Fred Itua, Abuja
Global experts in the Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa Project, at the weekend, reflected on set goals regarding issues of labour migration, border management and counter trafficking in the region.
The programme, which attracted immigration and diplomatic officials from countries in the region, had expert support from the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as well as relevant departments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Speakers at the event included the Chief of Mission IOM Nigeria, Frantz Celestine, Project Officer, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Eleni Zerzelidou, Director, Migration Dialogues and Cooperation of the ICMPD, Martijn Pluim, as well as the Director of Gender, Youth and Sports, Civil Society Organisations, Employment and Drug Control, ECOWAS Commission, Dr Sinkiti Tarfa Ugbe.
In his opening remarks at the ‘Demand Driven Facility DDF Workshop’, Director, Migration Dialogues and Cooperation of the ICMPD, Martijn Pluim said noted that the free movement of people is a central dimension of the integration process in West Africa as it facilitates exchange, trade, commerce and contributes to knitting societies in the region closer together.
“To fully tap into this potential, more needs to be done to further promote the implementation of the ECOWAS protocols and frameworks at the regional and national levels. To this end, the FMM West Africa Project was established as a partnership between IOM, ILO and ICMPD and funded by the European Union and ECOWAS.”
Plu said as the FMM West Africa Project is coming to an end, and its last activities implemented under the Demand Driven Facility being wrapped up, “it is crucial to take some time to reflect on the lessons learnt and best practices that can be drawn from the actions implemented under this instrument. These lessons will help us to continuously improve and adapt to changing requirements.”
The first protocol relating to the Free Movement of Persons was adopted in May 1979, and along with the supplementary protocols and the 2008 ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration, represents the cornerstone of the regional migration governance framework until today.