New Cooperation Agreement with the G5 Sahel to Enhance Migration Management and Governance

Resilient mothers and their children find temporary refuge in Ouallam amidst climate challenges and displacement. Photo: IOM 2022/Nathalie Oren.

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the G5 Sahel yesterday signed an agreement to strengthen regional and intra-state cooperation across the spectrum of human mobility as an accelerator to building resilience, development and integrated border governance in the G5 Sahel countries. 

“For IOM,  regional cooperation is essential to, among other things, ensure safe, orderly and regular migration and respond effectively to the multisectoral challenges related to human mobility and forced displacement,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said Wednesday in Geneva after signing the cooperation agreement with G5 Sahel Executive Secretary, Ambassador Eric Tiare.  

“Our presence on the ground is a considerable asset for moving forward on the localization agenda for actions and responses within the framework of the humanitarian, development and peace nexus, and this in each country of the region taken individually but also in the region as a whole.”  

Covering a vast area south of the Sahara desert, the roughly 400 million living in 10 countries within the Sahel face numerous challenges, including a lack of employment and infrastructure, conflict and climate change each of which impacts the decisions people are making to migrate domestically or abroad. The G5 Sahel is comprised of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.  

The new agreement identifies three strategic priorities to be implemented by both organizations through joint programming that will deliver pragmatic and relevant sustainable solutions: 

  1. Mitigating the negative impacts of forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting durable solutions and the sustainable reintegration of displaced persons and returnees; 
  2. Migration as an accelerator to development, including job creation for youth, particularly with regards to labour mobility and the potential to tackle migration as an adaptation strategy to socioeconomic crises, conflict and climate change;  
  3. Integrated border governance to promote borders as vector of peace, security and development. 

Formalizing the relationship between IOM and the G5 Sahel provides an opportunity to implement tailored, joint approaches that address the complex drivers of conflict, instability and forced displacement in the region, Vitorino said. 

“Seeking such solutions, notably context based, will stand as a steppingstone in our overall collaborative frameworks toward improving conditions for populations in the Sahel,” he said. 

Joint programming through the G5 Sahel-IOM agreement will be done as part of a wider “’One UN approach”. Also attending the signing were Giovanie Biha, Special Representative of the Secretary-General a.i. of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mar Dieye, the Special Coordinator of the Secretary-General for the Development in the Sahel, and AU High Representative Maman Sambo Sidikou.   


For more information: 

Paul Dillon, Spokesperson 

Joëlle Furrer, Regional media and communications lead for WCA