The percentage of the population living in Namibia's urban areas increased over two decades from 27 percent in 1991 to 43 percent in 2011. Moreover, demographers estimate that by the year 2030, more than 60 percent of Namibia's population will live in urban areas. This was revealed by the draft National Migration Policy for Namibia which was validated on Friday, 26 July 2019 at Safari Hotel and Conference Centre in Namibia's capital.
This draft policy is a product of the National Committee on Migration Management, which comprises governmental and non-governmental institutions that play a huge role in the strengthening of migration management, chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MHAI) and supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The Validation was attended by 61 participants from governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as the diplomatic corps. Beatrice Kiraso, the International Consultant tasked to assist with the drafting of the policy, presented the draft policy.
The comprehensive National Migration Policy aims to contribute to the strengthening of migration management capacity in Namibia, with the overall objective of supporting the government in developing a comprehensive and coordinated approach towards migration management based on well-identified needs and priorities.
In his keynote address, the Executive Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Etienne Maritz, officially opened the validation workshop and encouraged contribution from invited participants from line ministries, UN Agencies, civil society, NGOs and diplomatic corps to further enrich the policy before Cabinet endorsement.
He said that, unlike the olden days, managing migration in the modern days is not easy. "The time has changed, requiring policy response to manage migration," he explained.
The policy is linked to a five-year draft Implementation Action Plan, developed to aid the implementation of the proposed strategies to address the identified gaps and enable Namibia to better manage migration.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Rachel Odede, reiterated the UN's commitment to supporting the government with developmental issues in the country. She said: "The United Nations in Namibia, as 'Your Partner of Choice,' stands ready and willing to support the implementation Action Plan of this policy." She further emphasized the importance of Diaspora engagement for the economic development of their country of origin.
In his presentation on migration policy and development at the Validation Workshop, IOM Senior Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist Jason Theede spoke about the several initiatives by the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in strengthening migration management including the AU Draft protocol on free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment, the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA) and the Draft SADC Migration Policy Framework.
He further added that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development "provides a key opportunity to proactively address migration and its relationship to development."
Strengthening Migration Management in Namibia is an 18-month project implemented with financial support from the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and has three (3) main interventions: to establish a National Committee on Migration Management; to develop a comprehensive National Migration Policy; and finally, to develop a roadmap for the implementation of the National Migration Policy.
(With Inputs from APO)