Officials from nearly a dozen Egyptian ministries and state institutions have completed a six-month course on migration governance offered by IOM and the American University in Cairo’s Center for Migration and Refugee Studies.
The course is the first of its kind in Egypt, Greta Ellero, a project support officer at IOM’s Egypt office who oversaw the course, told Ahram Online.
“The aim is to bring different stakeholders on migration governance to work together,” Ellero said.
IOM Egypt has previously provided short training courses for different groups on topics such as counter-trafficking and border management, but the certificate in migration governance represents a comprehensive approach, she told Ahram Online.
“Migration is a cross-cutting topic and this is a comprehensive course which addresses the different aspects,” she said.
The part-time course comprised seven modules, and covered topics including international migration law, migration and development, trafficking and smuggling of migrants, and border management.
The 24 participants included mid- and senior-level officials from the Ministry of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Manpower.
Officials from the Office of the Prosecutor General, the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration, the Social Fund for Development, and the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) also participated.
There were also participants from the Federation of Egyptian Industries, which is a private sector body, and from the Egyptian civil society organisation Omar Ibn Al-Khattab.
Karim Abul-Enein, the first secretary in the foreign ministry’s European Department and a participant in the course, told Ahram Online the material was beneficial, athough he had suggested a few adaptations, such as including more country case studies.
“The most important thing was that I got the chance to interact and mingle with different stakeholders from many Egyptian governmental institutions and NGOs, and from other agencies and bodies which have a stake in the issue of migration,” he told Ahram Online.
The course was funded by the US State Department, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the European Union.
A new course is scheduled to begin in September, Ellero said, and IOM hopes to invite representatives of the ministries of planning, social security, local development, finance, youth, health and population, and the interior to participate.
As well as hosting a population of several hundred thousand refugees and asylum-seekers, Egypt is a major transit country for migrants. In recent years increased numbers of Egyptians and non-Egyptians have sought to migrate to Europe via passage in boats which depart from the country’s Mediterranean coast.
In October 2016, Egypt’s parliament passed a new law which criminalises the smuggling of migrants.