Facilitating South – South Labour Migration for Development - GFMD
Senior government experts from across the globe, as well as representatives of Civil Society Organisations, Labour Unions, Employer Associations and International Organisations gathered in Abuja, Nigeria on 17 and 18 October for the thirteenth thematic meeting of the 2011 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
This meeting, co-organised by the Governments of Nigeria and Switzerland, featured two days of intense debate on facilitating South – South Labour Migration for Development, and gathered around 90 participants. The meeting forms part of a series of 14 thematic meetings which has characterised the 2011 GFMD process under Swiss chairmanship, and entailed an unique approach of convening the GFMD in the regions. Its recommendations will feed into the final concluding GFMD meeting which will take place in Geneva on 1 and 2 December.
In many regions of the world South-South migration remains the most important form of human mobility, and is often overshadowed by discussions on North-South migration which dominates the media. The economic and social gains of South South labour migration can be further harnessed and demands a renewed focus and tools to foster its potential. The search for better economic prospects is often the main driving force behind these migratory movements. Some regional free movement frameworks exist in the Global South, notably within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) but are in many cases not fully implemented. They set a legal basis in this area, including for labour mobility. However migratory movements driven by the search of a better life in many cases remain irregular. This results in a lack of protection for the rights of these migrants.
This initiative is just one of many activities the Governments of Nigeria and Switzerland have initiated after concluding a Migration Partnership earlier this year. This pioneering agreement on migration issues is the first of its kind Switzerland has signed with an African state. It paves the way for strengthening comprehensive and global cooperation to the mutual benefit of both countries.
During the meeting, experts exchanged views, best practices and experiences on promoting labour migration for development. These debates and their conclusions will contribute to partnership building between States, expert-level networks and building common positions across regions. Furthermore the sessions led to a better grasp of the complexity of the issues at stake and guided the participants through possible practical approaches on how to translate theoretical evidence into coherent policies in various relevant sectors such as migration, labour markets, social security, development etc. Finally the meeting deliberated the roles of relevant implementing partners, from civil society and International Organisations to unions and employers associations.
The meeting highlighted that there is little available and reliable data on South – South labor mobility. For the participants it was quite apparent that South – South labour migration is not yet perceived as particularly relevant at the political level of governments. This is partially due to the lack of evidence which could show in a concise way the importance of better managed labour mobility for national and regional development and integration processes. The participants also underlined the fact that South - South mobility yields an important development impact which has not yet been fully grasped or reaped. Furthermore, it was emphasised that South – South labour migration raises important social protection issues as well as challenges to the protection of the rights of migrants. Finally, the need to effectively facilitate and manage South – South labour migration through a strong and proactive partnership of governmental and non-governmental actors (civil society, academia, private sector) was pointed out.
This fruitful meeting reached the conclusion that South – South labour migration has received little attention in the past and it became apparent that even among experts more data, more evidence and more knowledge has to be gathered to better address this very relevant reality of today’s global migration flows. The 2012 GFMD under the Mauritian chair could be an important step to further advance this important debate and close the policy and technology gap that exists between South and North but also with the “Global South”.
More information on http://www.gfmd.org/en/abuja-meeting.html
|South-South Labour Migration - GFMD background paper||194.72 KB|