Migration, when well-managed, is an enabler of development. That is why for the first time ever, Migration was acknowledged as an enabler of Development in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly SDG Target 10.7, which aims to facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. President of the Republic of Malawi and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has said.
H. E President Chakwera was delivering a keynote address on the occasion of the Commissioning of the first Southern Africa Migration Report and the 70th Anniversary Celebrations of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 17th December, 2021.
He commended SADC Member States for their commitment in passing laws which protect and promote the rights and interests of Refuges and Migrants. He said such laws are important in the development of strategies and policies which facilitate regular pathways for them in search of better life.
H. E. President Chakwera highlighted that “Africa Migration Report: Challenging the Narrative” that was launched in 2020 successfully challenged the myth that suggests that Africans mainly migrate to Europe. He said what the report showed instead, which corresponds well with experience as Africans, is that Africans migrate more within the African Continent, particularly within their own region and to neighboring countries. The empirical data has significant implications on the strategies employed by the Region to address migration issues.
For his part, SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi applauded IOM for having worked closely with governments and other actors to support Member States to respond to both Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth in 2019, the two devastating cyclones which resulted in combined displacements of at least 650,000 persons in Comoros, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He thanked IOM for providing shelter and other essential commodities as well as providing support services including displacement tracking and advisory support.
The Executive Secretary said as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, SADC Region counts on IOM’s support in ensuring that the global community adopts prudent, appropriate and non-discriminatory responses that foster great international cooperation in the response. He noted that no country or region can successfully shield itself from the pandemic without coordinated global efforts, especially concerning the movement of persons.
The IOM or as it was first known, the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe (PICMME), was established in 1951 out of the chaos and displacement of Western Europe as a result of the Second World War of 1939-45.
From its formative years as an operational logistics agency, it has expanded its scope to become the leading international agency working with governments and civil society to advance the understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration and uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.