Migration and security: decision-makers dialogue at the Munich Security Conference

16.02.2017 – ‘Migration and Security. Challenges in Africa and Beyond’ – Dialogue focuses on challenges within Africa, those facing Europe and the options for international cooperation.

‘GIZ’s work is focused on protecting migrants, especially refugees, and developing opportunities for them,’ stresses Christoph Beier, Vice-Chair of the Management Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. However, he added that it was also important to take account of the legitimate security concerns of host communities and states when regulating migration.

GIZ is hosting a side event entitled ‘Migration and Security. Challenges in Africa and Beyond’ at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday. As a partner of the MSC, this is now the fourth time that GIZ is organising its own event at the conference. This year, the Rwandan and Ethiopian foreign ministers Louise Mushikiwabo and Workney Gebeyehu, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, and the Director General of the International Organization for Migration William Swing will discuss the interactions between migration and security.

Migration is often viewed as a controversial issue by the different stakeholders. Some see the arrival of new workers as an asset, while others are concerned about the difficulties of providing for and integrating large groups of refugees. The way that migration is managed and refugees are protected has major implications for the fate of migrants and for the situation of the host communities.

Transnational organised crime also facilitates migration in places where there are no regular channels. In many countries, this leads to calls for tougher laws and more police officers. For all states, protecting their territory and asserting their monopoly on the use of force form the basis for protecting their citizens. In countries such as Libya, a lack of state structures gives rise to lawless areas and widespread crime and violence.

There are some 20 million people living as refugees or internally displaced persons in Africa. As a result, many African states face enormous challenges when it comes to migration management. Between 10 and 15 per cent of migrants attempt to reach Europe. The discussion at the Munich Security Conference will centre on the potential solutions and opportunities for cooperation between Europe and Africa in this area.