Global But Not Regional? African Regional Migration Regimes

Regional organisations and migration regimes are increasingly being acknowledged in global migration policies. The global compacts for migration and on refugees adopted in December 2018 recognise the migration-related expertise and important function of regional organisations in the implementation of international guidelines and policies. But the compacts’ wording is vague on the division of labour between global and regional migration regimes, and important questions remain unanswered regarding the added value and ideal role of regional migration regimes in the international system. This is particularly true for regions of the global South, whose institutional arrangements, substantive focus and performance in migration-related norm setting and implementation remain understudied. The authors contribute to filling this knowledge gap by considering two migration policy processes in the context of their overall (regional) migration governance systems and regimes – the ECOWAS Protocol for the Free Movement of Persons and the IGAD Regional Framework for Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees. Based on a qualitative research design, they find that regional migration regimes possess some comparative advantages compared with global ones, which enhance their agency. However, depending on institutional path dependencies, the degree of legalisation and the interests of powerful internal and external actors, levels of agency with regards to different migration types might show significant variation.

Full titleGlobal But Not Regional? The Role of African Regional Migration Regimes in the International Governance Architecture
PublisherCentre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2019/33
Media typeArticle
Topics Migration Routes & Transport, Perspectives on Migration
Regions Sahara and Sahel, North Africa, West Africa, East & Horn of Africa

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