On December 19, a contribution agreement was signed in Tunis, whereby the European Union (EU) entrusted IOM with EUR 9.9 million to establish the preconditions required to support transition processes and promote sustainable recoveries in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
More specifically, under this comprehensive three year programme, which will commence on 1 January 2012, IOM will seek to address emerging migration-related challenges in each target country.
In Libya, IOM will strengthen capacities and mechanisms to address labour market needs through human capital development and regular migration, with an initial focus on sectors critical to the country’s transition and recovery. To this end, IOM will facilitate the temporary deployment of 100 foreign health professionals to Libya, where the mass exodus of migrant workers, including skilled medical staff, has affected some services. At the same time, IOM will also support the government to review migration-related policies and legislation and strengthen national capacities to manage migration flows.
In Egypt and Tunisia, IOM will support governmental and non-governmental efforts to prevent irregular migration and stabilize at-risk communities, including those which suffer high unemployment pressure and/or are struggling to absorb returnees. Indeed, according to the Governments of Egypt and Tunisia, over 200,000 Egyptians and 82,000 Tunisians have returned to their respective home countries due to the conflict in Libya – in most cases, losing their sole source of income. In Egypt and Tunisia, IOM will also take measures to ensure Libyans’ and other migrants’ continued access to basic services, including health care, as well as to strengthen local capacities to cope with future migration surges.
“It is fundamental”, says IOM Chief of Mission in Tunis, Lorena Lando, “to ensure that migration remains a key issue on the agenda of North-African countries, particularly in the aftermath of the political changes that have affected the region”.
The EU has responded swiftly to developments in its Southern Neighbourhood and this contribution once again highlights the EU’s commitment to strengthening links with its neighbours in the South and supporting democratic processes in the region.
The Head of the European Union Delegation in Tunisia, Ambassador Adrianus Koetsenruijter, commented: “The signature of this new contribution agreement with IOM will play a key role in strengthening migration management capacity of the new government in Libya and at the same time will help preserve the economic and political stability in Egypt and Tunisia by supporting those communities which are particularly affected by high unemployment”.