Legal Migration, Rights, Protection for Vulnerable African Migrants Key to Implementation of 2015 Valletta Action Plan: IOM

Malta - IOM will highlight the need for more legal channels, better migrant protection and the centrality of human rights in its contribution to discussions starting Wednesday (8/2) at the first intercontinental, high-level meeting to follow up on progress made since the Valletta Summit on Migration held in November 2015.

The Senior Officials Meeting in Malta will be an opportunity to reinforce cooperation and take stock of the implementation of commitments agreed at the 2015 Summit, where 66 African and European states, international and regional organizations contributed to the adoption of a joint political declaration and a roadmap known as the “Joint Valletta Action Plan” (JVAP). 

Eugenio Ambrosi, Regional Director of IOM’s EU office, who will be participating in the two-day meeting, said that the safety, dignity and human rights of all migrants, refugees and asylum seekers should underpin all actions being implemented under the 2015 Valletta declaration and its action plan. 

“Let us not forget the key global developments to which all Valletta partners have committed, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New York Declaration of 2016 and the future Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees.  We appeal to our Valletta partners to re-invigorate a rights-based approach to migrants, with more attention given to sustainable reintegration, protection and humanitarian assistance for all people of concern throughout their migratory process, regardless of their status, particularly the most vulnerable,” said Ambrosi.   

Addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement has been a key priority in the follow-up to Valletta, and IOM believes that more opportunities for legal migration and mobility must become a greater part of a comprehensive approach to managing migration between Africa and Europe, according to IOM.

“At the Valletta meeting we recognized that migration is not something that can be stopped, but we can reduce irregular movements and the risks that go with a reliance on dangerous routes and unscrupulous smugglers.  We need to reach a point where migrants are able to see legal options as a credible alternative to irregular migration,” Ambrosi added.

According to IOM, the main contribution of the Valletta declaration and the action plan has been to strengthen cooperation between Valletta partners on both sides of the Mediterranean. 

The commitments made by the EU and African partners in Valletta in 2015 were instrumental in the recognition that migration cannot be dealt with unilaterally or in isolation, but is a phenomenon that must be governed together with a firm commitment to the long-term horizon.

“Valletta highlighted our shared conviction that improving the governance of human mobility hinges on our combined ability to go beyond the immediate challenges to pursue a longer term and more comprehensive vision,” said Ambrosi.  

Senior officials from the African Union, the EU External Action Service, the European Parliament, the European Commission and its agencies, EU Member States and African states, ECOWAS, the ACP Secretariat, UN agencies, international organizations, and civil society are participating in the meetings.

Marking the occasion, IOM is releasing the second edition of its yearly report on cooperation with the EU.  The new report looks at the IOM-EU partnership from 2015-2016 through the lens of joint efforts in implementing the Valletta agreement, and IOM’s work funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

IOM-EU Cooperation on Migration and Mobility: Addressing the Valletta Summit Priorities Together examines how IOM and the EU are working together across the five priority domains agreed at the Valletta Summit in 2015: development benefits of migration and addressing root causes; legal migration and mobility, protection and asylum; prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and return, readmission and reintegration.

Download the IOM-EU Cooperation on Migration and Mobility report here

For further information please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s European Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 (0)2 287 7116, Email: