The “Catalytic Actions of the Joint AU-ILO-IOM-ECA Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration for Development and Integration in Africa (JLMP Action)” project was launched in Ethiopia. This was the latest national launch for selected African Union Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), following similar unveilings in Malawi, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroun over the past few months.
‘JLMP Catalytic Action’ is one of several projects making up the AU-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint Programme on Labour Migration Governance for Development and Integration in Africa (JLMP) that was launched in 2015 to implement the 5th Key Priority Area of the Declaration and Plan of Action on Employment, Poverty Eradication and Inclusive Development adopted by the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments in 2015 (AU/Assembly/AU/20(XXIV)/Annex 3, January 2015). The Programme is strengthening the governance and regulation of labour migration in Africa, in line with the First 2023 Ten Year Plan of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ceremony was attended by officials of the African Union Commission (AUC), the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Embassies of German, Switzerland and Sweden, who are funding the Programme, as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), who are implementing partners. Also in attendance were representatives of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and of labour organizations.
In her remarks, Minister of Labour and Skills Development for Ethiopia, H.E. Muferihat Kamil said, “Improving labour migration governance, strengthening the protection of migrant workers’ rights, and making regular labour more accessible requires the concerted efforts of different stakeholders. Therefore, role of JLMP in this regard is paramount. “She also highlighted the need to create an interface and integration of the various regional and continental platforms and initiatives already in place towards improving, labour migration governance, strengthening the protection of migrant workers’ rights and making regular labour migration more accessible.
The African Union’s Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, H.E. Amb. Minata Cessouma Samate said, “As the African Union Commission, our mandate includes promotion of safe, orderly, dignified and regular migration, as well as, providing support for the implementation of Member States’ policies on labour, employment, population, health and migration. We remain committed to supporting you to implement the priorities you have identified, to facilitate experience sharing with other Member States and to strengthen linkages with other complementary processes”. She also called upon Member States to ratify the AU Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and all relevant international and regional instruments improving the protection of migrant workers, support the development and implementation of the African Qualifications Framework for adequate skills and recognition of qualifications in order to achieve the vision of Agenda 2063 and to actively participate in continental dialogues on labour migration and develop a common position for engagement with other regions on the welfare and benefits of African migrant workers.
Acting Chief of Mission of IOM Ethiopia and Representative to AU and ECA, Mr. Jian Zhang reiterated that IOM, in collaboration with the AUC and ILO, will implement JLMP activities in alignment with national policies and priorities with key initiatives including supporting the formulation of a gender-responsive labour migration policy, assisting relevant authorities in collecting and utilizing sex-disaggregated data on labour migration, capacity building initiatives for various stakeholders on labour migration governance and ethical recruitment to ensure the rights of migrant workers are promoted at all levels.
“ILO has a large project portfolio on labor migration in Ethiopia. Today, we are proudly adding to it the JLMP Action that focuses on effective management of labor migration and labor migration governance for development,” added Ms. Ruchika Bahl, Chief Technical Advisor for ILO Ethiopia.
H.E. Tamara Mona, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ethiopia and South Sudan, reiterated that tangible improvements in promoting better labour migration governance will only happen if there is change at the national and community level, commending Ethiopia for agreeing to implement the JLMP. “Let me assure you that Switzerland’s commitment to supporting the government Ethiopia, the African Union and its Member States to implement this programme to achieve sustainable development in Africa is long term, in line with the JLMP strategic framework, and we also encourage other development partners to join forces in supporting this important Programme,” she added.
Mr. David Schwake, speaking on behalf of the German Government, noted that free movement and mobility of workers is crucial to advancing regional integration on the continent and pledged support to the Joint Labour Migration Programme so as to achieve better governance of labour and skills mobility in Africa.
In his opening remarks, IGAD representative, Mr Ibrahim Kasso, Coordinator for Regional Migration Fund speaking on behalf of Executive Secretary, H.E Dr. Workineh Gebayehu, welcomed the implementation of the JLMP in Ethiopia and IGAD pledging full commitment to support the implementation of the projects activities so as to address the migration challenges experienced in the region including irregular migration, inadequate labour governance, lack of reliable labour migration data and limited ratification and implementation of international standards.
The official launch is followed by a two-day capacity building workshop on labour migration governance and administration to familiarize stakeholders in the country with trends in labour migration, steps to improve the national framework for labour migration governance and administration, labour migration data, and other issues.