May 13, 2024

SADC Heads of Immigration, Labour Commissioners and Statistics meet to engage on migration information and data management

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of Immigration, Labour Commissioners and Statistics held a meeting on reporting on indicators of the SADC Regional Migration Policy Framework and Action Plan as well as the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) Reporting Matrix, in Livingstone, Zambia from 06-10 May 2024. 

The Conference was aimed at strengthening collection of migration data in the region, as SADC recognises the development potential of migration and the vital part it plays in regional integration and socio-economic development, as espoused in various SADC instruments and initiatives, such as the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) (2020-2030). The Conference focused on the SADC Regional Migration Policy Framework (RMPF) and Global Compact on Migration (GCM) objectives and in preparation for the Continental Review of the GCM.

In his official opening remarks, Dr Japhet M. Lishomwa, Director General for Immigration of the Republic of Zambia underscored that Heads of Immigration, Labour Commissioners, and Heads of National Statistical Agencies play a critical role in the  process of reporting on the implementation of the GCM, as well as the Regional Migration Policy Framework and that data collection, analysis, and reporting remains essential to ensure that the region has a clear and accurate picture of efforts made towards achieving the aspirations of the GCM and the SADC Regional Migration Policy Framework.

The Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat, Professor Kula I. Theletsane highlighted the importance of Migration statistics in regional integration and development. He buttressed that the availability of comprehensive, disaggregated data allows for sound, evidence-based policies that ensure that no migrant is left behind, especially the most vulnerable ones; supports Governments and communities to harness the economic potential of migration as migration data allows for highlighting migrants’ contribution through the transfer of remittances and knowledge, trade and foreign direct investment and allow monitoring of progress made towards achieving global commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals and those contained in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Regional Director Mati Hashemee, noted positive development and progress in regional integration through Regional Economic Communities (RECs) such as improved cross-border transport options and infrastructure, and growing opportunities in circular cross border trade and that SADC countries are easing visa exemptions in line with the SADC Protocol on the Facilitation of Movements of Persons. 

The meeting successfully consolidated data from Member States, drawn from various sources such as Census and Labour reports, Government and other Statistical Reports, Civil Registries and Police and Court reports, amongst others. 

The meeting was jointly convened with the IOM with representation from all 16 SADC Member States. The joint undertaking between the two organisations underscored the commitment of both partners to promote safe, orderly, and regular migration in the region.