About RMMS West Africa
The Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat West Africa (RMMS WA) is an independent unit aiming to enhance the protection of people on the move in mixed migration flows in West Africa, including refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. It does so through information and data collection, research and analysis on programming and policy, as well as supporting the coordination of practitioners. Geographically, RMMS WA focuses on the flows within, through and from the West Africa Region (ECOWAS member states and Mauritania) while keeping a cross-regional perspective.
Background and rationale
West Africa is a key migration hub characterized by fast evolving and complex population movements. During the past several decades the region has seen particularly large flows of people on the move. Migration patterns often present a continuum where individuals, driven by a variety of diverse and interlinked reasons, move both legally and irregularly within and outside the region, facing varying protection concerns. The multi-dimensional nature of these movements makes it particularly difficult to quantify people on the move, or assess their profiles, vulnerabilities and protection needs. West African countries subsequently face challenges in developing efficient policies and obtaining sustainable results in managing migration processes and protecting people on the move.
Lack of knowledge among concerned actors results in a weak understanding of patterns and conditions of movements and poses an obstacle to the development of holistic programmes and policies to address mixed migration.
RMMS WA works in three domains:
- Information and data collection and dissemination
- Synthesis, analysis and research
- Support to programming, policy development and dialogue by providing knowledge, raising questions and instigating further thinking on mixed migration issues
Current Activities Include:
- Information and data gathering and dissemination through the publication of monthly summaries, maps and media output on mixed migration trends in the region and beyond.
- Data collection through the 4Mi project. The project collects information on conditions and protection issues along mixed migration routes directly from migrants and the local population in transit hubs in Mali and Niger. First outputs – infographics, statistics, and issue briefs – are expected in April 2017.
- Providing thematic input and support to practitioners through the Regional Working Group on Mixed Migration. The Working Group is a forum to exchange and coordinate on trends and developments related to mixed migration in the region, as well as on programme and policy responses. It is currently comprised of DRC, IOM, OHCHR, Save the Children, UNHCR and UNODC.
Planned activities until end of 2017 include:
- Building an online platform for information on regional mixed migration issue
- Publication of feature articles and briefing papers
- Publication of targeted research studies
- Providing links to related data collection and research initiatives in the region and beyond
- Organizing and attending workshops, discussion fora, conferences and roundtables on mixed migration issues and engaging with partners in the region and beyond
The RMMS WA is an independent unit co-located within the UNHCR Regional Office in Dakar, Senegal. Administratively, it is hosted by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Regional Office for West Africa.
RMMS WA’s strategic orientation and work is guided by a steering committee consisting of DRC, IOM, OHCHR, Save the Children, UNHCR and UNODC. The steering committee meets three times a year to define RMMS’ work plan and provide strategic guidance to ensure RMMS WA’s work is relevant to the sector. RMMS WA is responsible for the content and quality of its publications and outputs.
The agencies represented in the steering committee as well as other humanitarian and development actors regularly engage in the Regional Working Group on Mixed Migration in Dakar with a view to exchange and coordinate on programming and related questions. The knowledge generated by RMMS WA feeds into discussions in the Working Group, just as the discussions feed into RMMS WA's analysis.
RMMS WA is part of a cross-regional network of similar initiatives. The first RMMS in Kenya was created in 2011 to respond to similar challenges in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. It has become an important hub on mixed migration issues. Other initiatives include the North Africa Mixed Migration Hub and the Mixed Migration Platform in Jordan. This network allows for a cross-regional view on mixed migration issues, taking into account that the phenomenon can only be comprehensively understood by taking a global perspective.