By Landing Ceesay
The Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) earlier today launched the “Local Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) Report for Kanifing Municipal Council.”
The Migration Governance Indicators (MGI), jointly developed by IOM and the Economist Intelligence Unit, is a comprehensive assessment of Migration Governance systems with 90 indicators to assist countries in identifying good practices and gaps in their national migration governance architecture and advance the conversation on what well-governed migration might look like in practice.
Speaking at the ceremony Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the Mayor of KMC said the Gambia is home to many migrants who have fled their countries as well as being faced with the challenge of seeing Gambian youth disappear into the sea on “illegal” migration routes.
The Lord Mayor further said that in both situations, the Gambia is faced with the challenge of having to address migration issues.
“This is a country-wide problem and should not only be the sole responsibility of the central government but the responsibility of all which needs to be addressed at the local level of cities too. In this same vein, we as a municipality are ready and open to collaborating with partners to find solutions to this problem, ” Mayor Bensouda said.
Mayor Bensouda said the Councils need responsible policies to address the issue of Migration to safeguard migrants’ rights and support the local communities. To this end, they wish to position themselves as a council that focuses on finding ways to empower youths, and migrants, and bring them together with other members of their communities.
“I believe that as Council we also need to provide support in the re-integration of returnee migrants into society, at the community level. We need to create opportunities that make people, particularly the youth want to remain in the country, of course, the low cost of living, high unemployment rates, low/limited skilled professional talent pool, and lack of opportunities, thereof poses a lot of pressure for people,” he said.
Mayor Bensouda said the country needs more investments in skills training centers, and in reintegration programs for migrant returnees to resettle into society with skills and knowledge that will help the affected.
Meanwhile, Ms. Fumiko Nagano, the IOM Chief of Mission to the Gambia said her institution recognizes that the role of cities and municipalities in migration governance has grown significantly in recent decades, considering the rapid pace of urbanization and the importance of cities and municipalities as destinations for all forms of migration and displacement.
“Noting the crucial role of cities and municipalities in accommodating migrants and formulating sustainable responses to migration and related matters, IOM has adapted the MGI to the local level. Like its national equivalent, the local MGI is based on a site of indicators- approximately 80 in the case of Local MGI to help Local authorities take stock of their migration strategies and initiatives in place and identify good practices as well as areas with potential for further development,” Ms. Nagano said.
Ms. Nagano further stated that the report will not only lay the foundation for institutional capacity building of key actors in KMC but also inform evidence-based policies strategies, and programs to support enhanced migration governance.
Ms. Nagano said the findings of the Local MGI exercise will also contribute to the implementation of the migration components of the new National Development Plan 2023-2027 currently being finalized.
She said the findings will also contribute to the implementation of the objectives of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) in line with the Gambia’s GCM commitment.
In 2015, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) developed the Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF).
This Framework offers a concise view of an ideal approach that allows a State to determine what it might need to govern migration well and in a way that suits its circumstances.
The purpose of the Local MGI is to be a tool for government authorities to have an introspective look at the measures they have in place to manage migration, as well as to share their experiences.
The aim of the exercise is to foster the dialogue on migration between national governments and local authorities and enable local authorities to learn from one another by discussing common challenges and identifying potential solutions.