27-07-2017, Nairobi (Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning kick-started the 9th Regional Consultative Process (RCP) on Migration in Nairobi during an opening session chaired by Mr. Kenenisa Assefa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, with as Guest of Honour the Director of National Disaster Operations Centre of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government (Kenya)-Col. (Rtd) Charles Owino, and the Ag. Director of Social Development of IGAD-Ms Fathia Alwan, the Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office at the Embassy of Switzerland to Kenya-Ms Leila Sheikh, and the Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to Ethiopia, Ms Maureen Achieng, at the high table.
The 9th RCP on Climate Change and Human Mobility is aimed at increasing awareness around issues related to displacements caused by natural disasters as well as at forging a common understanding on the protection gaps and opportunities for IGAD Member States.
The participants to the dialogue are IGAD Member States Heads of Immigration, Labour, Departments dealing with Climate Change as well as Academia, NCM focal points, UN agencies, Civil Societies, Members of National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction (specifically those dealing with droughts, floods and environmental changes) and Experts on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Mrs Fathia Alwan, speaking for the Executive Secretary of IGAD, in her opening remarks underlined that climate change was “one of the leading causes of forced displacement in IGAD Region”. “Today, we are experiencing increasing human mobility and displacement caused by natural disasters”, she said. She encouraged the participants to focus on issues related to strengthening national and regional disaster risk reduction mechanisms, coordinating humanitarian and development actions, and implementation of relevant migration policy frameworks.
Ms Sheikh Rüttimann noted the timeliness and relevance of the subject matter of the 9th RCP given the drought situation that is prevailing in the IGAD region. She underlined the support provided by Switzerland to the RCP as a means to “foster concrete action and help establish strengthened coordination mechanisms to improve the governance of migration in this region”.
Ms Achieng stressed the two-way relationship between Migration and Environment. “One of the major effects of climate change is migration; mass influx of migrants can effect environment”, she explained. The IOM representative applauded IGAD as a Regional Economic Community playing an exemplary role in tackling emerging issues. She reiterated IOM commitment to support IGAD and Member States in the nexus climate change-migration and beyond.
Col (Rtd) Owino urged the participants “to deliberate and come up with recommendations that can be practically implemented”. The meeting was declared officially open by the Chair.
The IGAD RCP was established in 2008 to provide a platform for dialogue and cooperation on matters of migration for the IGAD Member States in an informal and non-binding manner. The main objective of the RCP is to exchange information and assess existing policies and practices, at regional and national level, for managing displacement risks and responding to human mobility emanating from natural disasters.
It should be noted that the RCP (9th) was preceded by the Meeting of the IGAD Regional Mechanism Coordination Committee (5th) on August 26th at the same venue.