Workshop aimed at operationalizing the Guideline for the Assessment of the
Implementation of ECOWAS Protocols on the Movement of Persons by Member States begun
in Accra on Monday, March 9, 2020.
The 3 day Workshop which had participants drawn from the labour and immigration sectors of Member States was also to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and ally agencies of Member States to effectively implement the Protocols on Free Movement of Person, the Right of Residence and Establishment.
Mr. Ambrose Dery, Minister for the Interior, in a speech read on his behalf by Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior reaffirmed the importance of free movement of persons, goods, services and capital in realizing sub regional integration, which is the core mission of ECOWAS.
“Free movement of persons, goods, services and capital had long been identified as an indispensable pillar in the realization of integration, the fundamental mission of our regional organisation” he said.
Mr. Dery whilst applauding the progress achieved through the ECOWAS free movement protocol and the common approach on migration, reiterated the need for more concerted effort by ECOWAS to facilitate intra-regional migration which would enhance labour mobility.
The Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr. Guy Ryder in his message, applauded the concerted efforts of the ECOWAS Commission and the ILO, on the successful development of the guidelines for assessing the implementation of the Protocols on free movement of persons, rights of residence and establishment.
He said, the ILO was delighted to have collaborated with the ECOWAS in the organisation of the regional workshop.
“The ILO is particularly delighted to have been afforded this opportunity to partner with ECOWAS in the organization of this regional workshop, aimed at operationalizing the developed guidelines, under the framework of the European Union Funded project “Support to the Free Movement of Persons and Migration. Indeed this partnership between the ECOWAS Commission and the ILO is one that has continued to grow since the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding between the Organisations in 2005” he said.
He mentioned that, the ECOWAS region remained the best in respect of the practice on free movement and was optimistic that effective monitoring of the protocols, using the developed guidelines, would promote integration and eventually strengthen cooperation among Member States.
He was appreciative of the fact that, the protocol was hinged on the ECOWAS Treaty of 1957.
According to the Director General, although progress on the implementation of the guidelines had been slow, the ILO was of the opinion that ECOWAS was on the right path and that the ECOWAS Commission need to take the leadership in the protection of migrant workers’ right.
“The ILO is strongly convinced that the ECOWAS Commission need to take the leadership in the protection of migrant workers’ rights by proactively taking steps such as the adoption of various administrative, programmatic and legal measures to ensure the applicability and enforcement of workers’ rights within the region. This also includes the implementation of the free movement protocol” He said.
Mr. Ryder also said, it was gratifying to note that, ECOWAS had over the years, work at putting into place, various initiatives to safeguard the rights of the people as it implement the free movement of persons.
The journey to develop the guidelines started in 2016. An assessment was conducted to support the ECOWAS Commission in developing a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Free Movement Protocols by Member States. The report was reviewed by Experts and the Member States and was validated in April 2017.
In response to the findings of the study, Member States identified the need to develop a Guideline for the evaluation of the implementation of ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movement of Persons by ECOWAS Member States.
The ILO, through the project “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa” (FMM West Africa) project, in collaboration with the Free Movement and Tourism Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission, engaged the services of consultants to conduct the assessment and develop guidelines for evaluation of the implementation of the Free Movement Protocols by ECOWAS Member states. The guidelines was validated in 2018 by ECOWAS Experts and also the Heads of Immigration.
The Workshop was jointly funded by the European Union and the ECOWAS Commission within the framework of the “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa” (FMM West Africa) project.
The workshop would end on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.