Press Releases

ECOWAS, UNHCR collaborate on durable solutions to the Problem of Human Mixed Flows

14 Apr, 2019

Abuja, 12th April 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will hold a retreat for ECOWAS Member States’ Ambassadors to examine and proffer solutions to the problems of Mixed Flows in the region.

Participants at the two-day retreat which is taking place on the 15th and 16th of April 2019 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State,  Nigeria, are also to appraise the main causes and drivers of the complex phenomenon of Mixed Flows while analyzing emerging trends in this regard.

Mixed flows refer to complex population movements that include refugees, asylum seekers, economic and other migrants. Mixed flow scenarios are also formed by itinerant situations of unaccompanied minors, environmental migrants, smuggled persons, victims of trafficking as well as stranded migrants, among others.

The examination of the critical issues relating to the subject, as well as of the conditions of persons affected by Mixed Flows is featuring at the retreat while stock will be taken of the prevailing protection concerns, aiming at strengthening regional commitments to free movement and residence rights.

In seeking durable solutions, attention will be drawn to voluntary repatriation, local integration, resettlements the plight of nomadic and seasonal migrants, refugees and trafficked persons through responsibility sharing and commitment on the part of Member States.

The retreat will also afford the opportunity of giving insights to trends and issues in the area of asylum-migration while proffering durable solution to the challenges facing refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern.

Besides, the ECOWAS Commission, through its Department in charge of Social Affairs and Gender, will be reiterating its commitment to the principles of Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) which aims at building Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), to implement solution towards responsibility sharing, promoting self-reliance and general support streams, cognizant of pressures exerted on host countries, among others.

Initiated by UNHCR in 2007, there has been four retreats so far from inception for ECOWAS Member States’ Ambassadors and during which period, common concerns around refugee protection, forcible displacement, statelessness, and migration were discussed.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2001 ECOWAS and UNHCR have been partnering to achieve a better deal with regards to Mixed Flows.

Drawing strength from the MoU, West Africa became the first region in the world to adopt a plan of action to end statelessness through the adoption in February 2015 of a Declaration on eradication of statelessness in West Africa in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Apart from ECOWAS Permanent Representatives from all 15 member’s states, other participants at the retreat comprise officials of the ECOWAS Commission and ECOWAS Institutions including the ECOWAS Parliament and the Community Court of Justice, the UNHCR Resident Coordinator, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), selected Donors and regional Civil Society Organizations.

Member States