Africa has positioned itself as a central actor in the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, said Wednesday the minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita. Speaking at the opening of the 1st African Regional Review Conference on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Bourita underlined that even though African migration is stigmatized, overloaded with stereotypes and associated with binary conceptions, Africa has positioned itself as a central actor in the implementation of the Global Compact. Bourita mentioned in this regard recent major African measures that are markers in this regard. The first is the effective establishment of the African Migration Observatory, said the minister, adding that this AU body – which is the very first to be based in Morocco – was born of a Royal Vision, supported by the African Agenda on Migration. “The Observatory is also a direct result of the Marrakech Compact, and in particular of its first objective, which is to collect and use accurate and disaggregated data as a basis for evidence-based policies,” he added. The second measure regards Africa’s notable participation in the Multi-Stakeholder Migration Fund, a mechanism set up to assist countries in the implementation of the Compact, he underlined during this conference held virtually. Indeed, 16 of the 39 projects – 41% of the total number of projects selected for funding – were submitted by African countries, the minister noted, adding that Africa has also distinguished itself with 4 collective projects, thus giving an example of concerted regional management, which the Global Compact calls for. Migration in Africa is primarily a regional issue, he said, adding that it is therefore “first” at the level of the continent’s states and each of its subregions that it must be addressed. “This is the source of Morocco’s early awareness that effective implementation of the Marrakech Compact at the regional level begins at the national level.” Bourita recalled in this regard the message sent by HM King Mohammed VI to the Marrakech Conference of December 2018, in which the Sovereign underlined that “the Global Compact is not an end in itself. It only makes sense through its effective implementation.” In launching its National Immigration and Asylum Strategy in 2013, Morocco intended it to be both responsible and supportive, in line with the approach it advocated for in the African Agenda for Migration in January 2018 and the Global Compact in December of the same year, he said, adding that this coherence between national, regional and global commitment is a way to get as close as possible to the goal of optimizing migration instead of fighting it. The minister underlined that the impact of the pandemic on migration is undeniable, adding that while its economic and social consequences have increased the precariousness of migrant workers, it has also slowed down mobility in general. “The closure of borders has dried up migration routes for a time, making crossings even more perilous. But it has not, for all that, destroyed the morbid trade of smugglers and other merchants of misery.” From the point of view of governments, the pandemic has undoubtedly made migration governance more complex, he said, adding that it has been useful in that it has underlined the centrality of the Marrakech Compact and reminded everyone of the universal relevance of its objectives. Indeed, the crisis has strongly emphasized the importance of regularizing the situation of migrants, and the need to guarantee their access to social security – and security at all, Bourita explained. In a kind of ‘mise en abyme’, migration in times of pandemic has imposed itself as a crisis within the crisis – except that migration is not a “crisis”, but a structurally sustainable phenomenon, he pointed out. “For the pandemic will end – as soon as possible, we hope – but migration will remain.” The minister said that as early as February 2020, Morocco expressed, at the highest level, its willingness to host this conference, recalling that His Majesty King Mohammed VI – as part of His mandate as Leader on the Issue of Migration in Africa – underlined it in his report to the 33rd Ordinary Summit of the African Union. This conference was conceived with the objective of examining, together, the implementation in Africa of the Marrakech Compact, and consolidating conclusions to enrich the International Migration Review Forum, scheduled for 2022, Bourita said. The real scourge is not migration, but human trafficking and migrant smuggling, he stressed, adding that the real bias is the distorted imagination that perceives migrants as less human on one side of a border than on the other. The real pitfall is that migrants are the forgotten ones in development, pandemics and social equity, he went on, noting that the real purpose, in short, is to ensure that migrants are the real center of gravity of responsible migration policies, in solidarity and in accordance with the 23 objectives of the Compact. The conference is organized by the International Organization for Migration, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission.
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