Uganda is this week (15-17 May) hosting the third Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFoM III), with delegates from the continent and from across the world expected in the capital, Kampala.
This morning (15/05), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to open the three-day meeting, being held under the theme: Towards an African Common Position on the Global Compact on Migration.
The PAFoM is an initiative of the African Union, in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) as the Technical Secretariat. It brings together about 250 experts and officials from governments, eight RECs, private sector, civil society organizations, UN Agencies and development partners.
The Forum’s overall objective is to contribute to Africa’s inputs to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), which is set to be adopted in 2018.
Delegates will share information on the current African and global migration situation, and suggest durable and actionable solutions to enduring and emerging challenges. They will put particular focus on migration within Africa and from Africa to other regions – notably to Europe and the Middle East.
At the end of the three days, delegates will produce a Draft Outcome Document towards an African Common Position on Migration; this will include policy recommendations to be considered and possibly adopted by the 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union in January 2018. The AU’s adopted document will constitute Africa’s inputs to the negotiations on the Global Compact on Migration.
In a statement in Kampala last week, Uganda’s Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Mario Obiga Kania, said: “This Forum is co-organized by the African Union, government of Uganda, IGAD and IOM in collaboration with the UNECA with co-sponsorship from ECOWAS, SADC and partners. We request you, the media and the general public to join us to welcome and host these important dignitaries in Uganda, The Pearl of Africa.”
IOM Director William Lacy Swing said: “We are at a critical juncture in history, with more people on the move than we have ever witnessed in 70 years. As the world grapples with this unprecedented migration, it is important that Africa speaks with a strong, well-considered and consistent voice. The Pan African Forum on Migration will be an important milestone in the evolution of Africa’s common position that will feed into the Global Compact.”
Among the side activities at the Forum was a workshop held yesterday (14/05) on the plight of migrants caught up in conflict or natural disasters. The workshop, organized by the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative, focused on how countries and development and humanitarian actors can best respond “to the needs of migrants during a crisis”.
A key issue discussed during the workshop was the importance of governments keeping records of migrants – both their own nationals abroad and foreigners on their territories. With such data, governments would sensitize migrants’ awareness of local hazards, facilitate their access to assistance, and support evacuation and emergency repatriation.
The Forum participants are also being invited to Feel How Gender Shapes Migration, an interactive exhibition by IOM’s Gender Coordination Unit. With Africa’s Agenda 2063 and SDG 5 aiming to achieve full gender-equality, IOM works to mainstream gender in efforts towards achieving safe, humane and orderly migration for all – hence the exhibition.
Based on real-life scenarios of IOM audio and visual imagery, participants are invited to enter different moments of a migrant’s journey. From camp settings, situations of forced displacement, trafficking, and environmental migration, the exhibition invites participants to feel how gender influences a migrant’s path by interacting with objects, questions and problematic dilemmas.