Migration is a hot issue for Morocco, with the country being both a destination for Sub-Saharan African migrants and a gateway to Europe.
Rabat – Moroccan expertise and good practice is under the spotlight at the 12th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito.
The event started on Tuesday, January 22, and will last until Saturday, January 25, bringing together around 1,300 delegates from over 150 countries.
Morocco’s Minister Delegate for Moroccans Abroad, Nezha El Ouafi, and the Moroccan ambassador to Colombia and Ecuador, Farida Loudaya, are leading the Moroccan delegation, accompanied by several Moroccan academics and researchers in the field of migration.
The event is a flexible space where governments can discuss the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities, and challenges related to migration, development, and the link between the two areas.
The five-day meeting aims to analyze sensitive issues, create consensus, pose innovative solutions, and share policy and practices between governments, civil society, the private sector, and the UN system.
This year’s event focuses on the central theme of “Sustainable approaches to human mobility: Upholding rights, strengthening state agency, and advancing development through partnerships and collective action.”
Created in 2007, the GFMD represents a state-led informal platform for global dialogue on migration. The meeting comes in the wake of a change in global policies about migration, with the signing of the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) in December 2019.
Through the agreements, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) aims to register biometrics of 10 million refugees in 75 countries by 2020.
The initiatives funded by the UNHCR will provide more than 15,000 jobs for refugees and around 125,000 hours per year of legal counseling.
Refugees and migrants in Morocco
Morocco signed the agreement with a pledge to contribute $300,000 (MAD 3 million) to the initiative.
“Through this financial contribution, Morocco aims to support the operations of refugees’ census and documentation,” El Ouafi, told the press at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.
Morocco hosts more than 7,700 refugees and asylum seekers, with around 55% of them coming from Syria.
In 2013, Morocco introduced a National Immigration and Asylum Policy (PNIA). The policy enables refugees to access essential services, such as education, health care, and employment.
UNHCR, in collaboration with Moroccan authorities and civil society, aims to financially support 2,000 vulnerable refugee families and help 500 refugees establish their own businesses in Morocco by 2020.
Morocco is also a destination for sub-Saharan African migrants, who either remain in the country or use it as a gateway to Europe.
A 2019 study revealed that around 700,000 sub-Saharan African migrants live in Morocco, with only 24,000 being regularized by the Moroccan government.