African Union is viewed as a key partner for Norway in implementing the Valletta action plan and addressing the underlying causes of migration on the African continent. 
Photo: RNE/JBJ.African Union is viewed as a key partner for Norway in implementing the Valletta action plan and addressing the underlying causes of migration on the African continent. Photo: RNE/JBJ

Conflict and Insecurity Remain Major Causes of Forced Migration

Last updated: 16.02.2016 // On Tuesday 16th February, the African Union Peace and Security Council held an Open Session on Migration, Peace and Security. The session gathered Peace and Security Council members, other AU Member States as well as partner countries, for discussions on this highly timely and important topic.

To provide a framework for the discussions, the EU Ambassador to the AU, Mr. Gary Quince, and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) representative to the AU, Ms. Maureen Achieng, delivered thorough presentations informing about their respective work and priorities. Among the speakers was also Norway’s Ambassador to the AU, Mr. Andreas Gaarder, who delivered the following statement:

“Thank you Mr. Chair. Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, let me thank the Peace and Security Council for organising this Open Session on this highly timely and critical topic. Norway is honoured to be invited to address the PSC on this issue.

Migration and mobility has long been a topic of concern to the African Union and its member states. Today, unprecedented levels of refugee and migration flows affects Europe and Africa alike.  This situation presents us with major challenges.

African countries have made, and continue to make, a huge effort by hosting millions of refugees and internally displaced persons. As the topic of this session rightly indicates – conflict and insecurity remain major causes of forced migration. The provision of protection to those who are forced to flee is essential.

In the broader sense, managing migration demands long-term solutions. We need to increase efforts to solve conflicts and build lasting peace. We need to increase international development efforts in order to develop inclusive societies that can offer employment and viable livelihoods for today’s and tomorrow’s generations. We need to step up our efforts to combat criminal networks behind illicit activities such as the smuggling and trafficking of migrants. 

Given the complexity of the issue at hand, there is need for a holistic approach. There is no silver bullet recipe to successful migration management. A broad range of issues and actors need to be addressed and involved. This requires us to think outside of our well-established boxes, and to coordinate peace and security efforts with job creation, human rights and protection needs. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Together with the African Union and other European and African nations, Norway participated at the Valletta summit in November last year, and signed the Valletta declaration and action plan. Now, we have entered a new phase, where the realisation of our common goals and commitments must take place.

Reaching these ambitious goals can only be accomplished through close cooperation between Africa and Europe – between the countries of origin, transit and destination. The African Union is at the heart of this, both as the continental body representing 54 African Member States, and as an important platform for policy development and implementation.

Therefore, in implementing the Valletta action plan and addressing the underlying causes of migration on the African continent, Norway views the African Union as a key partner. The road ahead demands dedication and capacity, and Norway is ready to support the AU commission’s efforts in making our joint ambitions come true. Our common interests in this area are many, and our strategic partnership, entered at the AU Summit in 2015, provides a platform for closer cooperation on migration. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me underline that the migration complex is not merely a challenge to be solved – it is a reality to be managed. Preventing forced migration will continue to be a major priority for Norway, and it will shape our foreign policy in the years to come. We will seek to explore new and better approaches and partnerships in our development cooperation, our humanitarian assistance, and in our strategic dialogue with the African Union and its member states.

I thank you.”

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