African Union Frameworks for Migration: Current Issues and Questions for the Future

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    Migration crosses both national and regional boundaries and is an issue that affects all policy areas with a a strong international relations dimension.

    Regional integration in relation to migration in Africa could greatly improve the lives of the 16 million regular and irregular migrants estimated to be living in Africa.

    Since the Abuja Treaty was signed in 1991, the African Union has developed a number of policy frameworks for regional integration in migration.

    Key Purpose of ECDPM study

     The primary purpose of this paper is to summarise recent developments in the African Union’s (AU) policy on migration.

    We introduce a number of key African Union frameworks, among others the African Common Position on Migration and Development and the Strategic Migration Policy Framework. ECDPM review the steps taken to operationalise them.

    To what extent have the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have been implementing these frameworks?

    What key challenges are facing the actors on the road ahead and what role can the European Union’s play in supporting the development of these frameworks in the context of EU-AU cooperation and dialogue.

    Key Findings of ECDPM Study

    • The majority of African Union initiatives tend to focus on capacity-building and standard-setting, and on encouraging the RECs and member states to get engaged.

    • It is difficult to assess at this stage whether AU and REC initiatives have led to noticeable changes in the member states’ legal frameworks, thereby improving the lives of migrants, refugees and IDPs.

    • Many initiatives in the area of migration are heavily donor funded and the EU has influenced the development of African frameworks and types of initiatives by the African Union because of the limited amount of funding provided by African member states.

    • While it remains vital for the African Union to propose frameworks and set standards to encourage its member states to become engaged, the implementation of these frameworks depends ultimately on the buy-in of member states and the priority they attach to migration issues.

    Read Discussion Paper 108


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