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Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Director General, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino, has affirmed that migration is key to development.

António Vitorino said this during his first visit to Sahel and Senegal where he expressed his concern about the increasing vulnerability of local populations and migrants across the region.

DG Vitorino attended the G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital. At the submit, he met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

The meeting triggered a discussion about IOM’s strategic engagement in the country, with specific reference to integrated border management, diaspora engagement and overall governance of migration in line with the country’s commitments to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

During his meeting with the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, DG Vitorino discussed migration and development issues and pledged IOM’s support to the government in assisting internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The Director General had a meeting with the G5 Sahel Permanent Secretary, Maman Sambo Sidikou, to discuss the relevance of migration, especially transhumance and environmental migration for the Sahel, and pledged IOM’s support to the G5 Sahel Secretariat.

Senegal has demonstrated commitment to the Compact since the period of negotiations leading up to its adoption in December 2018. DG Vitorino expressed his hope that Senegal would continue to champion the Compact including for the upcoming Regional Review to take place at the end of this year.

“The Sahel is a very important region for IOM,” DG Vitorino said.

“We should not look at migration from a security point of view only, but rather as a phenomenon that can help the development of countries. And, to that end, we must find the best cooperation tools between those countries,” he added.

In the Sahel, communities face increasing pressure over access to resources aggravated by environmental degradation, and in turn exacerbating intra- and inter-communal tensions, leading to displacement and community vulnerability. In Burkina Faso alone, the number of internally displaced persons has increased eight-fold in the past year, rising from 87,000 IDPs in January 2019 to over 700,000 in February 2020.

Migration across the region is complex, and its management reveals important challenges, including the lack of data on mobility, weak border management and controls, irregular migration, human trafficking, and a recurrent need of humanitarian assistance.

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