MIDSA Partners Development of MIDSA MIDSA Activities
Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA)


The Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) aims to facilitate regional dialogue and cooperation on migration policy issues amongst the governments of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The overall objective is to facilitate regional co-operation in migration management by fostering greater understanding of migration and strengthening regional institutional and personnel capacities. The Forum created through the MIDSA process aims to achieve the following specific goals:

  • To foster co-operation among SADC Member States on migration-related issues, enhancing their capacity to manage migration within a regional context.
  • To contribute to an increased awareness amongst SADC officials and policy-makers of the role of migration in the social and economic development of the region, and to ensure that orderly migration is perceived and used as a positive factor in the development process.
  • To help develop regional institutional capacities to deal with the challenges of migration management and strengthen the capacity of Governments to meet these challenges in a cooperative and knowledge-based manner.
  • To enhance the understanding of officials and policy-makers of the causes, dimensions and impacts of migration in Southern Africa.
  • To promote dialogue and interaction between governments and other agencies and institutions with migration-related interests and expertise.
  • To deliver technical co-operation and training to build capacity for migration management, information sharing and research, and information dissemination activities.
  • To enhance the capacity of SADC countries to collectively manage migration including substantial progress towards harmonized systems of data collection and harmonized immigration policy and legislation.

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MIDSA Partners

SAMP is collaborating with a number of governments and other agencies in the planning and implementation of MIDSA. The IOM runs the MIDSA Secretariat and is responsible for convening the MIDSA Steering Committee and the logistics of MIDSA events. SAMP sits on the Steering Committee and is primarily responsible for MIDSA’s research and information activities. Other partners in MIDSA include SADC Country Ministries of Home Affairs, Immigration and Labour; the SADC Secretariat; the International Migration Policy Programme (IMP); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the US-INS.

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Development of MIDSA

Article 5 of the 1992 SADC treaty noted as one of the objectives of SADC to "develop policies aimed at progressive elimination of obstacles to the free movement of capital and labour, goods and services, and of the people of the region generally, among Member States." The idea for MIDSA germinated during 1998, when it became apparent that the SADC Secretariat’s efforts to promote a protocol on the regional movement of people would not be successful. Concerned organizations became aware that the failure of the protocol might lead to the end of a vision for regional migration and cross-border cooperation within the SADC. Several initiatives were launched to keep the regional question on the policy agenda.

In April 1999, senior government officials from Southern African states met in Pretoria for 10 days of exchange and intensive training on migration management and regional cooperation. The international migration and policy law course offered training to over 40 officers from home affairs, foreign affairs and other ministries from all 13 SADC states. The course was hosted by the IOM and UNITAR in cooperation with SAMP, the UNHCR, the UNFP and the US-INS. As the lead local organization, SAMP played a major role on the planning committee, in course design and in the delivery of the training course to delegates. The course delegates resolved that there was a "need to develop, in conjunction with SADC, arum for further exchange of information, experience and perspective among Governments on migration policy and practice, to facilitate co-operation."

In July 2000, SAMP hosted a major international conference in Centurion, South Africa, on the subject of International Migration and Regional Cooperation in Southern Africa. The conference was co-organized with the IOM. UNHCR, SAHRC and US-INS. Delegates from 10 SADC governments attended the conference which provided the opportunity for the latest research on regional migration to be presented and to promote a dialogue between the policy and research communities.

SADC government support for the MIDSA process was secured at IOM consultation workshops in Harare and Lusaka. A MIDSA steering committee, chaired by IOM, was formed to coordinate the MIDSA programme. The committee currently has representation from SAMP, IMP, US-INS and UNHCR.

MIDSA was formally constituted in Mbabane, Swaziland, in November 2000 at the First MIDSA Forum. The event, engaging high-level migration officials from all SADC Member States, was jointly arranged by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland, IOM and IMP, in collaboration with SAMP, the UNHCR and US-INS.

The Second MIDSA Training Forum for SADC government officials was held in Lusaka, Zambia, in May 2001 on the theme of Border Management. The third training forum for immigration and labour officials will be held in Gaberone, Botswana, in November 2001.

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MIDSA Activities

(right-click on link and choose "Save Target As..." to save Reports and Recommendations as "PDF files".)

pdfFirst Ministerial MIDSA Meeting on Managing Migration Through Regional Cooperation, Windhoek, 15-17 November 2010  

pdf MIDSA Workshop on Managing Migration for Development in Southern Africa, Cape Town 21-22 September 2009

PDF MIDSA Workshop on Promoting Health and Development: Migration Health in Southern Africa, Dar-es-Salaam 10-12 June 2009

MIDSA Workshop on Regional Protection Mechanisms for Victims of Human Trafficking in Southern African, Durban 23-25 April 2008

MIDSA Workshop on Human Capital Mobility, Labour and the MDGs in Southern Africa, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 26-28, March 2007

MIDSA Workshop on Irregular Migration, including Trafficking and Smuggling of Persons, Republic of Mauritius, November 11-13, 2006.

MIDSA Workshop on Migration and Development/Poverty in the SADC Region, Windhoek, Namibia, April 24-26, 2006, Final Report.

MIDSA Workshop on the Report of the Global Commission on International Migration and the Harmonization of Policies and Practices on Migration in Southern Africa, Sandton, 12-14 December 2005. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Building Capacity to Manage Migration, Centurion, South Africa, 19-22 July 2005. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Migration and Health, Cape Town, 24-26 November 2004. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Trafficking and Migrant-Smuggling, Blantyre, 20-22 September 2004. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Migration and Development in Southern Africa, Zanzibar, 17-19 March 2004. Report and Recommendations.

Third MIDSA Forum on Harmonisation of Migration Policies, Legislation and Data Collection Systems, Maseru, 1-3 December 2003. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Forced Migration, Lusaka, 27-29 October 2003. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Irregular Migration and Migrant-Smuggling, Johannesburg, 25-27 June 2003. Report and Recommendations.

MIDSA Workshop on Trafficking in Persons, Maputo, 7-9 October 2002. Report and Recommendations.

Second MIDSA Forum, Gaborone, Botsawana, 3-7 March 2002 . Report and Recommendations of Workshop on Regional Labour Migration.

First MIDSA Forum, Mbabane, Swaziland, 6-9 November, 2000. Report and Recommendations.

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