The King’s statement was read aloud by Moroccan head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani.
In his message, the King expressed his warm gratitude over being appointed as the Leader of the African Union on the Question of Migration during the 28th AU Summit last year, which also marked the return of Morocco to the AU for the first time in over 30 years.
“I feel honored by this expression of esteem on the part of my brothers and sisters,” said the King.
The sovereign message also recalled the blueprint for a common African vision that he had already presented to Guinean president Alpha Conde.
King Mohammed VI said that “today, I am submitting to you a document introducing the African Agenda on Migration,” adding that this document was “drawn up using an inclusive and participatory approach.”
Describing the draft African Agenda, he said that “it is [a] flexible, scalable and legally non-binding document. More than anything else, it should serve to inspire our future action” with regards to migration.”
The King added that the document consists ideas and proposals “shared by official institutions, civil society organizations and researchers from Africa.”
The sovereign called on the AU member countries to enhance their efforts in order to understand the migration phenomenon “properly.”
“I think the time has come to deconstruct, one by one, the myths associated with migration.”
The King said that there is no massive influx of African migrants” since the latter account for only 3.4 percent of the world population,” noting that “African migration is essentially intra-African” as 4 out of 5 migrants remain in Africa.
King Mohammed VI said that migration should be considered a “natural phenomenon” and should be celebrated. It is “part of the solution, not of the problem. We should adopt a positive stance on the issue of migration by highlighting the humanistic rationale of shared responsibility and solidarity.”
To manage migration issues, the King proposes to create an African Migration Observatory, “whose terms of reference would be the triad ‘Understand, Anticipate, Act.’” The mission of the Observatory will be the exchange of information between African countries to promote management of migration flows.
King Mohammed VI also suggests that the AU set up a Special Envoy for Migration to coordinate AU migration policies.
In his message, the Moroccan king also referred to the worrying migration-related tragedies. The King said that “since 2015, more than 6,200 African migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean.”
“How many more migration-related tragedies do we still have to witness before our societies change the way they perceive migration.
The King concluded his message by calling on Africa to “address migration in a spirit of unremitting solidarity.”