Towards Sustainable Reintegration: EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration – Five Years On
In December 2016, the EU and IOM launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, responding to Valetta Summit priorities and the urgent need to protect and save migrants’ lives and strengthen migration governance along the Central Mediterranean migration route.
Five years into the Programme, a new booklet (available in English, French and Arabic) brings together stories and testimonies from EU-IOM Joint Initiative partners and beneficiaries, highlighting key achievements to date.
Adapting to fast paced migration dynamics, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative expanded its geographic scope to encompass additional migration routes in Africa. Initially covering 14 countries, cooperation now extends to 26 countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, North Africa, and Horn of Africa regions.
The actions are based on strong partnership with local actors and aim to support partner countries in responding to migration governance challenges and opportunities at sub-national and national levels. Around 370 national and local authorities and non-state actors are involved in the provision of return and reintegration assistance to migrants across the three regions.
Close to 114,000 stranded and vulnerable migrants were supported with voluntary return, while more than 103,000 received reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative since May 2017.
The actions implemented by the Programme focus on the sustainability of reintegration through local ownership, partnership and closer alignment to development planning. An effective and comprehensive referral and partnership system, based on mapping of local and national partners, is one of the key components of reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative.
IOM’s integrated approach to reintegration aims to address returnees’ economic, social and psycho-social needs, and to foster the inclusion of communities of return in reintegration planning and programming.
Community-based reintegration projects are developed in close cooperation with local and national stakeholders and are open to communities of return. These projects contribute to more resilience by strengthening social cohesion and addressing priorities identified by the communities themselves.
Most recently, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative has demonstrated that it is a valuable tool for COVID-19 response. The Programme has remained flexible in ensuring a needs-based approach that takes into account mobility restrictions, shifting migratory routes and the beneficiaries’ resulting needs. This includes provision of cash-based assistance, remote counselling and monitoring, awareness raising activities via traditional and social media.
Building on the legacy of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, future programmes should continue to respond to the needs and commitments of both the EU and African States and foster meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships addressing common priorities.
For more information on the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, visit: https://www.migrationjointinitiative.org/