The Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration: What Africa should demand from the world and from itself

The movement of people today, whether voluntary or forced, regular or undocumented, or within or beyond borders, constitutes a complex process highlighting some of the most tragic, intricate and contentious issues of governance and diplomatic relations. At the same time, migration remains, as it was for centuries, source of integration, prosperity and propagation of cultures, ideas, and values. The priorities of Africa concerning migration have been identified in many AU normative blueprints, including the 2006 Migration Policy Framework for Africa, 1 and the African Common Position on Migration and Development. 2 These documents emphasize the need for addressing displacement and fostering mobility. Displacement (forced migration) needs to be reduced as a matter of necessity and, eradicated when possible. Mobility, on the other hand, needs to be facilitated as an engine of integrative opportunity. 3 Nevertheless, for mobility to be a positive force for integration and thus prosperity, it has to be legal, safe and orderly. The Global Compact on Migration presents a unique opportunity for Africa to articulate and promote its common priorities, opportunities and challenges. The continent needs to affirm its collective resolve to play a part in building an effective global and African migration governance system, beginning with ensuring that its concerns and aspirations are accurately reflected in the upcoming international conference in 2018. 4 What should Africa demand from the international community and the Global Compact? What should the AU demand from global actors such as the UN, EU and other partners? What aspirations and concerns should inform these demands? How can the Global Compact help to reinforce the principles of solidarity and burden sharing? What should the international community and the Global Compact require from Africa? What roles exist for local authorities and local communities, civil society and the private sector in the governance of migration? Can the human rights of migrants serve as anchors for the Global Compact? What should the UN expect from the AU and what should the AU expect from its Member States? Are among the many basic questions that needs to be addressed. This policy brief attempts to address these fundamental (basic) as the same time strategic (long-term) questions. It begins by identifying the challenges of global migration governance that the global compact needs to address. Finally, the brief advances recommendations that the AU and other entities that support pan-African positions on migration governance need to implement.

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