Pan African Forum on Migration: Responding to the Needs of Migrants During a Crisis
Location: Kampala, Uganda
Kampala, Uganda - May 14th: In a continent characterized by a long history of cross-border migration, migrants’ specific sets of vulnerabilities pose particular challenges to any crisis preparedness, response and recovery mechanisms. Factors such as language, migration status, isolation, limited social networks and means, and lack of appropriate services all add on to migrants’ vulnerability in a country experiencing crisis. Therefore should migrants be factored into the different phases of preparing for, responding to and recovering after a crisis – which must be the common concern of all stakeholders, should they be State of Origin, Transit and Destination, international organizations, private sector and civil society.
In conjunction with the third Pan-African Forum on Migration, which aim to promote and deepen inter-state dialogue and intra/inter-regional cooperation on migration, IOM held a one-day MICIC awareness raising workshop on “Responding to the needs of migrants during a crisis”. The objective of which was to improve the ability of different stakeholders to prepare for and respond to the needs of migrants caught in crises, and to explore ways to strengthen the existing capacities of participating regional and national actors to address the needs of migrants affected by emergencies. Together with the participants, whom are government officials responsible for consular assistance and disaster management, we discussed the roles and responsibilities of migrants’ countries of origin and host countries and covered a number of issues including, collecting information on nationals abroad and on migrants’ presence in a host country, increasing migrants’ awareness of local hazards and resources, incorporating migrants in prevention, preparedness, and emergency response systems, facilitating migrants’ access to humanitarian assistance, supporting evacuations and emergency repatriations; supporting migrants’ inclusion in post-crisis recovery efforts; and supporting their reintegration in home countries;
Another key issue discussed during the workshop was the importance of governments keeping records of migrants – both their own nationals abroad and foreigners on their territories. With such data, governments would sensitize migrants’ awareness of local hazards, facilitate their access to assistance, and support evacuation and emergency repatriation.
The one-day workshop was a fruitful forum to raise awareness on the issues, for exchanging experiences, and not least enable the inclusion of migrants in crisis preparedness, response and recovery mechanisms.