SADC Member States Meet to Discuss Regional Response to Mixed Migration

Posted: 
12/02/14

South Africa - The IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, in cooperation with UNHCR and UNODC, is conducting a one-day consultation workshop with High Level Officials from Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in Pretoria on 2 December 2014 to discuss the region’s response to mixed and irregular migration.

The meeting was organized in preparation for the upcoming Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) that will be held in Zimbabwe in 2015. The one-day consultation is a follow up to the 2014 MIDSA held in Malawi, which developed a draft regional Action Plan. 

In his opening speech at the event, IOM Regional Director Bernardo Mariano said: “During the past decade, the MIDSA process has been instrumental in bringing regional governments together to discuss common migration issues and devise solutions for challenges such as the current influx of mixed and irregular migration flows in the region.”

“Working with the SADC Secretariat, and in partnership with UNHCR and UNODC, we have developed a regional action plan that aims to address the challenges in a comprehensive manner. Today, we are taking our plan one step further to implementation prior to its formal approval by Member States. We also hope to finalize the sustainability plan for the MIDSA process itself, with a better reflection of ownership by the Member States, in line with their express desire for its continuation,” he added.

The Southern Africa region has increasingly seen mixed movements coming from the East and Horn of Africa and from the Great Lakes Region. IOM studies conducted in 2009 and 2014 show that large mixed migratory groups – pushed by war, lack of protection, economic disparity or hope for better  opportunities – move to Southern Africa each year.

But of the estimated 20,000 individuals who take this route every year, many do not manage to reach South Africa. Thousands suffer great hardship, including starvation, abandonment, physical and sexual abuses, exploitation, lengthy detention and even death (usually by drowning or suffocation in truck containers.) The presence of unaccompanied migrant children in these flows has been of particular concern to regional actors and SADC Member States.

The Regional Action Plan on mixed and irregular migration, as well as the MIDSA sustainability plan finalized at the one-day consultation is expected to receive formal SADC endorsement in 2015. Member States also took the opportunity to deliberate on steps that need to be taken to address the issue of unaccompanied child migrants in the region.

The workshop was funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) as part of IOM’s regional project: ‘Addressing Irregular Migration Flows in Southern Africa Phase V’.Now in its fifth phase, the project is implemented in cooperation with UNHCR and UNODC and has capacity building, direct assistance and regional dialogue components. 

For more information, please contact

Sikhulile Dhlamini

IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa in Pretoria

Tel: + +27 (0) 12 342 2789

Email: [email protected]