24 August 2012/African Press Organization (APO), GENEVA, Switzerland – IOM and Mauritian Chair in Office of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will next week convene a Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) technical meeting on enhancing intra- regional labour migration towards social and economic development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
The two-day and a half day event, which opens on 27th August in Balaclava, Mauritius, will bring together Permanent Secretaries from the SADC nations to discuss ways to optimize the benefits of migration in the region and beyond.
The meeting in Mauritius will cover topics such as the creation of legal frameworks and policies on regional cooperation and challenges in managing labour migration in the SADC region.
It will also put forward concrete ideas on addressing the challenges of credible migration data collection, interpretation and utilization in the region, and focus on regional and bilateral best practices on managing human mobility and labour migration, including the facilitation of circular labour migration, particularly in the context of high youth unemployment and skills shortages.
“MIDSA has created a platform for migration-related issues to be discussed in an informal setting, increasing awareness of both the challenges and best practices in migration management in fields including migration and health, human trafficking, border management, and the facilitated movement of persons. This conference shows there is a commitment to move towards an action-oriented agenda,” says IOM Regional Director for Southern and East Africa Bernardo Mariano.
MIDSA is a consultative process for SADC member states (Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) initiated in 1999 allowing members informally exchange views on migration issues.
All SADC states are today exposed to migration either as source, transit or destination countries. While some migratory movement in the region is related to conflict and insecurity, most is economic and involves people looking for work and better lives.
While there are some major policy concerns and challenges, including the protection of the rights of migrant workers and effective responses to irregular migration, well managed labour migration flows lead to mutual benefits for both migrants and states.
Remittances can also contribute significantly to national development in sending countries. This raises policy issues including the lowering of transfer costs and encouraging the use of remittances in sustainable development.
“There is a need for collaboration between SADC states on creating legal channels for labour migrants and harmonizing immigration policy and legislation across the SADC region,” notes Bernardo Mariano.