By Akech Olivia
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Roadmap on the implementation of free movement of persons in the region has been validated.
The Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in IGAD region was on Monday validated by the legal and policy experts and endorsed by the committee of Ambassadors and Ministers in charge of Migration and labour.
Ms. Lucy Daxbacher, the Project Officer Protocols on Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance said the Roadmap is going to be submitted to the IGAD Council of Ministers (Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the eight member nations).
“The Roadmap is now awaiting the adoption by the IGAD Council of Ministers and then by the Assembly. At the same time the Roadmap needs to be validated by the experts of member states and then submitted to the IGAD Council of Ministers and the Assembly as annex to the Protocol,” said Ms. Daxbacher.
The event took place in Entebbe from Monday November 16th to 17th 2020, and it attracted Ministers, ambassadors and technical officials on labor and immigration from all the 8 countries including Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.
The protocol aims at realizing the free entry and exit of people within the IGAD member states, the mobility of labor and the right of establishment and freedom to engage in economic activities.
The Roadmap is expected to run for 10 years within two IGAD strategic periods encompassing all the implementation phases.
“IGAD will develop its own annual plan with focus on its mandate including regional coordination, negotiations, adoption, ratification, popularization, capacity building for implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as reporting,” said Fathia Alwan, the IGAD Director for Social Development.
Asrar Ahmed Elsiddig from the Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the member states are going to be sending to the secretariat the free movement of persons protocol progress on the implementation.
“Annually member states will send implementation progress report of the protocol. The annual reports and findings from the independent research will be published by the IGAD secretariat after every two years,” said Ms. Asrar.
Benchmarks have been drawn from the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to facilitate free movement in respect to trade, education, safety and others.
IGAD is currently implementing additional actions during the period 2020-2023 funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund to facilitate the adoption, ratification, and domestication of the two Protocols on Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance in the IGAD region. The aim of the action is to enhance regular and orderly cross border mobility and migration, regional economic integration and development.
The development of free movement regime in IGAD is an integral part of the IGAD Regional Migration Policy Framework and its corresponding IGAD Migration Action Plan.