Statement by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for closer cooperation between the two organizations on a wide range of migration-related issues with the International Organization for Migration on 17 December 2010 in Brussels

Your Excellency, Director General Swing,

Excellencies, Mr. and Mrs. the Ambassadors,

Representatives of the Press, Dear Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen, It is an honour to welcome you all at the ACP House for the signature of this important agreement.

I would like to thank IOM Director General, Ambassador Swing, for his presence today and his commitment to work together with the ACP Secretariat for better migration management in our countries.

As you all know, migration is one of today’s biggest challenges faced by ACP States. Migration is an old practice and a traditional lifestyle in a vast majority of our countries. People move in search of better opportunities, forced by external factors or for many other reasons. Migration patterns are of course very different in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Nevertheless, all our regions are known for the importance of migration and its impact on populations. ACP nationals migrate within their country, within their regions and to other regions of the world. Since its creation in 1975, the ACP Group of States has shown great interest in implementing initiatives aimed at recognizing and realizing the potential of migration for development in ACP countries.

Migration is part of the ACP Group of States initial working framework with the European Union and has always been at the core of our action. Migration is of course not only an ACP phenomenon. On the contrary, it affects all countries in the world. The signature of this MoU shows that our countries pay an increasing attention to migration management. Governments are aware that migration is a challenge but also an opportunity to foster development in their countries.

As a matter of fact, many ACP countries already partner with IOM in a wide range of projects dealing with the various aspects of migration. The present MoU strengthens this cooperation and calls for further action. The ACP Secretariat gives high importance to this agreement and the possibilities of cooperation it offers. We would like to seize this occasion to congratulate IOM for its upcoming 60th anniversary. IOM has gathered a prominent experience in migration management. We are very proud to sign this agreement which, I am certain, will benefit both institutions.

The ACP Observatory on Migration is a very good example of cooperation possibilities between IOM and the ACP Secretariat. Many of you participated at its launching event and witnessed the work the Observatory is carrying out for improving our knowledge on migration. Your presence here today also shows that migration is at the heart of your concerns and that you believe that our partnership with IOM will have a very positive effect in the future.

I would like to close this short remarks by saying that your cooperation will be required to implement and improve this partnership. Many ACP States are also IOM Member States, which shows that our agendas share many points of interest. This agreement will allow us to explore many other cooperation possibilities to provide solutions for ACP countries, migrants and populations when dealing with migration issues. Thank you for your kind attention.