Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2016

© sef:

Pathways towards Coordinated African Migration Governance:
The African Regional Organisations’ Role 

7-8 April 2016, Potsdam

Conference languages: German and English

- Participation on personal invitation only - 

International refugee movements, especially to the European continent, are currently the topic of intense debate in Europe. However, the issues dominating the African migration governance discourse from an African perspective generally receive little attention in Germany and Europe. In 2013 alone, there were - according to the United Nations (UN) – 15.3 million migrants on the move in an African state other than their home country – and the numbers are increasing. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 65 per cent of sub-Saharan African migrants remain on their own continent.

The causes of intra-African migration are highly diverse and include armed conflict, political repression and human rights abuses. However, people also migrate for the purpose of work or study or take advantage of the freedom of movement which the African Union (AU) and regional economic communities (RECs) are working towards. The interests of and challenges facing the individual regions and countries vary considerably; most African countries can additionally not be divided into home, transit and destination countries as they are mostly affected by all three phenomena.

Coordinated and coherent migration governance has therefore emerged as one of the key challenges for the African countries. Their main task is to harness the potential of regular migration while lowering the risks and costs for migrants and refugees and mitigating the negative impacts on home, transit and host countries. The importance of migration governance for the continent’s development is stated in the AU’s Migration Policy Framework for Africa (2006) and Agenda 2063 (2013), for example. In its Declaration on Migration (2015), too, the AU reaffirmed the importance of mobility in accelerating regional economic integration.

In recent years, some RECs have therefore developed diverse initiatives to promote mobility and manage migration. At the forefront are efforts to improve migrants’ legal and social status, to regulate and expand freedom of movement and labour migration, and to curb irregular migration. Progress on implementing these initiatives and enforcing the rules and guidelines adopted at the pan-African level is sluggish, however – often due to a lack of institutional and human capacities within the AU, the RECs and their Member States.

Against this background, the Potsdam Spring Dialogues 2016 will critically appraise the regional mechanisms for implementing migration governance in Africa. African and European stakeholders will then jointly identify and discuss priorities and fields of action for comprehensive and coherent refugee and migration governance in Africa.

  • Which regional protocols and dialogue processes on migration governance and refugee policy exist in Africa? What gaps are to be closed?
  • Which practical measures are required in order to meet the goals agreed upon?
  • How can the potential afforded by regular migration and mobility be utilised more effectively in the interests of Africa’s development? What measures can be taken to ensure that the out-migration of skilled workers does not become a barrier to development?
  • How can Germany and the EU support actors of migration governance in Africa in order to boost regional economic integration? What options are there to cooperate on developing long-term solutions?
  • In which areas can the EU serve as a model? Where can African stakeholders learn from the experiences and current challenges facing the EU, if appropriate? Where should the EU step up its efforts?

Peace must grow from within – but how?


On 8th February 2018, we invite you to a public evening event at the famous Frauenkirche Dresden. The keynote on "Peace must grow from within – but how?" will be given by the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura. Furthermore, Vera Baboun, former Mayor of Bethlehem, Tanja Gönner from GIZ and Hajer Sharief, Extremely Together Young Leader from Libya, will speak about their experience on the long and winding road to peaceful coexistence.

:further info here

sef: Bonn Symposium 2017

Local partnerships to implement Agenda 2030 worldwide


On 5th and 6th December 2017, sef: hosted, together with the Service Agency Communities in One World (SKEW) of Engagement Global gGmbH, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and other supporters, its annual Bonn Symposium. More than 120 experts discussed good examples of partnerships within and between municipalities worldwide. You will find all speakers’ presentations here. A conference report will be published soon. 

:further info here

sef: Policy Lunch 2017

Possible UN-Treaty on Business and Human Rights


At the end of October, the third negotiations on a UN-Treaty on Business and Human Rights took place in Geneva. Goal of the negotiations is a legally binding instrument for States and Businesses. With a sef: Policy Lunch, sef: and CIDSE informed the Brussels community on the outcome of the negotiations on 20 November, and discussed the European positions. Our short conference report provides an overview.

:further info here

First Parliamentary Breakfast

sef: in dialogue with Members of Parliament in North Rhine-Westphalia

On 20 December 2017, sef: welcomed nearly 20 Members of the Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia to a Parliamentary Breakfast. The Chairperson of the Executive Committee, Renate Hendricks, provided  an overview of the history of sef: and its current projects. The subsequent discussion focussed on possible links to the one world and sustainability policy of the federal state.

:further info here

“Sustaining Peace” – Current challenges for democracy


2018 will be the start of a new high-level sef: series called Dresden Forum for International Politics. On 8/9 February 2018, international experts will convene to discuss current challenges for democracies. What are possible pathways towards lasting peace and nonviolent societies? Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, and Steve Killelea, Publisher of the Global Peace Index, have already confirmed their participation.

:further info here