyndicales sur la Migration (CARISM – Senegal), Réseau Intersyndical d’Appui aux Migrants (Senegal), Réseau pour la Défense des Droits des Migrants (Sénégal), Network of Ex-Asylum Seekers (NEAS – Sierra Leone), Visions Solidaires (Togo), Association des Journalistes de la thématique Migration et Développement (AJMD – Benin), ONG Bénin Alafia (Benin), ONG VADID (Benin); ONG IDID (Benin),

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