By Chris F. Pewu (Intern)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has commenced a two-day training on migration data collection and management in Monrovia.
Participants were drawn from non-governmental organizations with migration-related mandates, including the Ministry of Labor, National Social Security and Welfare Cooperation, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Refugee Commission. Also attending were participants from the Ministry of Justice, Liberia Immigration Service, Ministry of Education, Mano River Union, International Labor Organization (ILO), UNHCR, European Union and World Hope International.
The objective of the training, according to IOM National Program Officer (Data Policy) Adaeze Molokwu, is to enhance national capacities on migration data collection and management using the ECOWAS regional guidelines.
She said the training will also discuss regional migration data in Abuja, Nigeria in May, and hoped that the coordination among the agencies working on migration data in Liberia is strengthened.
Molokwu explained that in Liberia the training is being organized within the framework of the Technical Inter-Ministerial Committee and will enhance participants’ capacity in migration data.
She said ECOWAS through its support to free movement of persons and migration in West Africa (FMM-West Africa) and the Global Migration Data Analysis Center (IOM-GMDAC), put in place a series of activities that were recommended by member states’ experts during a regional workshop in Lome, Togo in 2016.
“In that workshop, ECOWAS and data experts from member states highlighted the need for the development of regional guidelines and training tools which facilitated the harmonization of data collection and analysis among ECOWAS member states,” she added.
The guidelines finalized in 2016 contained standardized definitions of migration terms and concepts that can be used as a tool for improving coordination at the national level as well as between ECOWAS member states.
The IOM national program officer clarified that the initiative will ultimately contribute to establishing a regional system of data analysis to allow for identification of the main trends in mobility and migration in the region.
As a follow up to the development of the guidelines, she said ECOWAS and IOM-GMDAC through the support of FMM-West Africa facilitated a regional training of trainers from May 22-24, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.
She narrated that at the event experts from the national statistics offices as well as officers in charge of administrative data collection from the national immigration agencies from ECOWAS member states were trained using the guidelines, with the aim that the trained officials will step-up the knowledge and skills they have acquired to national levels.
Ajaero Christopher from the Research and Statistics at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja said the cascaded training at the national levels are also supported by the free movement of persons in West Africa (FMM-West Africa) project funded jointly by EU-ECOWAS and implemented by the IOM, ILO, and ICMPD.
He said West Africa is one the continent’s most mobile regions where intra-regional migration represents a large part of its cross-border movements and has been widely recognized as key to the region’s economic growth and stability. Nonetheless, he said information related to increased mobility of the population, migrant labor force, Diaspora among others sectors, are still sporadic and not consistently collected and analyzed.
Improved migration data management, Christopher said, is critical for the development of evidence-based migration policies that can help sending, transit and hosting countries in enhancing migration management, providing adequate service to migrants and receiving communities and benefit from the economic and social advantages of well-managed migration.
He further explained that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.
The two-day national-level training for Liberia was organized from 20 to21 November 2017 in Monrovia to increase knowledge and skills to a wider audience.