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PS Sankareh-Farage delivered a Statement at the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) 2022 – Plenary, General debate at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.

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Saffie Sankareh – Farage delivering a statement at the UN

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad Mrs. Saffie Sankareh-Farage on Thursday, 19 May 2022 delivered a Statement at the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) 2022 – Plenary, General debate at the United Nations Headquarters, New York.


Chair,

My delegation welcomes this inter-governmental global platform to review, discuss and share experiences in the implementation of the landmark Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) since its adoption 3 years ago.

It is also a good opportunity to leverage the contribution of migration in the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, particularly in this Decade of Action.

Migration is an important phenomenon in our national development agenda. The Gambia is a proud member of GCM Champion countries, and we fully associate ourselves with the statement read on our behalf this morning.

Chair,

The Gambia fully recognizes the inextricable linkages between migration and development, including its potential as a key driver for improving the lives and livelihoods of Gambians and the socio-economic development of our country.

We are equally aware of the enormous challenges associated with irregular migration, including the immeasurable human and social cost to the country as our young people become victims of human rights violations, exploitation and abuse, including psychosocial trauma, in their journeys. They also encounter a lot of difficulties in accessing services to address their protection needs upon return.

We are very pleased that these challenges and opportunities are well reflected in the GCM objectives, as well as the Progress Declaration.

As a Government, we will continue to evaluate our policies on the basis of the progress made in addressing these challenges with a view to maximizing the opportunities migration offers through the implementation of GCM.

Over the past four years, we registered milestones in migration governance, including, the establishment of the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM), the formulation and launch of the National Migration Policy, the design of the National Referral Mechanism for the Protection and Assistance of Vulnerable Migrants, including Victims of Trafficking in June 2021, the installation of a Border Management Information System at the Immigration Head Quarters and key land border crossing points, the development of the Labor Migration Strategy, Diaspora Strategy, establishment of a Diaspora and Migration Directorate at MOFA and launch of Diaspora Development Fund.

These are few examples of our national efforts geared toward promoting a whole-of-government and society approach to migration governance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Chair,

My delegation also recognizes the importance of well-managed migration as an engine for sustained economic growth and sustainable development as we continue to respond to the challenge of the sustainable reintegration of our returning migrants.

Through our partnership with IOM and the UN Network on Migration, some of these challenges are being addressed through the implementation of the GCM objectives.

Over the past few years, our country’s efforts to combat the scourge of trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling have gained momentum and are being scaled-up. While recognizing our collective efforts to address trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, the impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods has threatened to reverse the gains registered globally.

The risk of more people falling prey to the lure of traffickers and smugglers during the pandemic has heightened. In the Gambia, our people who had fallen victim to trafficking were placed in even more vulnerable situations as COVID-19 raged on around the world.

We remain committed to undertaking all necessary actions to provide job opportunities for our young people, as well as create the enabling environment for job creation with a view to addressing the root causes of irregular migration in The Gambia.

The Government also recognized the importance of migration communication in migration governance. We have also demonstrably seen how migration issues can be controversial, contentious and prone to misunderstanding and misinformation.

This is why clear and transparent communication, information-sharing and sensitization play key roles in migration governance. To this end, we have developed a comprehensive communication strategy to bring about consistency, synergy and complementarity in migration information dissemination.

Chair, 

It is critical that we continue to support the young people, create employment opportunities and most importantly give them the much-needed moral and financial support to contribute to the development of our country.

The Gambia has created the conducive and enabling environment to support institutions under the Ministry of Youth and Sports such as the National Youth Council, The NYSS, The President International Awards Scheme, the National Sports Council and National Enterprise Development Initiative to facilitate the development of the young people under the direct supervision the Minister of Youth and Sports.

We recently concluded a comprehensive and thorough assessment of our migration governance system to provide a foundation for future work and to identify critical gaps in our approach to managing migration. The findings of this assessment yielded critical evidence for effective programme designing and decision making in migration management.

We are glad to also report that the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) is working on initiatives to include migration related modules in the 2023 population and housing census. The Government will address migration issues in the next iteration of the National Development Plan as well as ensure its integration into sector policies and plans.

The Government will continue to invest and mobilize more resources to create opportunities for our youth. Migration is a global phenomenon that will continue in every corner of the world, but as a responsible government will continue working to ensure that whenever our youth choose to migrate, they do so in a safe and orderly manner, without any abuse or exploitation.

Chair,

In conclusion, let me assure this Forum of The Gambia’s commitment to ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration for all migrants. We thank the IOM and other UN partners for the continued partnership and support to the government of The Gambia in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

I THANK YOU FOR YOUR KIND ATTENTION

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