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Africa Panel, Children’s Conference Consider Migration Solutions

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launched a High Level Panel on Migration in Africa, tasked with making recommendations to build and sustain political consensus on implementing the international migration development agenda. The Panel will report to the African Union Heads of State Summit in July 2018.The panel was originally established in April 2016 by UNECA, under the direction of the joint AU and UNECA Conference of Ministers. It is chaired by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, and composed of 14 members. The panel will hold consultations at the national, regional and global levels. It is mandated to take into account the particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

Addressing the launch event on 6 June 2017, in Monrovia, Abdalla Hamdok, Acting Executive Secretary, UNECA, noted that travel in Africa by Africans is curtailed by stringent visa requirements, excessive border controls and immigration restrictions. This increases costs, he noted, and multiplies the risks that migrants are forced to undertake. Maureen Achieng, International Organization for Migration (IOM), reported that there are an estimated 7.5 million West African migrants in West Africa, compared to 1.2 million in North America and Europe combined.

On 12-13 June 2017, in Berlin, Germany, the Global Conference on Children on the Move gathered participants from States, civil society, academia, UN agencies and the private sector to assess progress, and outline challenges and solutions to ensure that all children on the move are adequately protected, supported and empowered. The conference was organized by the Initiative on Child Rights in the Global Compacts, an initiative driven by a civil society-led steering committee co-convened by Save the Children and Terre des Hommes, and supported by more than 20 organizations.

The Initiative also highlighted a working document titled ‘Child Rights in the Global Compacts,’ which outlines goals, targets and indicators aligned with the 2030 Agenda. The document allows key commitments to child rights, as outlined in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants (A/RES/71/1), to be operationalized across the forthcoming global compact on migration, as well as the eventual compact on refugees. The document is expected be finalized and made available by the end of June 2017.

The 2030 Agenda marks the first time that migration has been included in the global development agenda, said Chen.

In an interview with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Haoyi Chen, UN Statistics Division (UNSD), said the 2030 Agenda marks the first time that migration has been included in the global development agenda, citing SDG target 10.7, which deals exclusively with migration, calling on countries to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility, and to implement well-managed migration policies. The 2030 Agenda includes several other targets that address migration, and covers issues including human trafficking, labor standards for migrant workers, health workforce development, student migration and the transfer costs of remittances, she said. Chen also highlighted huge demands for statistics related to migration, brought about both by the 2030 Agenda and the growing attention to migration as a global issue. She stressed the importance of reliable and timely data, and noted the urgent need for: implementing existing migration standards; refining new migration-related concepts; leveraging traditional data sources and exploring innovative means of data collection with a view to producing data needed for SDG monitoring. An Expert Group Meeting on Improving Migration Data in the Context of the 2030 Agenda will convene from 20-22 June 2017, in New York, US.

Consultations among UN Member States are underway to prepare for the intergovernmental conference to adopt a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration in the fall of 2018. [UN Press Release on High Level Panel Launch] [ECA Press Release on High Level Panel] [UN Press Release on Global Conference on Children on the Move] [Global Conference Website] [Working Document: Child Rights in the Global Compacts] [DESA Interview on Migration Data]