During the meeting, Prime Minister Madbouly highlighted the importance of developing mechanisms to address irregular migration at its roots, reducing the burden on refugee-hosting countries, and fostering cooperation between Egypt and IOM, according to the Egyptian cabinet.
Madbouly expressed Egypt's desire to strengthen cooperation with the IOM in the near future, particularly given the significance of the migration file for Egypt, which hosts nine million migrants and refugees.
The Prime Minister congratulated Pope on being the first woman to head the IOM during their meeting.
Pope acknowledged Egypt's effort in hosting vast numbers of refugees and migrants and providing them with all necessary services, despite the challenges and economic burdens.
She also highlighting that Egypt's geographical location made it the largest host of Sudanese refugees after the outbreak of conflict in Sudan in April.
As per the latest IOM displacement data report on 18 July, 255,565 Sudanese have entered Egypt's borders.
Pope expressed her hope to collaborate with Egypt after officially assuming her duties in October 2023 to explore ways to establish organized and legal pathways for migrants, reduce irregular migration operations, and enhance efforts to support refugee-hosting countries.
Madbouly addresses the conference
In his address to the conference on Sunday, Prime Minister Madbouly emphasized that the conference presented a crucial opportunity to strengthen international cooperation to tackle irregular migration, citing the significant loss of life in Mediterranean boat disasters.
“We must seek to understand these migrations’ root causes such as geopolitical and economic crises in order to find the proper solutions,” he continued in his keynote speech.
"Hence, accounting for the security and developmental reasons for which migrants leave their home country will allow for international efforts to push for political stability and economic development in those areas," the Prime Minister added.
The UN reports that the majority of the over 100,000 migrants who reached Europe by sea in the H1 of 2023 arrived in Italy. These migrants departed from the coasts of North Africa, Turkey, and Lebanon.
Although lower than the previous year's 189,000 arrivals, Italy still received less than 80,000 asylum applications last year, which is fewer than those received by Germany, France, Spain, and Austria.
Madbouly emphasized the significance of adopting the model of equitable sharing of responsibilities to improve the host communities' ability to provide support for arrivals.
He stressed that financing countries that face economic challenges is crucial to ensure sustainability in service provision.
"We also must increase international cooperation in border control and combating migrant smuggling to clamp down on the networks who exploit loopholes in the system to carry out their crimes," he continued.
"Finally, it is important to open regular paths for migrants and provide them with a decent life abroad as well as promote their integration into the societies in which they live further eliminating any discriminatory practices against them," he added
Egypt and migration
Madbouly emphasized that immigration is a priority issue in Egypt, highlighting that the country hosts nine million migrants and refugees, which accounts for eight percent of the population.
He clarified that these migrants and refugees receive all Egyptian privileges, including education, health, and freedom of movement, resulting in a 50 percent increase in arrivals in 2018.
Additionally, he added that there are many Sudanese individuals who are fleeing the conflict in their country.
He asserted that despite economic challenges and limited international support, Egypt does not hesitate to offer all possible support to them.
Madbouly stated that Egypt recognizes its position as a country of irregular migration, serving as a source, transit, and destination for migrants. As a result, the state has adopted a comprehensive approach to combat the phenomenon.
He confirmed that as a result, the country is seeking to promote economic and social development in repelling areas, create pathways for regular migration, and raise awareness about the dangers of irregular migration.
He added that on the other hand, the government has tightened border control to combat migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks.
The country has also established strict laws against these two phenomena.
Madbouly asserted that as a result of these efforts, no boats carrying irregular immigrants have departed from the Egyptian coast since September 2016.
The conference, initiated by Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, aims to address irregular migration, combat human trafficking, and foster economic development through collaborative planning and implementation of initiatives and projects between states in the wider Mediterranean and Africa.