Your Excellency, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique,
Your Excellencies, Ministers of Home Affairs, Labor, Foreign Affairs, Health, Youth, and Gender and Social Development,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honored to join you this morning for this important dialogue on migration in Southern Africa.
Over the course of my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique, I have seen how crises can change communities. Right after I arrived, we faced the devastation of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which destroyed thousands of homes. More recently the terror of ISIS-Mozambique made hundreds of thousands flee for their lives. The global COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn has made it even more difficult for families to recover and return to their homes.
Migration is not a single-country issue. It is a regional and global concept that requires international cooperation at its core. A gathering like this helps address the large amount of migration within southern Africa, where about 75 percent of migrants actually come from with the SADC region.
Migrants, regardless of their reason for moving, have enormous hurdles to overcome. These challenges range from crowded living and working conditions to language, legal, or cultural barriers, to increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, and a lack of access to the tools and services they need to protect themselves and to thrive financially. I know this region and the global community understands the importance of lowering these barriers to protect migrants and ease their already harrowing journeys.
The USG has been supporting the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) since its inception in 2000. The United States was proud to sponsor the last MIDSA Ministerial in 2019 through the IOM Africa Regional Migration Program, which resulted in the adoption of the SADC Labor Migration Policy Framework and the SADC Action Plan on Labor Migration. Both plans have laid the foundation for regional government implementation of policies to support safe and humane labor migration management.
I hope that the discussions held over the last few days and those to take place during the Ministerial session today will help build a regional framework to address these mobility and migration challenges.
These efforts will require a whole-of-government approach and significant cooperation with partners across borders and throughout the region.
As you chart the path forward, the United States will continue to support your efforts to build systems that survive crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, protect vulnerable people on the move, enable socio-economic recovery and development, and facilitate safe and orderly migration.
Thank you very much. Estamos juntos.