The African Union (AU) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Republic of Rwanda launched the 7th Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFOM), in Kigali, under the theme: “Addressing the Impact of Climate Change on Human Mobility in Africa: Building Adaptation Strategies and Resilient Communities” on 18 October 2022, to provide a more focused engagement with all relevant Migration stakeholders including Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU Member States, Ambassadors, private sector, academia, parliamentarians, African diaspora community and civil society organizations in Africa and to discuss among others ways in strengthening continental, regional and national consultation mechanisms on Migration to enhance collaboration among African Union Member States, for sustainable Migration Governance in Africa, and serves as a platform for participants to share experiences and best practices on the impact of climate change, displacement and migration; especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and formulate relevant recommendations on early warning, preparedness, and adaptation strategies, including return and reintegration in communities of origin. The 7th PAFOM also provides a wonderful opportunity for member states to develop a common understanding on the impact of climate induced migration, as they prepare for the COP 27 in Cairo, Egypt in November 2022.
The Senior Officials Meeting of the Pan African Forum on Migration was opened officially by Mrs. Clementine Mukeka, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Republic of Rwanda, who welcomed the participants of the forum on behalf of the government and people of Rwanda. She further urged the participants from Member States to use the opportunity to reiterate engagements and strengthen collaborations as a continent and develop strategies that work for the continent.
In her keynote address, the Ag. Director for Social Development, Culture and Sports department, Ms. Angela Martins, thanked the Government of Rwanda for hosting the meeting and supporting the participants and guests attending the Forum. She also thanked all delegates, AU partners, specifically, IOM, ILO and IFRC who have been very handy in supporting AU Commission to organize the meeting and for their generous contribution in making this meeting a success. She further highlighted PAFOM as a continental interstates dialogue mechanism that brings together different stakeholder to deliberate on topical migration governance issues affecting the continent and provides an opportunity for sharing of experience, best practices and also develop a continental approach on migration governance issues in the continent.
She acknowledged that climate change is emerging as one of the key drivers of migration in Africa, and that the growing recognition of the nexus between migration and climate change has triggered much debate and policy discussions in Africa and reflecting the growing concern surrounding the impact of climate change in shaping human mobility, on one hand, and on the larger front, how these phenomena have impacts on Africa’s socio-economic development, human welfare and security. “.
Ms. Angela Martin underlined the commitment of the African Union Commission (AUC) to continue supporting Member States by providing technical support in policy development and implementation. These policy initiatives, among others, include: The AU Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032); The Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA); The Africa Climate Mobility Initiative (ACMI); The Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services); and The Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods that commits to “enhancing resilience of livelihoods and production.
The opening session also addressed by Mrs. Aissata Kane, Senior Regional Advisor to the IOM Director General who noted the effect of the climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters on displacement. “In 2021, there were 23.7 million internal displacements related to disasters. Global projections show that up to 216 million people could move internally within their countries by 2050. Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 85.7 million climate migrants (4.2 percent of its total population),” said Mrs. Aissata Kane. She called to increase actions to avert, minimize and address displacement linked to climate change and facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration pathways.
A meeting outcome report detailing actionable key Commitments and policy recommendations for Member States and other stakeholders’ implementation on ways of addressing the impact of climate change on migration and displacement governance will be presented for the consideration from relevant Ministers of Migration and Climate related issues during their session on 21 October.