Gov’t to establish migration statistical committee to map out migrants

Women and children walk at sunset on a road near Uvira, Democratic Republic of the Congo

By William Madouk Garang

The government of South Sudan and partners have resolved to establish a migration statistical committee known as ‘Technical Working Group (TWG)’ by next week to embark on tracking and mapping out-migrants in the country.

The decision was reached in Juba on Friday at the closure of 2nd Coordination meeting workshop organized by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the National Coordination Mechanism (NCM) with support from IGAD, Statistics Swednand GIZ.

South Sudan is believed to be hosting some of 845,000 migrants, the majority of whom come from East and Horn of Africa, according to 2017 United Nations International Migration report.

Not only is South Sudan a country of destination for many migrants, it is also a transit country on the route to North Africa.

Among recommendations made, is the revitalization of NCM on migration as such the task force was given fourteen days to come up with a Term of Reference (TOR) draft to guide the work of TWG.

In his closing speech, the head of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mission in South Sudan, Dr. Garang Aleu said the revitalization of NCM was vital and urged the participants to be more practical with recommendations. 

“Kindly stick to delivering to IGAD, your tour within 14 days. I am aware that previously there’s discussion around grace period of one month to deliver some of the arrangement that did not see light,” Aleu said.

“Just be more practical this time and also be able to deliver the TOR, TOR means we are able to take this discussion forward in terms of creating this TWG we are talking about,” he added.

He echoed IGAD’s unwavering support to TWG and advised that the coordination committee should have a focal person who would be able to share data with various institutions such as IGAD or African Union among others. 

However, NBS-Chief of Population & Social Statistics, Mark Otwari Odufa stated that with these recommendations they would be able to work together in conducting a survey.

“Sincerely, I would say that this workshop has come to the conclusion to reflect what the [NBS] chairman had been longing all along and that’s the recognition NBS [fraternity] of data in South Sudan,” Odufa said.

“I am quite sure with the recommendations that we have put forward we are going to work in unison to make sure that these data are collected,” he added.

Mr. Odufa stressed that most of the data they had collected are administrative it’s not enough due to financial constraints as such he urged UN agencies to join hands with them in conducting the nationwide surveys.

The Migrant’s movement has a varied root cause which included refugees, migrant workers with or without families as well as unattended migrant children and victims of trafficking.

In 2012, IGAD launched the Regional Migration Policy Framework (RMPF) under its migration program to promote migrant well-being, streamline regional and national migration movement in the region.

For the operationalization of RMPF, IGAD develops Migration Action Plan 201 – 2020 comprising 12 strategies including; improving labor migrant management, building and fostering existing national data systems on migrants, facilitating free movement among others.

National Coordination Mechanism (NCM) on migration – a government-led inter-agency Coordination is a platform tasked with migration issues and facilitating cooperation among stakeholders with migrant mandates for the betterment of migration management and governance.

NCM is currently active in South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda while, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan have widened their membership but they don’t have active NCMs in their respective countries.

The event was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and Labor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Commission for Refugee Affairs, and Criminal Investigation Department among others.

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