• #Niger coup: increasing instability, forced displacement & irregular migration across the #Sahel

    Niger coup: increasing instability, forced displacement & irregular migration across the Sahel, amidst billions of EU Trust Fund for Stability investments.

    On July 26, a military coup took place in Niger, when the democratically elected president was deposed and the commander of the presidential guard declared himself the leader. A nationwide curfew was announced and borders were closed. The military junta justified its actions claiming it was in response to the continuing deterioration of the security situation. On August 10, the leaders of the coup declared a new government, naming 21 ministers, including several generals, but with civilian economist Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the new prime minister.

    This was the latest in a series of seven military coups in West and Central Africa since 2020, including in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso. In Mali, a coup within a coup took place in May 2021, when the junta leader of the 2020 coup stripped the president and prime minister of their powers and declared himself president. Burkina Faso suffered two military coups in 2022; in September 2022, the head of an artillery unit of the armed forces ousted the previous junta leader who had led a coup in January 2022, and declared himself president of Burkina Faso.

    To add to further potential instability and escalation in the region, the military governments of Burkina Faso and Mali quickly warned – in response to remarks by ECOWAS – that any military intervention against last week’s coup leaders in Niger would be considered a “declaration of war” against their nations. The coup leaders ignored an August 6 deadline by ECOWAS to relinquish power and release the detained elected president. At the August 10 ECOWAS emergency summit in Abuja, West African heads of state repeated that all options remain on the table to restore constitutional order in Niger and ordered the activation of its standby force.
    Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso: military coups in the three major recipients of the EU Trust Fund for Stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in the Sahel

    Interestingly, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have been prime target countries in the European Union’s efforts to increase stability in the region and address the root causes of irregular migration and displacement.

    In 2015, the European Union established the “EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa”. Of a total fund of 5 billion EUR, the Sahel and Lake Chad is the biggest funding window, with 2.2 billion EUR committed between the start of the programme and the end of December 2022, across 214 projects.

    The three biggest recipient countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad region are indeed Niger (294 million), Mali (288 million) and Burkina Faso (190 million), in addition to 600 million for regional projects. Among the four various strategic objectives, overall the largest share of the budget (34%) went to security and governance activities (the other strategic priorities are economic opportunities, strengthening resilience and improved migration management). The security and governance objective has been the main priority in Mali (49% of all EUTF funding), Niger (42%) and Burkina Faso (69%) (as well as in Nigeria and Mauritania).

    However, the most recent EUTF monitoring report on the Sahel window offers a sobering read on the state of stability and security in these three countries. In summary:

    “In Burkina Faso, 2022 was marked by political instability and deepening insecurity. Burkina Faso has suffered from attacks from armed groups. The conflict has sparked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Burkina Faso is facing the worst food crisis in a decade”.

    In Mali, “the political process remains at risk considering the country’s worsening security situation and strained diplomatic relations. In an increasingly insecure environment, 8.8 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance in January 2023. In 2022, 1,378 events of violence were reported, causing 4,862 fatalities, a 31% and 155% increase, respectively, compared to 2021”.

    In Niger, it was estimated the country would “face an unprecedented food crisis during the 2022 lean season, resulting from conflict, drought, and high food prices. The humanitarian crisis is strongly driven by insecurity. The number of internal displacements and refugees in Niger kept rising.” These conclusions on Niger date from before the July 2023 coup.

    The report also concluded that 2022 was the “most violent and deadliest year on record for the countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad window, driven by the profound and continuing security crises in Nigeria, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Fatalities recorded in the ACLED database in Mali (4,867) and Burkina Faso (4,266) were the highest ever recorded, more than doubling (144% and 119%, respectively) compared to the average for 2020-2021.” Meanwhile, UNICEF reported 11,100 schools are closed due to conflict or threats made against teachers and students. The number of attacks on schools in West and Central Africa more than doubled between 2019 and 2020.

    In other words: despite billions of funding towards stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displacement, we are seeing increasing instability, conditions in these countries actually driving more displacement and no lasting drop in irregular migration.
    Increasing forced displacement and irregular migration

    Indeed, as of July 2023, UNHCR reports a total of almost 3.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Sahel, compared to just under 50,000 when the EUTF was established in 2015. Similarly, UNHCR reports almost 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers in the Sahel, compared to over 200,000 when the EUTF was established in 2015.

    Irregular migration across the Mediterranean between North Africa and Europe is also on the rise again. According to ISPI, the latest surge in irregular arrivals that Italy is experiencing (136,000 migrants disembarked in Italy in the twelve-month period between June 2022 and May 2023) is almost comparable, in magnitude, to the period of high arrivals in 2014-2017, when on average 155,000 migrants landed each year, which was one of the major drivers for establishing the EUTF. Between 2014 and 2017 close to 80% of all irregular arrivals along the Central Mediterranean route were citizens from sub-Saharan Africa. While figures for 2020-2022 show that the share of arrivals from sub-Saharan Africa fell – suggesting that the efforts to reduce migration may have had an impact – the trend has now reversed again. In the first five months of 2023, sub-Saharan Africans make up more than half of all arrivals again.
    Instability, displacement and irregular migration: because, despite, or regardless of billions of investments in stability and addressing root causes?

    Of course, despite all of the above, we cannot simply conclude the EUTF actually contributed to instability, more displacement and more irregular migration. We cannot even conclude that it failed to have much positive effect, as it not possible to establish causality and we do not have a counterfactual. Perhaps the situation in the Sahel would have been even worse without these massive investments. Surely, the billions of euros the EUTF spend on the Sahel have contributed to successful projects with a positive impact on people’s lives. However, we can conclude that despite these massive investments, the region is more unstable and insecure and faces much more forced displacement than when the EUTF investments started.

    As outlined in an earlier Op-Ed in 2020, the ‘root causes’ approach to migration is both dishonest and ineffective. One of the warnings referred to in that Op-Ed came from a 2019 report by the UK Foreign Affairs Committee concluding that the “EU’s migration work in the Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa risks exacerbating existing security problems, fuelling human rights abuses, and endorsing authoritarian regimes. Preventing local populations from crossing borders may help cut the numbers arriving in Europe in the short term, but in the long term it risks damaging economies and creating instability—which in itself can trigger displacement”. This warning seems to be more valid then ever when looking at the current situation across the Sahel.

    In response to the latest coup in Niger, the EU announced immediate cessation of budget support and indefinite suspension of all cooperation actions in the domain of security. Similarly, France suspended all development aid and budget support with immediate effect. However, Niger has been a prime partner of the EU in fighting the jihadist insurgency in the Sahel and in curbing irregular migration to Europe. Niger’s new military leaders – when looking at the EU’s dealings with third countries to address irregular migration, most recently with Tunisia and Egypt, as well as earlier deals with Morocco and Turkey – are aware of the importance of migration cooperation with third countries for the EU. As such, they may use these issues as leverage in negotiations and to force acceptance of the new regime. It remains to be seen to what extent – and for how long – the EU will be able to maintain its current stance, and resist the pressure to engage with the new regime and resume cooperation, given the political importance that the EU and its member states accord to stemming irregular migration.
    Changing course, or not?

    The bigger question remains: it is becoming increasingly clear the current approach of addressing so-called root causes and trying to create stability to reduce migration and forced displacement is not really working. Now that we have seen military coups in all three major recipient countries of EUTF funding in the Sahel, will there be a significant change in the EU’s external migration policy approach in Africa and the Sahel going forward? Or will the current approach prevail, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? What is ultimately needed is a more humane, rational, coherent and comprehensive approach to migration governance, which not only takes into account all aspects of migration (including visa policies, returns, labour migration, etc.), but goes beyond migration and migration-related objectives, and takes into account other policy areas, including trade, agriculture, arms and commodities exports, peace building and conflict resolution. When we are discussing the root causes of migration, we need honest debate and actions that include the real and very serious causes of migration and displacement.


    #coup_d'Etat #migrations #politiques_migratoires #instabilité_politique #externalisation #EU_Emergency_Trust_Fund #Trust_Fund #Mali #Burkina_Faso #causes_profondes #root_causes #EUTF #insécurité #déplacés_internes #sécheresse

    ping @_kg_

  • #Emmanuel_Macron, 19.01.2022 : « Refonder le partenariat avec l’#Afrique »

    « En lien avec #Charles_Michel et #Ursula_von_der_Leyen, nous avons ainsi souhaité que nous puissions tenir un #sommet au mois de février afin de refonder notre partenariat avec le #continent_africain », a annoncé Emmanuel Macron

    Un partenariat notamment dans le cadre de la pandémie, Emmanuel Macron annonçant que « 700 millions de doses auront été distribuées d’ici juin 2022 », mais pas seulement, le président prônant aussi le fait de « réinventer une nouvelle alliance avec le continent, d’abord à travers un New Deal économique et financier avec l’Afrique ».

    L’Europe a « le devoir de proposer une nouvelle alliance au continent africain, les destins des deux rives de la Méditerranée sont liés », a fait valoir Emmanuel Macron. « Nous ne pouvons aborder décemment le sujet des migrations sans traiter les causes profondes », a-t-il soutenu, ajoutant que « c’est en Afrique que se joue une partie du bouleversement du monde ».


    #Europe #Macron #partenariat #discours #alliance #New_Deal_économique #New_Deal #migrations #root_causes #causes_profondes

    via @karine4
    ping @isskein @rhoumour

  • The power of private philanthropy in international development

    In 1959, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations pledged seven million US$ to establish the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Los Baños in the Philippines. They planted technologies originating in the US into the Philippines landscape, along with new institutions, infrastructures, and attitudes. Yet this intervention was far from unique, nor was it spectacular relative to other philanthropic ‘missions’ from the 20th century.

    How did philanthropic foundations come to wield such influence over how we think about and do development, despite being so far removed from the poor and their poverty in the Global South?

    In a recent paper published in the journal Economy and Society, we suggest that metaphors – bridge, leapfrog, platform, satellite, interdigitate – are useful for thinking about the machinations of philanthropic foundations. In the Philippines, for example, the Ford and Rockefeller foundations were trying to bridge what they saw as a developmental lag. In endowing new scientific institutions such as IRRI that juxtaposed spaces of modernity and underdevelopment, they saw themselves bringing so-called third world countries into present–day modernity from elsewhere by leapfrogging historical time. In so doing, they purposively bypassed actors that might otherwise have been central: such as post–colonial governments, trade unions, and peasantry, along with their respective interests and demands, while providing platforms for other – preferred – ideas, institutions, and interests to dominate.

    We offer examples, below, from three developmental epochs.

    Scientific development (1940s – 70s)

    From the 1920s, the ‘big three’ US foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie) moved away from traditional notions of charity towards a more systematic approach to grant-making that involved diagnosing and attacking the ‘root causes’ of poverty. These foundations went on to prescribe the transfer of models of science and development that had evolved within a US context – but were nevertheless considered universally applicable – to solve problems in diverse and distant lands. In public health, for example, ‘success against hookworm in the United States helped inspire the belief that such programs could be replicated in other parts of the world, and were indeed expanded to include malaria and yellow fever, among others’. Similarly, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s model of river–basin integrated regional development was replicated in India, Laos, Vietnam, Egypt, Lebanon, Tanzania, and Brazil.

    The chosen strategy of institutional replication can be understood as the development of satellites––as new scientific institutions invested with a distinct local/regional identity remained, nonetheless, within the orbit of the ‘metropolis’. US foundations’ preference for satellite creation was exemplified by the ‘Green Revolution’—an ambitious programme of agricultural modernization in South and Southeast Asia spearheaded by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations and implemented through international institutions for whom IRRI was the template.

    Such large-scale funding was justified as essential in the fight against communism.

    The Green Revolution offered a technocratic solution to the problem of food shortage in South and Southeast Asia—the frontier of the Cold War. Meanwhile, for developmentalist regimes that, in the Philippines as elsewhere, had superseded post-independence socialist governments, these programmes provided a welcome diversion from redistributive politics. In this context, institutions like IRRI and their ‘miracle seeds’ were showcased as investments in and symbols of modernity and development. Meanwhile, an increasingly transnational agribusiness sector expanded into new markets for seeds, agrichemicals, machinery, and, ultimately, land.

    The turn to partnerships (1970s – 2000s)

    By the 1970s, the era of large–scale investment in technical assistance to developing country governments and public bureaucracies was coming to an end. The Ford Foundation led the way in pioneering a new approach through its population programmes in South Asia. This new ‘partnership’ mode of intervention was a more arms-length form of satellite creation which emphasised the value of local experience. Rather than obstacles to progress, local communities were reimagined as ‘potential reservoirs of entrepreneurship’ that could be mobilized for economic development.

    In Bangladesh, for example, the Ford Foundation partnered with NGOs such as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) and Concerned Women for Family Planning (CWFP) to mainstream ‘economic empowerment’ programmes that co-opted local NGOs into service provision to citizens-as-consumers. This approach was epitomised by the rise of microfinance, which merged women’s empowerment with hard-headed pragmatism that saw women as reliable borrowers and opened up new areas of social life to marketization.

    By the late-1990s private sector actors had begun to overshadow civil society organizations in the constitution of development partnerships, where state intervention was necessary to support the market if it was to deliver desirable outcomes. Foundations’ efforts were redirected towards brokering increasingly complex public-private partnerships (PPPs). This mode of philanthropy was exemplified by the Rockefeller Foundation’s role in establishing product development partnerships as the institutional blueprint for global vaccine development. Through a combination of interdigitating (embedding itself in the partnership) and platforming (ensuring its preferred model became the global standard), it enabled the Foundation to continue to wield ‘influence in the health sphere, despite its relative decline in assets’.

    Philanthrocapitalism (2000s – present)

    In the lead up to the 2015 UN Conference at which the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed, a consensus formed that private development financing was both desirable and necessary if the ‘trillions’ needed to close the ‘financing gap’ were to be found. For DAC donor countries, the privatization of aid was a way to maintain commitments while implementing economic austerity at home in the wake of the global finance crisis. Philanthrocapitalism emerged to transform philanthropic giving into a ‘profit–oriented investment process’, as grant-making gave way to impact investing.

    The idea of impact investing was hardly new, however. The term had been coined as far back as 2007 at a meeting hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation at its Bellagio Centre. Since then, the mainstreaming of impact investing has occurred in stages, beginning with the aforementioned normalisation of PPPs along with their close relative, blended finance. These strategies served as transit platforms for the formation of networks shaped by financial logics. The final step came with the shift from blended finance as a strategy to impact investing ‘as an asset class’.

    A foundation that embodies the 21st c. transition to philanthrocapitalism is the Omidyar Network, created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar in 2004. The Network is structured both as a non–profit organization and for–profit venture that ‘invests in entities with a broad social mission’. It has successfully interdigitated with ODA agencies to further align development financing with the financial sector. In 2013, for example, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) launched Global Development Innovation Ventures (GDIV), ‘a global investment platform, with Omidyar Network as a founding member’.


    US foundations have achieved their power by forging development technoscapes centred in purportedly scale–neutral technologies and techniques – from vaccines to ‘miracle seeds’ to management’s ‘one best way’. They have become increasingly sophisticated in their development of ideational and institutional platforms from which to influence, not only how their assets are deployed, but how, when and where public funds are channelled and towards what ends. This is accompanied by strategies for creating dense, interdigitate connections between key actors and imaginaries of the respective epoch. In the process, foundations have been able to influence debates about development financing itself; presenting its own ‘success stories’ as evidence for preferred financing mechanisms, allocating respective roles of public and private sector actors, and representing the most cost–effective way to resource development.

    Whether US foundations maintain their hegemony or are eclipsed by models of elite philanthropy in East Asia and Latin America, remains to be seen. Indications are that emerging philanthropists in these regions may be well placed to leapfrog over transitioning philanthropic sectors in Western countries by ‘aligning their philanthropic giving with the new financialized paradigm’ from the outset.

    Using ‘simple’ metaphors, we have explored their potential and power to map, analyse, theorize, and interpret philanthropic organizations’ disproportionate influence in development. These provide us with a conceptual language that connects with earlier and emergent critiques of philanthropy working both within and somehow above the ‘field’ of development. Use of metaphors in this way is revealing not just of developmental inclusions but also its exclusions: ideascast aside, routes not pursued, and actors excluded.


    #philanthropie #philanthrocapitalisme #développement #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #privatisation #influence #Ford #Rockefeller #Carnegie #soft_power #charité #root_causes #causes_profondes #pauvreté #science #tranfert #technologie #ressources_pédagogiques #réplique #modernisation #fondations #guerre_froide #green_revolution #révolution_verte #développementalisme #modernité #industrie_agro-alimentaire #partnerships #micro-finance #entrepreneuriat #entreprenariat #partenariat_public-privé (#PPP) #privatisation_de_l'aide #histoire #Omidyar_Network #Pierre_Omidyar

  • The big wall


    An ActionAid investigation into how Italy tried to stop migration from Africa, using EU funds, and how much money it spent.

    There are satellites, drones, ships, cooperation projects, police posts, repatriation flights, training centers. They are the bricks of an invisible but tangible and often violent wall. Erected starting in 2015 onwards, thanks to over one billion euros of public money. With one goal: to eliminate those movements by sea, from North Africa to Italy, which in 2015 caused an outcry over a “refugee crisis”. Here we tell you about the (fragile) foundations and the (dramatic) impacts of this project. Which must be changed, urgently.


    Ready, Set, Go

    Imagine a board game, Risk style. The board is a huge geographical map, which descends south from Italy, including the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa and almost reaching the equator, in Cameroon, South Sudan, Rwanda. Places we know little about and read rarely about.

    Each player distributes activity cards and objects between countries and along borders. In Ethiopia there is a camera crew shooting TV series called ‘Miraj’ [mirage], which recounts the misadventures of naive youth who rely on shady characters to reach Europe. There is military equipment, distributed almost everywhere: off-road vehicles for the Tunisian border police, ambulances and tank trucks for the army in Niger, patrol boats for Libya, surveillance drones taking off from Sicily.

    There is technology: satellite systems on ships in the Mediterranean, software for recording fingerprints in Egypt, laptops for the Nigerian police. And still: coming and going of flights between Libya and Nigeria, Guinea, Gambia. Maritime coordination centers, police posts in the middle of the Sahara, job orientation offices in Tunisia or Ethiopia, clinics in Uganda, facilities for minors in Eritrea, and refugee camps in Sudan.

    Hold your breath for a moment longer, because we still haven’t mentioned the training courses. And there are many: to produce yogurt in Ivory Coast, open a farm in Senegal or a beauty salon in Nigeria, to learn about the rights of refugees, or how to use a radar station.

    Crazed pawns, overlapping cards and unclear rules. Except for one: from these African countries, more than 25 of them, not one person should make it to Italy. There is only one exception allowed: leaving with a visa. Embassy officials, however, have precise instructions: anyone who doesn’t have something to return to should not be accepted. Relationships, family, and friends don’t count, but only incomes, properties, businesses, and titles do.

    For a young professional, a worker, a student, an activist, anyone looking for safety, future and adventure beyond the borders of the continent, for people like me writing and perhaps like you reading, the only allies become the facilitators, those who Europe calls traffickers and who, from friends, can turn into worst enemies.

    We called it The Big Wall. It could be one of those strategy games that keeps going throughout the night, for fans of geopolitics, conflicts, finance. But this is real life, and it’s the result of years of investments, experiments, documents and meetings. At first disorderly, sporadic, then systematized and increased since 2015, when United Nations agencies, echoed by the international media, sounded an alarm: there is a migrant crisis happening and Europe must intervene. Immediately.

    Italy was at the forefront, and all those agreements, projects, and programs from previous years suddenly converged and multiplied, becoming bricks of a wall that, from an increasingly militarized Mediterranean, moved south, to the travelers’ countries of origin.

    The basic idea, which bounced around chancelleries and European institutions, was to use multiple tools: development cooperation, support for security forces, on-site protection of refugees, repatriation, information campaigns on the risks of irregular migration. This, in the language of Brussels, was a “comprehensive approach”.

    We talked to some of the protagonists of this story — those who built the wall, who tried to jump it, and who would like to demolish it — and we looked through thousands of pages of reports, minutes, resolutions, decrees, calls for tenders, contracts, newspaper articles, research, to understand how much money Italy has spent, where, and what impacts it has had. Months of work to discover not only that this wall has dramatic consequences, but that the European – and Italian – approach to international migration stems from erroneous premises, from an emergency stance that has disastrous results for everyone, including European citizens.
    Libya: the tip of the iceberg

    It was the start of the 2017/2018 academic year and Omer Shatz, professor of international law, offered his Sciences Po students the opportunity to work alongside him on the preparation of a dossier. For the students of the faculty, this was nothing new. In the classrooms of the austere building on the Rive Gauche of Paris, which European and African heads of state have passed though, not least Emmanuel Macron, it’s normal to work on real life materials: peace agreements in Colombia, trials against dictators and foreign fighters. Those who walk on those marble floors already know that they will be able to speak with confidence in circles that matter, in politics as well as diplomacy.

    Shatz, who as a criminal lawyer in Israel is familiar with abuses and rights violations, launched his students a new challenge: to bring Europe to the International Criminal Court for the first time. “Since it was created, the court has only condemned African citizens – dictators, militia leaders – but showing European responsibility was urgent,” he explains.

    One year after first proposing the plan, Shatz sent an envelope to the Court’s headquarters, in the Dutch town of The Hague. With his colleague Juan Branco and eight of his students he recounted, in 245 pages, cases of “widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population”, linked to “crimes against humanity consciously committed by European actors, in the central Mediterranean and in Libya, in line with Italian and European Union policies”.

    The civilian population to which they refer comprises migrants and refugees, swallowed by the waves or intercepted in the central Mediterranean and brought back to shore by Libyan assets, to be placed in a seemingly endless cycle of detention. Among them are the 13.000 dead recorded since 2015, in the stretch of sea between North Africa and Italy, out of 523.000 people who survived the crossing, but also the many African and Asian citizens, who are rarely counted, who were tortured in Libya and died in any of the dozens of detention centers for foreigners, often run by militias.

    “At first we thought that the EU and Italy were outsourcing dirty work to Libya to block people, which in jargon is called ‘aiding and abetting’ in the commission of a crime, then we realized that the Europeans were actually the conductors of these operations, while the Libyans performed”, says Shatz, who, at the end of 2020, was preparing a second document for the International Criminal Court to include more names, those of the “anonymous officials of the European and Italian bureaucracy who participated in this criminal enterprise”, which was centered around the “reinvention of the Libyan Coast Guard, conceived by Italian actors”.

    Identifying heads of department, office directors, and institution executives in democratic countries as alleged criminals might seem excessive. For Shatz, however, “this is the first time, after the Nuremberg trials, after Eichmann, that Europe has committed crimes of this magnitude, outside of an armed conflict”. The court, which routinely rejects at least 95 percent of the cases presented, did not do so with Shatz and his students’ case. “Encouraging news, but that does not mean that the start of proceedings is around the corner”, explains the lawyer.

    At the basis of the alleged crimes, he continues, are “regulations, memoranda of understanding, maritime cooperation, detention centers, patrols and drones” created and financed by the European Union and Italy. Here Shatz is speaking about the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya to “reduce the flow of illegal migrants”, as the text of the document states. An objective to be achieved through training and support for the two maritime patrol forces of the very fragile Libyan national unity government, by “adapting” the existing detention centers, and supporting local development initiatives.

    Signed in Rome on February 2, 2017 and in force until 2023, the text is grafted onto the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation signed by Silvio Berlusconi and Muammar Gaddafi in 2008, but is tied to a specific budget: that of the so-called Africa Fund, established in 2016 as the “Fund for extraordinary interventions to relaunch dialogue and cooperation with African countries of priority importance for migration routes” and extended in 2020 — as the Migration Fund — to non-African countries too.

    310 million euros were allocated in total between the end of 2016 and November 2020, and 252 of those were disbursed, according to our reconstruction.

    A multiplication of tools and funds that, explains Mario Giro, “was born after the summit between the European Union and African leaders in Malta, in November 2015”. According to the former undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 2013, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2018, that summit in Malta “sanctioned the triumph of a European obsession, that of reducing migration from Africa at all costs: in exchange of this containment, there was a willingness to spend, invest”. For Giro, the one in Malta was an “attempt to come together, but not a real partnership”.

    Libya, where more than 90 percent of those attempting to cross the central Mediterranean departed from in those years, was the heart of a project in which Italian funds and interests support and integrate with programs by the European Union and other member states. It was an all-European dialogue, from which powerful Africans — political leaders but also policemen, militiamen, and the traffickers themselves — tried to obtain something: legitimacy, funds, equipment.

    Fragmented and torn apart by a decade-long conflict, Libya was however not alone. In October 2015, just before the handshakes and the usual photographs at the Malta meeting, the European Commission established an Emergency Trust Fund to “address the root causes of migration in Africa”.

    To do so, as Dutch researcher Thomas Spijkerboer will reconstruct years later, the EU executive declared a state of emergency in the 26 African countries that benefit from the Fund, thus justifying the choice to circumvent European competition rules in favor of direct award procedures. However “it’s implausible – Spijkerboeker will go on to argue – that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates through the duration of the Trust Fund”, now extended until the end of 2021.

    However, the imperative, as an advisor to the Budget Commission of the European Parliament explains, was to act immediately: “not within a few weeks, but days, hours“.

    Faced with a Libya still ineffective at stopping flows to the north, it was in fact necessary to intervene further south, traveling backwards along the routes that converge from dozens of African countries and go towards Tripolitania. And — like dominoes in reverse — raising borders and convincing, or forcing, potential travelers to stop in their countries of origin or in others along the way, before they arrived on the shores of the Mediterranean.

    For the first time since decolonization, human mobility in Africa became the keystone of Italian policies on the continent, so much so that analysts began speaking of migration diplomacy. Factors such as the number of migrants leaving from a given country and the number of border posts or repatriations all became part of the political game, on the same level as profits from oil extraction, promises of investment, arms sales, or trade agreements.

    Comprising projects, funds, and programs, this migration diplomacy comes at a cost. For the period between January 2015 and November 2020, we tracked down 317 funding lines managed by Italy with its own funds and partially co-financed by the European Union. A total of 1.337 billion euros, spent over five years and destined to eight different items of expenditure. Here Libya is in first place, but it is not alone.

    A long story, in short

    For simplicity’s sake, we can say that it all started in the hot summer of 2002, with an almost surrealist lightning war over a barren rock on the edge of the Mediterranean: the Isla de Persejil, the island of parsley. A little island in the Strait of Gibraltar, disputed for decades between Morocco and Spain, which had its ephemeral moment of glory when in July of that year the Moroccan monarchy sent six soldiers, some tents and a flag. Jose-Maria Aznar’s government quickly responded with a reconquista to the sound of fighter-bombers, frigates, and helicopters.

    Peace was signed only a few weeks later and the island went back to being a land of shepherds and military patrols. Which from then on, however, were joint ones.

    “There was talk of combating drug trafficking and illegal fishing, but the reality was different: these were the first anti-immigration operations co-managed by Spanish and Moroccan soldiers”, explains Sebastian Cobarrubias, professor of geography at the University of Zaragoza. The model, he says, was the one of Franco-Spanish counter-terrorism operations in the Basque Country, exported from the Pyrenees to the sea border.

    A process of externalization of Spanish and European migration policy was born following those events in 2002, and culminating years later with the crisis de los cayucos, the pirogue crisis: the arrival of tens of thousands of people – 31,000 in 2006 alone – in the Canary Islands, following extremely dangerous crossings from Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco.

    In close dialogue with the European Commission, which saw the Spanish border as the most porous one of the fragile Schengen area, the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reacted quickly. “Within a few months, cooperation and repatriation agreements were signed with nine African countries,” says Cobarrubias, who fought for years, with little success, to obtain the texts of the agreements.

    The events of the late 2000s look terribly similar to what Italy will try to implement a decade later with its Mediterranean neighbors, Libya first of all. So much so that in 2016 it was the Spanish Minister of the Interior himself, Jorge Fernández Díaz, who recalled that “the Spanish one is a European management model, reproducible in other contexts”. A vision confirmed by the European Commission officials with whom we spoke.

    At the heart of the Spanish strategy, which over a few short years led to a drastic decrease of arrivals by sea, was the opening of new diplomatic offices in Africa, the launch of local development projects, and above all the support given to the security forces of partner countries.

    Cobarrubias recounts at least four characteristic elements of the Madrid approach: the construction of new patrol forces “such as the Mauritanian Coast Guard, which did not exist and was created by Spain thanks to European funds, with the support of the newly created Frontex agency”; direct and indirect support for detention centers, such as the infamous ‘Guantanamito’, or little Guantanamo, denounced by civil society organizations in Mauritania; the real-time collection of border data and information, carried out by the SIVE satellite system, a prototype of Eurosur, an incredibly expensive intelligence center on the EU’s external borders launched in 2013, based on drones, satellites, airplanes, and sensors; and finally, the strategy of working backwards along migration routes, to seal borders, from the sea to the Sahara desert, and investing locally with development and governance programs, which Spain did during the two phases of the so-called Plan Africa, between 2006 and 2012.

    Replace “Spain” with “Italy”, and “Mauritania” with “Libya”, and you’ll have an idea of what happened years later, in an attempt to seal another European border.

    The main legacy of the Spanish model, according to the Italian sociologist Lorenzo Gabrielli, however, is the negative conditionality, which is the fact of conditioning the disbursement of these loans – for security forces, ministries, trade agreements – at the level of the African partners’ cooperation in the management of migration, constantly threatening to reduce investments if there are not enough repatriations being carried out, or if controls and pushbacks fail. An idea that is reminiscent both of the enlargement process of the European Union, with all the access restrictions placed on candidate countries, and of the Schengen Treaty, the attempt to break down internal European borders, which, as a consequence, created the need to protect a new common border, the external one.
    La externalización europea del control migratorio: ¿La acción española como modelo? Read more

    At the end of 2015, when almost 150,000 people had reached the Italian coast and over 850,000 had crossed Turkey and the Balkans to enter the European Union, the story of the maritime migration to Spain had almost faded from memory.

    But something remained of it: a management model. Based, once again, on an idea of crisis.

    “We tried to apply it to post-Gaddafi Libya – explains Stefano Manservisi, who over the past decade has chaired two key departments for migration policies in the EU Commission, Home Affairs and Development Cooperation – but in 2013 we soon realized that things had blown up, that that there was no government to talk to: the whole strategy had to be reformulated”.

    Going backwards, through routes and processes

    The six-month presidency of the European Council, in 2014, was the perfect opportunity for Italy.

    In November of that year, Matteo Renzi’s government hosted a conference in Rome to launch the Khartoum Process, the brand new initiative for the migration route between the EU and the Horn of Africa, modeled on the Rabat Process, born in 2006, at the apex of the crisis de los cayucos, after pressure from Spain. It’s a regional cooperation platform between EU countries and nine African countries, based on the exchange of information and coordination between governments, to manage migration.
    Il processo di Khartoum: l’Italia e l’Europa contro le migrazioni Read more

    Warning: if you start to find terms such as ‘process’ and ‘coordination platform’ nebulous, don’t worry. The backbone of European policies is made of these structures: meetings, committees, negotiating tables with unattractive names, whose roles elude most of us. It’s a tendency towards the multiplication of dialogue and decision spaces, that the migration policies of recent years have, if possible, accentuated, in the name of flexibility, of being ready for any eventuality. Of continuous crisis.

    Let’s go back to that inter-ministerial meeting in Rome that gave life to the Khartoum Process and in which Libya, where the civil war had resumed violently a few months earlier, was not present.

    Italy thus began looking beyond Libya, to the so-called countries of origin and transit. Such as Ethiopia, a historic beneficiary of Italian development cooperation, and Sudan. Indeed, both nations host refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, two of the main countries of origin of those who cross the central Mediterranean between 2013 and 2015. Improving their living conditions was urgent, to prevent them from traveling again, from dreaming of Europe. In Niger, on the other hand, which is an access corridor to Libya for those traveling from countries such as Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, and Mali, Italy co-financed a study for a new law against migrant smuggling, then adopted in 2015, which became the cornerstone of a radical attempt to reduce movement across the Sahara desert, which you will read about later.

    A year later, with the Malta summit and the birth of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, Italy was therefore ready to act. With a 123 million euro contribution, allocated from 2017 through the Africa Fund and the Migration Fund, Italy became the second donor country, and one of the most active in trying to manage those over 4 billion euros allocated for five years. [If you are curious about the financing mechanisms of the Trust Fund, read here: https://thebigwall.org/en/trust-fund/].

    Through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), born in 2014 as an operational branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy immediately made itself available to manage European Fund projects, and one idea seemed to be the driving one: using classic development programs, but implemented in record time, to offer on-site alternatives to young people eager to leave, while improving access to basic services.

    Local development, therefore, became the intervention to address the so-called root causes of migration. For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the newborn AICS, it seemed a winning approach. Unsurprisingly, the first project approved through the Trust Fund for Africa was managed by the Italian agency in Ethiopia.

    “Stemming irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia” received 19.8 million euros in funding, a rare sum for local development interventions. The goal was to create job opportunities and open career guidance centers for young people in four Ethiopian regions. Or at least that’s how it seemed. In the first place, among the objectives listed in the project sheet, there is in fact another one: to reduce irregular migration.

    In the logical matrix of the project, which insiders know is the presentation – through data, indicators and figures – of the expected results, there is no indicator that appears next to the “reduction of irregular migration” objective. There is no way, it’s implicitly admitted, to verify that that goal has been achieved. That the young person trained to start a micro-enterprise in the Wollo area, for example, is one less migrant.

    Bizarre, not to mention wrong. But indicative of the problems of an approach of which, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains to us, “Italy had made itself the spokesperson in Europe”.

    “The mantra was that more development would stop migration, and at a certain point that worked for everyone: for AICS, which justified its funds in the face of political landscape that was scared by the issue of landings, and for many NGOs, which immediately understood that migrations were the parsley to be sprinkled on the funding requests that were presented”, explains the official, who, like so many in this story, prefers to remain anonymous.

    This idea of the root causes was reproduced, as in an echo chamber, “without programmatic documents, without guidelines, but on the wave of a vague idea of political consensus around the goal of containing migration”, he adds. This makes it almost impossible to talk about, so much so that a proposal for new guidelines on immigration and development, drawn up during 2020 by AICS, was set aside for months.

    Indeed, if someone were to say, as evidenced by scholars such as Michael Clemens, that development can also increase migration, and that migration itself is a source of development, the whole ‘root causes’ idea would collapse and the already tight cooperation budgets would risk being cut, in the name of the same absolute imperative as always: reducing arrivals to Italy and Europe.

    Maintaining a vague, costly and unverifiable approach is equally damaging.

    Bram Frouws, director of the Mixed Migration Center, a think-tank that studies international mobility, points out, for example, how the ‘root cause’ approach arises from a vision of migration as a problem to be eradicated rather than managed, and that paradoxically, the definition of these deep causes always remains superficial. In fact, there is never talk of how international fishing agreements damage local communities, nor of land grabbing by speculators, major construction work, or corruption and arms sales. There is only talk of generic economic vulnerability, of a country’s lack of stability. An almost abstract phenomenon, in which European actors are exempt from any responsibility.

    There is another problem: in the name of the fight against irregular migration, interventions have shifted from poorer and truly vulnerable countries and populations to regions with ‘high migratory rates’, a term repeated in dozens of project descriptions funded over the past few years, distorting one of the cardinal principles of development aid, codified in regulations and agreements: that of responding to the most urgent needs of a given population, and of not imposing external priorities, even more so if it is countries considered richer are the ones doing it.

    The Nigerien experiment

    While Ethiopia and Sudan absorb the most substantial share of funds destined to tackle the root causes of migration — respectively 47 and 32 million euros out of a total expenditure of 195 million euros — Niger, which for years has been contending for the podium of least developed country on the planet with Central African Republic according to the United Nations Human Development Index — benefits from just over 10 million euros.

    Here in fact it’s more urgent, for Italy and the EU, to intervene on border control rather than root causes, to stop the flow of people that cross the country until they arrive in Agadez, to then disappear in the Sahara and emerge, days later — if all goes well — in southern Libya. In 2016, the International Organization for Migration counted nearly 300,000 people passing through a single checkpoint along the road to Libya. The figure bounced between the offices of the European Commission, and from there to the Farnesina, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: faced with an uncontrollable Libya, intervening in Niger became a priority.

    Italy did it in great style, even before opening an embassy in the country, in February 2017: with a contribution to the state budget of Niger of 50 million euros, part of the Africa Fund, included as part of a maxi-program managed by the EU in the country and paid out in several installments.

    While the project documents list a number of conditions for the continuation of the funding, including increased monitoring along the routes to Libya and the adoption of regulations and strategies for border control, some local and European officials with whom we have spoken think that the assessments were made with one eye closed: the important thing was in fact to provide those funds to be spent in a country that for Italy, until then, had been synonymous only with tourism in the Sahara dunes and development in rural areas.

    Having become a priority in the New Partnership Framework on Migration, yet another EU operational program, launched in 2016, Niger seemed thus exempt from controls on the management of funds to which beneficiaries of European funds are normally subject to.

    “Our control mechanisms, the Court of Auditors, the Parliament and the anti-corruption Authority, do not work, and yet the European partners have injected millions of euros into state coffers, without imposing transparency mechanisms”, reports then Ali Idrissa Nani , president of the Réseau des Organizations pour la Transparence et l’Analyse du Budget (ROTAB), a network of associations that seeks to monitor state spending in Niger.

    “It leaves me embittered, but for some years we we’ve had the impression that civil liberties, human rights, and participation are no longer a European priority“, continues Nani, who —- at the end of 2020 — has just filed a complaint with the Court of Niamey, to ask the Prosecutor to open an investigation into the possible disappearance of at least 120 million euros in funds from the Ministry of Defense, a Pandora’s box uncovered by local and international journalists.

    For Nani, who like other Nigerien activists spent most of 2018 in prison for encouraging demonstrations against high living costs, this explosion of European and Italian cooperation didn’t do the country any good, and in fact favoured authoritarian tendencies, and limited even more the independence of the judiciary.

    For their part, the Nigerien rulers have more than others seized the opportunity offered by European donors to obtain legitimacy and support. Right after the Valletta summit, they were the first to present an action plan to reduce migration to Libya, which they abruptly implemented in mid-2016, applying the anti-trafficking law whose preliminary study was financed by Italy, with the aim of emptying the city of #Agadez of migrants from other countries.

    The transport of people to the Libyan border, an activity that until that point happened in the light of day and was sanctioned at least informally by the local authorities, thus became illegal from one day to the next. Hundreds of drivers, intermediaries, and facilitators were arrested, and an entire economy crashed

    But did the movement of people really decrease? Almost impossible to tell. The only data available are those of the International Organization for Migration, which continues to record the number of transits at certain police posts. But drivers and foreign travelers no longer pass through them, fearing they will be arrested or stopped. Routes and journeys, as always happens, are remodeled, only to reappear elsewhere. Over the border with Chad, or in Algeria, or in a risky zigzagging of small tracks, to avoid patrols.

    For Hamidou Manou Nabara, a Nigerien sociologist and researcher, the problems with this type of cooperation are manifold.

    On the one hand, it restricted the free movement guaranteed within the Economic Community of West African States, a sort of ‘Schengen area’ between 15 countries in the region, making half of Niger, from Agadez to the north, a no-go areas for foreign citizens, even though they still had the right to move throughout the national territory.

    Finally, those traveling north were made even more vulnerable. “The control of borders and migratory movements was justified on humanitarian grounds, to contrast human trafficking, but in reality very few victims of trafficking were ever identified: the center of this cooperation is repression”, explains Nabara.

    Increasing controls, through military and police operations, actually exposes travelers to greater violations of human rights, both by state agents and passeurs, making the Sahara crossings longer and riskier.

    The fight against human trafficking, a slogan repeated by European and African leaders and a central expenditure item of the Italian intervention between Africa and the Mediterranean — 142 million euros in five years —- actually risks having the opposite effect. Because a trafiicker’s bread and butter, in addition to people’s desire to travel, is closed borders and denied visas.

    A reinvented frontier

    Galvanized by the activism of the European Commission after the launch of the Trust Fund but under pressure internally, faced with a discourse on migration that seemed to invade every public space — from the front pages of newspapers to television talk-shows — and unable to agree on how to manage migration within the Schengen area, European rulers thus found an agreement outside the continent: to add more bricks to that wall that must reduce movements through the Mediterranean.

    Between 2015 and 2016, Italian, Dutch, German, French and European Union ministers, presidents and senior officials travel relentlessly between countries considered priorities for migration, and increasingly for security, and invite their colleagues to the European capitals. A coming and going of flights to Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal, Chad, Guinea, to make agreements, negotiate.

    “Niamey had become a crossroads for European diplomats”, remembers Ali Idrissa Nani, “but few understood the reasons”.

    However, unlike the border with Turkey, where the agreement signed with the EU at the beginning of 2016 in no time reduced the arrival of Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi citizens in Greece, the continent’s other ‘hot’ border, promises of speed and effectiveness by the Trust Fund for Africa did not seem to materialize. Departures from Libya, in particular, remained constant. And in the meantime, in the upcoming election in a divided Italy, the issue of migration seemed to be tipping the balance, capable of shifting votes and alliances.

    It is at that point that the Italian Ministry of the Interior, newly led by Marco Minniti, put its foot on the accelerator. The Viminale, the Italian Ministry of the Interior, became the orchestrator of a new intervention plan, refined between Rome and Brussels, with German support, which went back to focusing everything on Libya and on that stretch of sea that separates it from Italy.

    “In those months the phones were hot, everyone was looking for Marco“, says an official of the Interior Ministry, who admits that “the Ministry of the Interior had snatched the Libyan dossier from Foreign Affairs, but only because up until then the Foreign Ministry hadn’t obtained anything” .

    Minniti’s first move was the signing of the new Memorandum with Libya, which gave way to a tripartite plan.

    At the top of the agenda was the creation of a maritime interception device for boats departing from the Libyan coast, through the reconstruction of the Coast Guard and the General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS), the two patrol forces belonging to the Ministry of Defense and that of the Interior, and the establishment of a rescue coordination center, prerequisites for Libya to declare to the International Maritime Organization that it had a Search and Rescue Area, so that the Italian Coast Guard could ask Libyan colleagues to intervene if there were boats in trouble.

    Accompanying this work in Libya is a jungle of Italian and EU missions, surveillance systems and military operations — from the European Frontex, Eunavfor Med and Eubam Libya, to the Italian military mission “Safe Waters” — equipped with drones, planes, patrol boats, whose task is to monitor the Libyan Sea, which is increasingly emptied by the European humanitarian ships that started operating in 2014 (whose maneuvering spaces are in the meantime reduced to the bone due to various strategies) to support Libyan interception operations.

    The second point of the ‘Minniti agenda’ was to progressively empty Libya of migrants and refugees, so that an escape by sea would become increasingly difficult. Between 2017 and 2020, the Libyan assets, which are in large part composed of patrol boats donated by Italy, intercepted and returned to shore about 56,000 people according to data released by UN agencies. The Italian-European plan envisages two solutions: for economic migrants, the return to the country of origin; for refugees, the possibility of obtaining protection.

    There is one part of this plan that worked better, at least in terms of European wishes: repatriation, presented as ‘assisted voluntary return’. This vision was propelled by images, released in October 2017 by CNN as part of a report on the abuse of foreigners in Libya, of what appears to be a slave auction. The images reopened the unhealed wounds of the slave trade through Atlantic and Sahara, and helped the creation of a Joint Initiative between the International Organization for Migration, the European Union, and the African Union, aimed at returning and reintegrating people in the countries of origin.

    Part of the Italian funding for IOM was injected into this complex system of repatriation by air, from Tripoli to more than 20 countries, which has contributed to the repatriation of 87,000 people over three years. 33,000 from Libya, and 37,000 from Niger.

    A similar program for refugees, which envisages transit through other African countries (Niger and Rwanda gave their availability) and from there resettlement to Europe or North America, recorded much lower numbers: 3,300 evacuations between the end of 2017 and the end of 2020. For the 47,000 people registered as refugees in Libya, leaving the country without returning to their home country, to the starting point, is almost impossible.

    Finally, there is a third, lesser-known point of the Italian plan: even in Libya, Italy wants to intervene on the root causes of migration, or rather on the economies linked to the transit and smuggling of migrants. The scheme is simple: support basic services and local authorities in migrant transit areas, in exchange for this transit being controlled and reduced. The transit of people brings with it the circulation of currency, a more valuable asset than usual in a country at war, and this above all in the south of Libya, in the immense Saharan region of Fezzan, the gateway to the country, bordering Algeria, Niger, and Chad and almost inaccessible to international humanitarian agencies.

    A game in which intelligence plays central role (as also revealed by the journalist Lorenzo D’Agostino on Foreign Policy), as indeed it did in another negotiation and exchange of money: those 5 million euros destined — according to various journalistic reconstructions — to a Sabratha militia, the Anas Al-Dabbashi Brigade, to stop departures from the coastal city.

    A year later, its leader, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, will be sanctioned by the UN Security Council, as leader for criminal activities related to human trafficking.

    The one built in record time by the ministry led by Marco Minniti is therefore a complicated and expensive puzzle. To finance it, there are above all the Trust Fund for Africa of the EU, and the Italian Africa Fund, initially headed only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unpacked among several ministries for the occasion, but also the Internal Security Fund of the EU, which funds military equipment for all Italian security forces, as well as funds and activities from the Ministry of Defense.

    A significant part of those 666 million euros dedicated to border control, but also of funds to support governance and fight traffickers, converges and enters this plan: a machine that was built too quickly, among whose wheels human rights and Libya’s peace process are sacrificed.

    “We were looking for an immediate result and we lost sight of the big picture, sacrificing peace on the altar of the fight against migration, when Libya was in pieces, in the hands of militias who were holding us hostage”. This is how former Deputy Minister Mario Giro describes the troubled handling of the Libyan dossier.

    For Marwa Mohamed, a Libyan activist, all these funds and interventions were “provided without any real clause of respect for human rights, and have fragmented the country even more, because they were intercepted by the militias, which are the same ones that manage both the smuggling of migrants that detention centers, such as that of Abd el-Rahman al-Milad, known as ‘al-Bija’ ”.

    Projects aimed at Libyan municipalities, included in the interventions on the root causes of migration — such as the whole detention system, invigorated by the introduction of people intercepted at sea (and ‘improved’ through millions of euros of Italian funds) — offer legitimacy, when they do not finance it directly, to the ramified and violent system of local powers that the German political scientist Wolfram Lacher defines as the ‘Tripoli militia cartel‘. [for more details on the many Italian funds in Libya, read here].
    Fondi italiani in Libia Read more

    “Bringing migrants back to shore, perpetuating a detention system, does not only mean subjecting people to new abuses, but also enriching the militias, fueling the conflict”, continues Mohamed, who is now based in London, where she is a spokesman of the Libyan Lawyers for Justice organization.

    The last few years of Italian cooperation, she argues, have been “a sequence of lost opportunities”. And to those who tell you — Italian and European officials especially — that reforming justice, putting an end to that absolute impunity that strengthens the militias, is too difficult, Mohamed replies without hesitation: “to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, the authorities contacted the militias close to the Tripoli government one by one and in the meantime built a non-existent structure from scratch, the Libyan Coast Guard: and you’re telling me that you can’t put the judicial system back on its feet and protect refugees? ”

    The only thing that mattered, however, in that summer of 2017, were the numbers. Which, for the first time since 2013, were falling again, and quickly. In the month of August there were 80 percent fewer landings than the year before. And so it would be for the following months and years.

    “Since then, we have continued to allocate, renewing programs and projects, without asking for any guarantee in exchange for the treatment of migrants”, explains Matteo De Bellis, researcher at Amnesty International, remembering that the Italian promise to modify the Memorandum of Understanding, introducing clauses of protection, has been on stop since the controversial renewal of the document, in February 2020.

    Repatriations, evacuations, promises

    We are 1500 kilometers of road, and sand, south of Tripoli. Here Salah* spends his days escaping a merciless sun. The last three years of the life of the thirty-year-old Sudanese have not offered much else and now, like many fellow sufferers, he does not hide his fatigue.

    We are in a camp 15 kilometers from Agadez, in Niger, in the middle of the Sahara desert, where Salah lives with a thousand people, mostly Sudanese from the Darfur region, the epicenter of one of the most dramatic and lethal conflicts of recent decades.

    Like almost all the inhabitants of this temporary Saharan settlement, managed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and — at the end of 2020 — undergoing rehabilitation also thanks to Italian funds, he passed through Libya and since 2017, after three years of interceptions at sea and detention, he’s been desperately searching for a way out, for a future.

    Salah fled Darfur in 2016, after receiving threats from pro-government armed militias, and reached Tripoli after a series of vicissitudes and violence. In late spring 2017, he sailed from nearby Zawiya with 115 other people. They were intercepted, brought back to shore and imprisoned in a detention center, formally headed by the government but in fact controlled by the Al-Nasr militia, linked to the trafficker Al-Bija.

    “They beat us everywhere, for days, raped some women in front of us, and asked everyone to call families to get money sent,” Salah recalls. Months later, after paying some money and escaping, he crossed the Sahara again, up to Agadez. UNHCR had just opened a facility and from there, as rumour had it, you could ask to be resettled to Europe.

    Faced with sealed maritime borders, and after experiencing torture and abuse, that faint hope set in motion almost two thousand people, who, hoping to reach Italy, found themselves on the edges of the Sahara, along what many, by virtue of investments and negotiations, had started to call the ‘new European frontier’.

    Three years later, a little over a thousand people remain of that initial group. Only a few dozen of them had access to resettlement, while many returned to Libya, and to all of its abuses.

    Something similar is also happening in Tunisia, where since 2017, the number of migrants and refugees entering the country has increased. They are fleeing by land and sometimes by sea from Libya, going to crowd UN structures. Then, faced with a lack of real prospects, they return to Libya.

    For Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesman for the Tunisian Federation for Economic and Social Rights, “in Tunisia European partners have financed a non-reception: overcrowded centers in unworthy conditions, which have become recruitment areas for traffickers, because in fact there are two options offered there: go home or try to get back to the sea “.

    In short, even the interventions for the protection of migrants and refugees must be read in a broader context, of a contraction of mobility and human rights. “The refugee management itself has submitted to the goal of containment, which is the true original sin of the Italian and European strategy,” admits a UNHCR official.

    This dogma of containment, at any cost, affects everyone — people who travel, humanitarian actors, civil society, local governments — by distorting priorities, diverting funds, and undermining future relationships and prospects. The same ones that European officials call partnerships and which in the case of Africa, as reiterated in 2020 by President Ursula Von Der Leyen, should be “between equals”.

    Let’s take another example: the Egypt of President Abdel Fetah Al-Sisi. Since 2016, it has been increasingly isolated on the international level, also due to violent internal repression, which Italy knows something about. Among the thousands of people who have been disappeared or killed in recent years, is researcher Giulio Regeni, whose body was thrown on the side of a road north of Cairo in February 2016.

    Around the time of the murder, in which the complicity and cover-ups by the Egyptian security forces were immediately evident, the Italian Ministry of the Interior restarted its dialogue with the country. “It’s absurd, but Italy started to support Egypt in negotiations with the European Union,” explains lawyer Muhammed Al-Kashef, a member of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Right and now a refugee in Germany.

    By inserting itself on an already existing cooperation project that saw italy, for example, finance the use of fingerprint-recording software used by the Egyptian police, the Italian Ministry of the Interior was able to create a police academy in Cairo, inaugurated in 2018 with European funds, to train the border guards of over 20 African countries. Italy also backed Egyptian requests within the Khartoum Process and, on a different front, sells weapons and conducts joint naval exercises.

    “Rome could have played a role in Egypt, supporting the democratic process after the 2011 revolution, but it preferred to fall into the migration trap, fearing a wave of migration that would never happen,” says Al-Kashef.

    With one result: “they have helped transform Egypt into a country that kills dreams, and often dreamers too, and from which all young people today want to escape”. Much more so than in 2015 or that hopeful 2011.

    Cracks in the wall, and how to widen them

    If you have read this far, following personal stories and routes of people and funds, you will have understood one thing, above all: that the beating heart of this strategy, set up by Italy with the participation of the European Union and vice versa, is the reduction of migrations across the Mediterranean. The wall, in fact.

    Now try to add other European countries to this picture. Since 2015 many have fully adopted — or returned to — this process of ‘externalization’ of migration policies. Spain, where the Canary Islands route reopened in 2019, demonstrating the fragility of the model you read about above; France, with its strategic network in the former colonies, the so-called Françafrique. And then Germany, Belgium, Holland, United Kingdom, Austria.

    Complicated, isn’t it? This great wall’s bricks and builders keep multiplying. Even more strategies, meetings, committees, funds and documents. And often, the same lack of transparency, which makes reconstructing these loans – understanding which cement, sand, and lime mixture was used, i.e. who really benefited from the expense, what equipment was provided, how the results were monitored – a long process, when it’s not impossible.

    The Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Union, presented in September 2020, seems to confirm this: cooperation with third countries and relaunching repatriations are at its core.

    Even the European Union budget for the seven-year period 2021-2027, approved in December 2020, continues to focus on this expenditure, for example by earmarking for migration projects 10 percent of the new Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, equipped with 70 billion euros, but also diverting a large part of the Immigration and Asylum Fund (8.7 billion) towards support for repatriation, and foreseeing 12.1 billion euros for border control.

    While now, with the new US presidency, some have called into question the future of the wall on the border with Mexico, perhaps the most famous of the anti-migrant barriers in the world, the wall built in the Mediterranean and further south, up to the equator, has seemingly never been so strong.

    But economists, sociologists, human rights defenders, analysts and travelers all demonstrate the problems with this model. “It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it,” says David Kipp, a researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs, a government-funded think-tank.

    For Kipp, however, we must begin to deflate this migration bubble, and go back to addressing migration as a human phenomenon, to be understood and managed. “I dream of the moment when this issue will be normalized, and will become something boring,” he admits timidly.

    To do this, cracks must be opened in the wall and in a model that seems solid but really isn’t, that has undesirable effects, violates human rights, and isolates Europe and Italy.

    Anna Knoll, researcher at the European Center for Development Policy Management, explains for example that European policies have tried to limit movements even within Africa, while the future of the continent is the freedom of movement of goods and people, and “for Europe, it is an excellent time to support this, also given the pressure from other international players, China first of all”.

    For Sabelo Mbokazi, who heads the Labor and Migration department of the Social Affairs Commission of the African Union (AU), there is one issue on which the two continental blocs have divergent positions: legal entry channels. “For the EU, they are something residual, we have a much broader vision,” he explains. And this will be one of the themes of the next EU-AU summit, which was postponed several times in 2020.

    It’s a completely flawed approach, and there are no quick fixes to change it
    David Kipp - researcher at the German Institute for International Affairs

    Indeed, the issue of legal access channels to the Italian and European territory is one of the most important, and so far almost imperceptible, cracks in this Big Wall. In the last five years, Italy has spent just 15 million euros on it, 1.1 percent of the total expenditure dedicated to external dimensions of migration.

    The European Union hasn’t done any better. “Legal migration, which was one of the pillars of the strategy born in Valletta in 2015, has remained a dead letter, but if we limit ourselves to closing the borders, we will not go far”, says Stefano Manservisi, who as a senior official of the EU Commission worked on all the migration dossiers during those years.

    Yet we all know that a trafficker’s worst enemy are passport stamps, visas, and airline tickets.


    Helen Dempster, who’s an economist at the Center for Global Development, spends her days studying how to do this: how to open legal channels of entry, and how to get states to think about it. And there is an effective example: we must not end up like Japan.

    “For decades, Japan has had very restrictive migration policies, it hasn’t allowed anyone in”, explains Dempster, “but in recent years it has realized that, with its aging population, it soon won’t have enough people to do basic jobs, pay taxes, and finance pensions”. And so, in April 2019, the Asian country began accepting work visa applications, hoping to attract 500,000 foreign workers.

    In Europe, however, “the hysteria surrounding migration in 2015 and 2016 stopped all debate“. Slowly, things are starting to move again. On the other hand, several European states, Italy and Germany especially, have one thing in common with Japan: an increasingly aging population.

    “All European labor ministries know that they must act quickly, but there are two preconceptions: that it is difficult to develop adequate projects, and that public opinion is against it.” For Dempster, who helped design an access program to the Belgian IT sector for Moroccan workers, these are false problems. “If we want to look at it from the point of view of the security of the receiving countries, bringing a person with a passport allows us to have a lot more information about who they are, which we do not have if we force them to arrive by sea”, she explains.

    Let’s look at some figures to make it easier: in 2007, Italy made 340,000 entry visas available, half of them seasonal, for non-EU workers, as part of the Flows Decree, Italy’s main legal entry channel adopted annually by the government. Few people cried “invasion” back then. Ten years later, in 2017, those 119,000 people who reached Italy through the Mediterranean seemed a disproportionate number. In the same year, the quotas of the Flow decree were just 30,000.

    Perhaps these numbers aren’t comparable, and building legal entry programs is certainly long, expensive, and apparently impractical, if we think of the economic and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic in which we are immersed. For Dempster, however, “it is important to be ready, to launch pilot programs, to create infrastructures and relationships”. So that we don’t end up like Japan, “which has urgently launched an access program for workers, without really knowing how to manage them”.

    The Spanish case, as already mentioned, shows how a model born twenty years ago, and then adopted along all the borders between Europe and Africa, does not really work.

    As international mobility declined, aided by the pandemic, at least 41,000 people landed in Spain in 2020, almost all of them in the Canary Islands. Numbers that take us back to 2006 and remind us how, after all, this ‘outsourcing’ offers costly and ineffective solutions.

    It’s reminiscent of so-called planned obsolescence, the production model for which a technological object isn’t built to last, inducing the consumer to replace it after a few years. But continually renewing and re-financing these walls can be convenient for multinational security companies, shipyards, political speculators, authoritarian regimes, and international traffickers. Certainly not for citizens, who — from the Italian and European institutions — would expect better products. May they think of what the world will be like in 10, 30, 50 years, and avoid trampling human rights and canceling democratic processes in the name of a goal that — history seems to teach — is short-lived. The ideas are not lacking. [At this link you’ll find the recommendations developed by ActionAid: https://thebigwall.org/en/recommendations/].

    #Italie #externalisation #complexe_militaro-industriel #migrations #frontières #business #Afrique #budget #Afrique_du_Nord #Libye #chiffres #Niger #Soudan #Ethiopie #Sénégal #root_causes #causes_profondes #contrôles_frontaliers #EU_Trust_Fund_for_Africa #Trust_Fund #propagande #campagne #dissuasion


    Ajouté à la métaliste sur l’externalisation :
    Et plus précisément :

    ping @isskein @karine4 @rhoumour @_kg_

  • Denying aid on the basis of EU migration objectives is wrong

    –-> extrait du communiqué de presse de CONCORD:

    The Development Committee of the European Parliament has been working on the report “Improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” since January 2020. However, shortly before the plenary vote on Wednesday, #Tomas_Tobé of the EPP group, suddenly added an amendment to allow the EU to refuse to give aid to partner countries that don’t comply with EU migration requirements.



    Le rapport du Parlement européen (novembre 2020):

    REPORT on improving development effectiveness and the efficiency of aid (2019/2184(INI))

    E. whereas aid effectiveness depends on the way the principle of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) is implemented; whereas more efforts are still needed to comply with PCD principles, especially in the field of EU migration, trade, climate and agriculture policies;
    3. Stresses that the EU should take the lead in using the principles of aid effectiveness and aid efficiency, in order to secure real impact and the achievement of the SDGs, while leaving no-one behind, in its partner countries; stresses, in this regard, the impact that EU use of development aid and FDI could have on tackling the root causes of migration and forced displacement;
    7. Calls on the EU to engage directly with and to build inclusive sustainable partnerships with countries of origin and transit of migration, based on the specific needs of each country and the individual circumstances of migrants;
    62. Notes with grave concern that the EU and Member States are currently attaching conditions to aid related to cooperation by developing countries on migration and border control efforts, which is clearly a donor concern in contradiction with key internationally agreed development effectiveness principles; recalls that aid must keep its purposes of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, respecting and supporting human rights and meeting humanitarian needs, and must never be conditional on migration control;
    63. Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration or security issues is not compatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;


    As agreed in the #European_Consensus_on_Development, the #EU is committed to support the implementation of the #Sustainable_Development_Goals in our development partner countries by 2030. With this report, your rapporteur would like to stress the urgency that all EU development actors strategically use the existing tools on aid effectiveness and efficiency.

    Business is not as usual. The world is becoming more complex. Geopolitical rivalry for influence and resources as well as internal conflicts are escalating. The impact of climate change affects the most vulnerable. The world’s population is growing faster than gross national income, which increases the number of people living in poverty and unemployment. As of 2030, 30 million young Africans are expected to enter the job market per year. These challenges point at the urgency for development cooperation to have a real impact and contribute to peaceful sustainable development with livelihood security and opportunities.

    Despite good intentions, EU institutions and Member States are still mainly guided by their institutional or national goals and interests. By coordinating our efforts in a comprehensive manner and by using the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools we have at our disposal our financial commitment can have a strong impact and enable our partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

    The EU, as the world’s biggest donor, as well as the strongest international actor promoting democracy and human rights, should take the lead. We need to implement the policy objectives in the EU Consensus on Development in a more strategic and targeted manner in each partner country, reinforcing and complementing the EU foreign policy goals and values. The commitments and principles on aid effectiveness and efficiency as well as international commitments towards financing needs are in place. The Union has a powerful toolbox of instruments and aid modalities.

    There are plenty of opportunities for the EU to move forward in a more comprehensive and coordinated manner:

    First, by using the ongoing programming exercise linked to NDICI as an opportunity to reinforce coordination. Joint programming needs to go hand in hand with joint implementation: the EU should collectively set strategic priorities and identify investment needs/gaps in the pre-programming phase and subsequently look at ways to optimise the range of modalities in the EU institutions’ toolbox, including grants, budget support and EIB loans, as well as financing from EU Member States.

    Second, continue to support sectors where projects have been successful and there is a high potential for future sustainability. Use a catalyst approach: choose sectors where a partner country has incentives to continue a project in the absence of funding.

    Third, using lessons learned from a common EU knowledge base in a strategic and results-oriented manner when defining prioritised sectors in a country.

    Fourth, review assessments of successful and failed projects where the possibilities for sustainability are high. For example, choose sectors that to date have been received budget support and where investment needs can be addressed through a combination of EIB loans/Member State financial institutions and expertise.

    Fifth, using EU and Member State headquarters/delegations’ extensive knowledge of successful and unsuccessful aid modalities in certain sectors on the ground. Continue to tailor EU aid modalities to the local context reflecting the needs and capacity in the country.

    Sixth, use the aid effectiveness and efficiency tools with the aim of improving transparency with our partner countries.

    We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Given the magnitude of the funding gap and limited progress towards achieving the SDGs, it is time to be strategic and take full advantage of the combined financial weight and knowledge of all EU institutions and EU Member States - and to use the unique aid effectiveness and efficiency tools at our disposal - to achieve real impact and progress.



    L’#amendement de Tomas Tobé (modification de l’article 25.):
    25.Reiterates that in order for the EU’s development aid to contribute to long-term sustainable development and becompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles, aid allocation should be based on and promote the EU’s core values of the rule of law, human rights and democracy, and be aligned with its policy objectives, especially in relation to climate, trade, security and migration issues;

    Article dans le rapport:
    25.Reiterates that making aid allocation conditional on cooperation with the EU on migration issues is notcompatible with agreed development effectiveness principles;



    Texte amendé
    –-> Texte adopté le 25.11.2020 par le parlement européen avec 331 votes pour 294 contre et 72 abstentions.



    La chronologie de ce texte:

    On 29 October, the Committee on Development adopted an own-initiative report on “improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid” presented by the Committee Chair, Tomas Tobé (EPP, Sweden). The vote was 23 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0323_EN.html.

    According to the report, improving effectiveness and efficiency in development cooperation is vital to help partner countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and to realise the UN 2030 Agenda. Facing enormous development setbacks, limited resources and increasing needs in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the report by the Development Committee calls for a new impetus to scale-up the effectiveness of European development assistance through better alignment and coordination with EU Member States, with other agencies, donors and with the priorities of aid recipient countries.

    On 25 November, the report was adopted by the plenary (331 in favour, 294 against, 72 abstentions): https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20201120IPR92142/parliament-calls-for-better-use-of-the-eu-development-aid


    #SDGs #développement #pauvreté #chômage #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #UE #Union_européenne #NDICI #Rapport_Tobé #conditionnalité_de_l'aide_au_développement #migrations #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #root_causes #causes_profondes

    ping @_kg_ @karine4 @isskein @rhoumour


    Ajouté dans la métaliste autour du lien développement et migrations:

    • Le #Parlement_européen vote pour conditionner son aide au développement au contrôle des migrations

      Le Parlement européen a adopté hier un rapport sur “l’#amélioration de l’#efficacité et de l’#efficience de l’aide au développement”, qui soutient la conditionnalité de l’aide au développement au contrôle des migrations.

      Cette position était soutenue par le gouvernement français dans une note adressée aux eurodéputés français.

      Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, directrice France de ONE, réagit : « Le Parlement européen a décidé de modifier soudainement son approche et de se mettre de surcroit en porte-à-faux du #traité_européen qui définit l’objectif et les valeurs de l’aide au développement européenne. Cela pourrait encore retarder les négociations autour de ce budget, et donc repousser sa mise en œuvre, en pleine urgence sanitaire et économique. »

      « Les études montrent justement que lier l’aide au développement aux #retours et #réadmissions des ressortissants étrangers dans leurs pays d’origine ne fonctionne pas, et peut même avoir des effets contre-productifs. L’UE doit tirer les leçons de ses erreurs passées en alignant sa politique migratoire sur les besoins de ses partenaires, pas sur des priorités politiques à court terme. »

      « On prévoit que 100 millions de personnes supplémentaires tomberont dans l’extrême pauvreté à cause de la pandémie, et que fait le Parlement européen ? Il tourne le dos aux populations les plus fragiles, qui souffriraient directement de cette décision. L’aide au développement doit, sans concessions, se concentrer sur des solutions pour lutter contre l’extrême #pauvreté, renforcer les systèmes de santé et créer des emplois décents. »


  • #EU #Development #Cooperation with #Sub-Saharan #Africa 2013-2018: Policies, funding, results

    How have EU overall development policies and the EU’s overall policies vis-à-vis Sub-Saharan Africa in particular evolved in the period 2013-2018 and what explains the developments that have taken place?2. How has EU development spending in Sub-Saharan Africa developed in the period 2013-2018 and what explains these developments?3.What is known of the results accomplished by EU development aid in Sub-Saharan Africa and what explains these accomplishments?

    This study analyses these questions on the basis of a comprehensive desk review of key EU policy documents, data on EU development cooperation as well as available evaluation material of the EU institutionson EU external assistance. While broad in coverage, the study pays particular attention to EU policies and development spending in specific areas that are priority themes for the Dutch government as communicated to the parliament.

    Authors: Alexei Jones, Niels Keijzer, Ina Friesen and Pauline Veron, study for the evaluation department (IOB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, May 2020

    = https://ecdpm.org/publications/eu-development-cooperation-sub-saharan-africa-2013-2018-policies-funding-resu

  • Des trajectoires immobilisées : #protection et #criminalisation des migrations au #Niger

    Le 6 janvier dernier, un camp du Haut-Commissariat des Nations Unies pour les Réfugiés (HCR) situé à une quinzaine de kilomètres de la ville nigérienne d’Agadez est incendié. À partir d’une brève présentation des mobilités régionales, l’article revient sur les contraintes et les tentatives de blocage des trajectoires migratoires dans ce pays saharo-sahélien. Depuis 2015, les projets européens se multiplient afin de lutter contre « les causes profondes de la migration irrégulière ». La Belgique est un des contributeurs du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’Union européenne pour l’Afrique (FFUE) et l’agence #Enabel met en place des projets visant la #stabilisation des communautés au Niger

    #immobilité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Agadez #migrations #asile #réfugiés #root_causes #causes_profondes #Fonds_fiduciaire #mécanisme_de_transit_d’urgence #Fonds_fiduciaire_d’urgence_pour_l’Afrique #transit_d'urgence #OIM #temporaire #réinstallation #accueil_temporaire #Libye #IOM #expulsions_sud-sud #UE #EU #Union_européenne #mise_à_l'abri #évacuation #Italie #pays_de_transit #transit #mixed_migrations #migrations_mixtes #Convention_des_Nations_Unies_contre_la_criminalité_transnationale_organisée #fermeture_des_frontières #criminalisation #militarisation_des_frontières #France #Belgique #Espagne #passeurs #catégorisation #catégories #frontières #HCR #appel_d'air #incendie #trafic_illicite_de_migrants #trafiquants


    Sur l’incendie de janvier 2020, voir :

    ping @karine4 @isskein :
    Cette doctorante et membre de Migreurop, Alizée Dauchy, a réussi un super défi : résumé en 3 pages la situation dans laquelle se trouve le Niger...


    Pour @sinehebdo, un nouveau mot : l’#exodant
    –-> #vocabulaire #terminologie #mots

    Les origine de ce terme :

    Sur l’origine et l’emploi du terme « exodant » au Niger, voir Bernus (1999), Bonkano et Boubakar (1996), Boyer (2005a). Les termes #passagers, #rakab (de la racine arabe rakib désignant « ceux qui prennent un moyen de trans-port »), et #yan_tafia (« ceux qui partent » en haoussa) sont également utilisés.


  • L’APD, un levier au service de la politique migratoire
    = une des 20 décisions pensées par le Comité interministériel sur l’immigration et l’intégration pour « améliorer notre politique d’immigration, d’asile et d’intégration » https://medias.amf.asso.fr/upload/files/Decisions_Immigration.pdf

    ... et c’est quand même la 2e mesure évoquée (p.5)...

    L’APD a une finalité propre qui est de lutter contre les #inégalités et de contribuer au #développement des pays, en particulier les plus vulnérables. Elle peut, à ce titre, constituer un levier au service de notre #politique_migratoire (#aide_humanitaire, renforcement capacitaire, projets sociaux-économiques). Dans ce cadre, elle doit s’inscrire dans un dialogue plus large et dans une logique d’engagements réciproques. Un dialogue annuel sera institutionnalisé avec les États bénéficiaires de l’APD française. Ce dialogue s’appuie aujourd’hui sur plusieurs instruments : le plan « migrations / asile », visant à obtenir une réduction de l’immigration irrégulière par une meilleure coopération, actuellement mis en œuvre avec plusieurs pays tiers ; le plan « migrations internationales et développement » 2018-2022, doté de 1,58 Md € afin de prendre en compte les enjeux migratoires dans les politiques de développement ; les #accords_de_gestion_concertée (#AGC) des flux migratoires (ex : avec la Tunisie, le Sénégal, etc.).

    Le Gouvernement entend également faire valoir ce lien APD / migrations dans les négociations sur les instruments européens de coopération et d’#aide_au_développement. Dans le cadre de la négociation européenne sur un nouvel instrument de « voisinage, de coopération au développement et de coopération internationale » (#NDICI) pour la période 2021-2027, la France met l’accent sur les questions migratoires. Elle souhaite que 10% des fonds soient ciblés sur des projets directement liés à la gestion des flux migratoires. Elle demande aussi la création d’un mécanisme financier de réaction rapide aux crises.La France défend par ailleurs, dans le cadre des négociations du futur accord entre l’Union européenne et les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) – appelé à succéder à l’#accord_de_Cotonou, l’inscription d’engagements ambitieux permettant d’assurer l’effectivité de la coopération en matière migratoire et notamment la mise en œuvre de l’obligation de #réadmission.

    #France #asile #migrations #développement #root_causes #APD #coopération_au_développement #aide_au_développement #accords_bilatéraux

    ajouté à la métaliste :

    ping @karine4 @isskein

    • A mettre en lien avec cela :
      A Dakar, l’immigration s’invite dans les débats entre gouvernements français et sénégalais

      Parmi les leviers dont dispose la France, l’aide publique au développement, dont le budget total doit atteindre 0,55% du PIB en 2022. Environ 2 milliards d’euros de cette aide ont été distribués au Sénégal depuis 2007 : des « efforts » qui doivent « produire des résultats sur l’immigration irrégulière », souligne Matignon.


  • Outrage over reports EU-funding linked to forced labour in Eritrea

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticised the European Union over its funding of an infrastructure project in the brutal dictatorship of Eritrea.

    The scheme, which received €20 million from Brussels, was partially built by forced labour, according to the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/08/world/europe/conscription-eritrea-eu.html).

    The newspaper also claimed the EU had no way of monitoring the project.

    “For the EU to rely on the government to do its monitoring, I think it is incredibly problematic, especially when obviously some of the issues the EU will be discussing with the government are around labour force,” said Laetitia Bader from HRW.

    “And as we know the government has quite bluntly said that it will continue to rely on national service conscripts.”

    The funding of the road project in Eritrea is part of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, created to address the #root_causes of migration.

    Yet Eritrea has an elaborate system of indefinite forced “national service” that makes people try to flee, especially youngsters.

    For the EU, democratic reforms are no longer a condition for financial aid.

    “The EU has made support for democracy a more prominent objective in its relations with African countries since the early 2000s, I would say,” said Christine Hackenesch from the German Development Institute.

    “And the EU has put more emphasis on developing its instruments to support democratic reforms. But the context now for democracy support in Africa and globally is a very different one because there is more of a competition of political models with China and other actors.”

    The EU Commission said that it was aware that conscripts were used for the road project - but that Brussels funded only material and equipment, not labour.

    #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Trust_Fund #Erythrée #EU #UE #Trust_Fund_for_Africa #dictatures #travail_forcé #aide_au_développement #développement

    Ajouté à la métaliste externalisation :

    Et à la métaliste migrations/développement :

    ping @isskein @karine4

    @simplicissimus : j’ai fait un petit tour sur internet à la recherche du communiqué/rapport de HRW concernant cette histoire, mais j’ai pas trouvé... pas le temps de chercher plus... si jamais tu as un peu de temps pour voir ça serait très bienvenu... merci !

    • Sur la page officielle du Trust Fund for Africa... voici ce qui est marqué pour l’Erythrée...

      Eritrea is a major source of asylum seekers, who either remain in neighbouring countries of the region or move onwards towards Europe and elsewhere. Our main aim in the country is to create an enabling environment that improves economic opportunities available to young people, including through education, incentives for private entrepreneurship, vocational training or apprenticeship programmes.


    • Érythrée : une #plainte contre l’UE, complice de « travail forcé »

      Une plainte a été déposée ce mercredi, par un collectif d’Érythréens en exil, contre plusieurs institutions de l’Union européenne. En cause : le financement par l’UE, depuis l’année dernière, de la construction en Érythrée de routes pour lesquels sont employés, en toute connaissance de cause, des appelés du très controversé service militaire obligatoire.

      Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, avaient mis en garde l’Union européenne l’année dernière. Cette fois, face à l’indifférence des institutions de Bruxelles envers leurs arguments, ils sont passés à l’acte. Selon nos informations, une plainte d’une trentaine de pages a été déposée ce mercredi matin auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Cette plainte demande deux choses au tribunal : d’abord qu’il déclare le financement européen des chantiers de routes soutenus en Érythrée comme « illégal » ; ensuite, qu’il enjoigne l’Union européenne de le stopper.

      Dans leur plainte contre la Commission européenne et son Service d’action extérieure, les avocats Emil Jurjens et Tamilla Abdul-Alyeva s’appuient évidemment sur le droit international, qui sanctionne l’usage du travail forcé. Mais aussi sur les textes de l’UE elle-même, qui s’est engagée à refuser tout soutien à d’éventuelles « violations des droits de l’homme » dans sa coopération internationale. Et ce alors même que, dans son projet d’appui aux chantiers érythréens rendu public en 2018, elle a reconnu, noir sur blanc, que des conscrits du « service national » seraient bien employés sur les chantiers qu’elle finance, à hauteur de 20 millions d’euros en 2019 et de 60 millions d’euros en 2020.

      Pour sa défense, l’UE avait répondu par lettre, l’année dernière, à la mise en demeure des plaignants. Pour elle, d’une part l’Érythrée refuse toute « condition » préalable à sa coopération. Et d’autre part, elle fait valoir que ses financements ne sont pas destinés au gouvernement d’Asmara, mais à des sous-traitants, en l’occurrence des sociétés de construction érythréennes chargées de la mise en œuvre des travaux. Et elle assure qu’une « rémunération » est bel et bien versée aux employés.

      Les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne

      Mais pour prouver sa bonne foi, soulignent les plaignants, elle s’appuie sur la communication du gouvernement érythréen. Les avocats de la Fondation droits de l’homme pour les Erythréens ajoutent enfin que les sous-traitants érythréens sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen, le Front populaire pour la démocratie et la justice (FPDJ) ou, tout simplement, au ministère de la Défense.

      Or, les terribles conditions d’emploi des conscrits de l’armée érythréenne ont été abondamment documentées par plusieurs enquêtes, journalistiques, universitaires ou d’institutions comme le Bureau international du travail (BIT). Mais aussi par la Rapporteure spéciale de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme en Érythrée et, surtout, la Commission d’enquête du Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU en 2015, qui les a inscrit sur une liste de « possibles crimes contre l’humanité ».

      Les appelés sur « service national » érythréens sont en effet soumis à la vie, la discipline et la hiérarchie militaire. Après avoir été enrôlés avant leur dernière année de lycée, ils sont envoyés pendant 18 mois dans l’académie militaire de Sawa, dans le désert près de la frontière soudanaise, où ils sont soumis à des mauvais traitements, surtout les jeunes filles. Les réfractaires sont enrôlés de force au cours de giffas, ces rafles organisées par l’armée dans les campagnes et dans les villes pour capturer les jeunes qui se seraient soustraits à l’appel obligatoire sous les drapeaux ou qui auraient profité d’une permission pour déserter. Officiellement, il n’existe pas de limite à ce service, maintenant tous les Érythréens entre 18 ans et la cinquantaine à la disposition de l’armée, y compris lorsqu’ils sont nommés à des emploi civils.

      Hasard du calendrier : jeudi, le Parlement européen doit également se prononcer sur le sujet. Une résolution est proposée au vote par la députée française Michèle Rivasi (Verts), appelant la Commission européenne à « reporter » tout financement de tels projets, jusqu’à ce qu’une mission d’information du Parlement puisse se rendre en Érythrée. Mission parlementaire dont le principe avait été accepté en novembre, mais qui n’a pas encore eu lieu.


    • Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour

      A case is being launched today in the court of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that demands a halt to the European Union (EU) aid worth 80 million EUR being sent to Eritrea. The Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans has observed that the aid project financed by the EU aid relies on forced labour. The EU acknowledges this. This contradicts the most fundamental principles of international law and is unlawful towards the Foundation, which defends the fundamental rights of Eritreans in Eritrea and in the diaspora.

      The Foundation issued a summons to the European Union in April 2019 and asked the EU to end the project, which looks to rehabilitate the roads between Eritrea and Ethiopia. However, the EU refused to stop the project, even as it recognises that forced labour was (and is) used in the context of this project. At the end of 2019, the EU announced that it would provide further funding to the project. The EU funding goes to Eritrean state companies, which use it to procure materials.

      The Eritrean regime makes use of labourers in the Eritrean national service to construct the roads under the project. The circumstances under which the Eritrean population is forced to work in the national service have been described by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in detail: “Thousands of conscripts are subjected to forced labour that effectively abuses, exploits and enslaves them for years.”

      This form of national service has been described as “enslavement” and a “crime against humanity” by the United Nations. The European Parliament has denounced it as “forced labour” and “a form of slavery”. The EU was asked by the European Parliament in January 2020 to “avoid situations where the EU could indirectly finance projects that violate human rights” with specific reference to the Eritrean road building project.

      The EU claims that it has no responsibility for the forced labourers, as it “does not pay for labor under this project”, according to the European Commission. “The project only covers the procurement of material and equipment to support the rehabilitation of roads.”

      The Foundation states that the support to a project which uses forced labour is clearly in contradiction to international law and asks the Amsterdam court that the project is stopped.

      Documents relating to this case

      Press release EN

      Case summary EN

      Writ of summons (‘dagvaarding’) EN


    • Érythrée | L’Europe accusée de financer le travail forcé

      La Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, basée aux Pays-Bas, a déposé une plainte contre l’Union européenne (UE) en mai 2020, l’incriminant de financer le travail forcé en Érythrée. En cause : les investissements du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique dans des chantiers majoritairement menés par des personnes enrôlées de force pour un service militaire indéfini, avec des salaires quasi inexistants. La Suisse est associée à ce fonds d’urgence pour l’Afrique, qui a comme but premier de freiner la migration africaine vers l’Europe. Or, le règlement de l’UE interdit « tout soutien à d’éventuelles violations des droits humains ». La plainte demande aux organes concernés de l’UE de reconnaître ces financements comme illégaux et de les stopper. Les justifications, que les dirigeants européens invoquent en réponse aux critiques déjà émises, semblent jusqu’ici hasardeuses.

      Depuis quelques années l’Érythrée a entamé un mouvement d’ouverture vis-à-vis des soutiens extérieurs au sein de ce pays africain en main du même régime dictatorial depuis son indépendance. Des délégations européennes se sont rendues sur place pour négocier et contempler dans des circuits très contrôlés par les autorités l’état actuel des choses. L’Union européenne soutient financièrement des projets sur place à travers l’utilisation du Fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique, doté de 4,6 milliards. Conçu en 2015 lors d’une augmentation du nombre de demandes d’asile en Europe, ce fonds a comme finalité une réduction des migrations vers l’Europe. Selon Radio France International (RFI), concernant l’Érythrée spécifiquement, les chantiers dévoilés en 2018 sont financés à hauteur de 20 millions de francs en 2019, et 60 millions en 2020.

      Une sommation en 2019, puis une plainte contre l’UE en 2020

      Or pour la Fondation des droits de l’homme pour les Érythréens, cette aide finance des chantiers où travailleraient des conscrits enrôlés de force et mal (ou non) rémunérés. Malgré les changements récents, le régime autoritaire d’Issayas Afewerki ne donne pas de signe de relâchement envers sa population. Le rapport 2019 de Human Rights Watch énumère encore de nombreuses exactions contre les droits humains et dénonce également le financement de ces chantiers par l’UE. En particulier à travers ce système de milice forcé qui enrôle hommes et femmes dès leur majorité, et parfois plus jeunes, pour des travaux nationaux sans véritable compensation financière ni limite de temps formelle. Les figures opposantes au régime sont muselées, emprisonnées ou trouvent comme seule échappatoire la fuite du territoire. Un reportage auprès de l’énorme diaspora érythréenne vivant de l’autre côté de la frontière en Éthiopie, paru dans Mondiaal Niews (01.11.2019) estime que « l’argent européen maintient simplement la dictature en place ». Autrement dit : « l’Europe n’arrête pas la migration d’Érythrée, elle [en] prépare le terrain ».

      Selon la Fondation, ce sont précisément des personnes enrôlées contre leur gré qui travaillent sur des chantiers titanesques, cofinancés par l’Union européenne dans le cadre de ce fonds fiduciaire d’urgence de l’UE pour l’Afrique. Elle s’était déjà adressée aux autorités européennes en avril 2019 pour dénoncer ces faits (RFI). L’UE s’était alors défendue de toute responsabilité. Reconnaissant « que l’Érythrée n’accepte aucune condition sur l’octroi des fonds », elle estimait que les salaires étaient versés, vu que l’argent était touché par des entreprises érythréennes directement. Or, ces arguments ont comme source directe le gouvernement érythréen. Selon les informations invoquées par la Fondation, les sous-traitants érythréens en charge des chantiers sont des sociétés appartenant au parti unique érythréen. Ce qui permet de mettre en doute leur indépendance.
      Restés lettre morte, les arguments de la Fondation ont cette fois été formulés sous forme de plainte déposée le 13 mai 2020 auprès du tribunal de grande instance d’Amsterdam. Un dossier de 30 pages demande à l’UE de reconnaître ce soutien comme illégal et de le stopper.

      La Suisse y est associée

      Un article paru dans Le Temps le 22 janvier 2020 révélait que la Suisse était associée à ce fonds. Si les autorités helvétiques disent avoir émis des critiques sur le programme érythréen, insistant sur la nécessité d’une surveillance étroite, leur contribution participe dans les faits à ces chantiers ayant potentiellement recours au travail forcé. L’article évoque celui nommé « de la route de la paix » permettant d’améliorer l’accès à la mer pour la très enclavée Érythrée. Le responsable de ce fonds pour la Suisse affirmait ne « financer que le matériel ».
      Une assurance peu fiable, si l’on en croit l’UNOPS, un bureau onusien chargé par l’UE de contrôler l’utilisation du fonds, pour qui il n’est pas possible d’effectuer la surveillance de manière indépendante. Selon l’article du Temps, des membres de la Commission européenne avaient finalement rétorqué : « Le gouvernement a indiqué qu’il était prêt à démobiliser les conscrits une fois que les conditions le permettront. Il faut que la création d’emplois soit suffisante. Cela ne peut se produire du jour au lendemain. Se retirer serait contre-productif […] »
      On le voit, les arguments avancés par les représentant-e-s de la Suisse ou de l’Union européenne ne tiennent pas la route. Et leur responsabilité reste entière. Pensaient-ils, pensaient-elles, que la crainte de l’arrivée de nouveaux ressortissant-e-s érythréen-ne-s en quête de protection suffirait à faire tolérer des alliances et financements inavouables ? C’était faire fi d’une diaspora érythréenne intimement soudée et organisée pour faire front face à un régime totalitaire qui rend exsangue tout un peuple encore à sa merci. Cette plainte vient rappeler leur présence essentielle et leur ténacité exemplaire.


      Documents clés
      • 13.05.2020 Communiqué de presse relatif au dépôt de la plainte par Foundation Human Rights for Erythreans : « Eritrean organisation summons the EU for use of forced labour » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/PRESS-RELEASE_KennedyvdLaan_FIN_13May2020.pdf)
      • 14.01.2020 Rapport publié par Human Rights Watch « Eritrea : Events of 2019 » (https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/eritrea)
      • 01.04.2019 Lettre de sommation envoyée à l’Union européenne « Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans / European Union » (https://asile.ch/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Letter-of-Summons-EU-Emergency-Trust-Fund-for-Africa-1.pdf)


  • AI For Good Is Often Bad. Trying to solve poverty, crime, and disease with (often biased) technology doesn’t address their root causes.

    After speaking at an MIT conference on emerging #AI technology earlier this year, I entered a lobby full of industry vendors and noticed an open doorway leading to tall grass and shrubbery recreating a slice of the African plains. I had stumbled onto TrailGuard AI, Intel’s flagship AI for Good project, which the chip company describes as an artificial intelligence solution to the crime of wildlife poaching. Walking through the faux flora and sounds of the savannah, I emerged in front of a digital screen displaying a choppy video of my trek. The AI system had detected my movements and captured digital photos of my face, framed by a rectangle with the label “poacher” highlighted in red.

    I was handed a printout with my blurry image next to a picture of an elephant, along with text explaining that the TrailGuard AI camera alerts rangers to capture poachers before one of the 35,000 elephants each year are killed. Despite these good intentions, I couldn’t help but wonder: What if this happened to me in the wild? Would local authorities come to arrest me now that I had been labeled a criminal? How would I prove my innocence against the AI? Was the false positive a result of a tool like facial recognition, notoriously bad with darker skin tones, or was it something else about me? Is everyone a poacher in the eyes of Intel’s computer vision?

    Intel isn’t alone. Within the last few years, a number of tech companies, from Google to Huawei, have launched their own programs under the AI for Good banner. They deploy technologies like machine-learning algorithms to address critical issues like crime, poverty, hunger, and disease. In May, French president Emmanuel Macron invited about 60 leaders of AI-driven companies, like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, to a Tech for Good Summit in Paris. The same month, the United Nations in Geneva hosted its third annual AI for Global Good Summit sponsored by XPrize. (Disclosure: I have spoken at it twice.) A recent McKinsey report on AI for Social Good provides an analysis of 160 current cases claiming to use AI to address the world’s most pressing and intractable problems.

    While AI for good programs often warrant genuine excitement, they should also invite increased scrutiny. Good intentions are not enough when it comes to deploying AI for those in greatest need. In fact, the fanfare around these projects smacks of tech solutionism, which can mask root causes and the risks of experimenting with AI on vulnerable people without appropriate safeguards.

    Tech companies that set out to develop a tool for the common good, not only their self-interest, soon face a dilemma: They lack the expertise in the intractable social and humanitarian issues facing much of the world. That’s why companies like Intel have partnered with National Geographic and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation on wildlife trafficking. And why Facebook partnered with the Red Cross to find missing people after disasters. IBM’s social-good program alone boasts 19 partnerships with NGOs and government agencies. Partnerships are smart. The last thing society needs is for engineers in enclaves like Silicon Valley to deploy AI tools for global problems they know little about.

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    The deeper issue is that no massive social problem can be reduced to the solution offered by the smartest corporate technologists partnering with the most venerable international organizations. When I reached out to the head of Intel’s AI for Good program for comment, I was told that the “poacher” label I received at the TrailGuard installation was in error—the public demonstration didn’t match the reality. The real AI system, Intel assured me, only detects humans or vehicles in the vicinity of endangered elephants and leaves it to the park rangers to identify them as poachers. Despite this nuance, the AI camera still won’t detect the likely causes of poaching: corruption, disregarding the rule of law, poverty, smuggling, and the recalcitrant demand for ivory. Those who still cling to technological solutionism are operating under the false assumption that because a company’s AI application might work in one narrow area, it will work on a broad political and social problem that has vexed society for ages.

    Sometimes, a company’s pro-bono projects collide with their commercial interests. Earlier this year Palantir and the World Food Programme announced a $45M partnership to use data analytics to improve food delivery in humanitarian crises. A backlash quickly ensued, led by civil society organizations concerned over issues like data privacy and surveillance, which stem from Palantir’s contracts with the military. Despite Palantir’s project helping the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps aid refugees in Jordan, protesters and even some Palantir employees have demanded the company stop helping the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detain migrants and separate families at the US border.

    Even when a company’s intentions seem coherent, the reality is that for many AI applications, the current state of the art is pretty bad when applied to global populations. Researchers have found that facial recognition software, in particular, is often biased against people of color, especially those who are women. This has led to calls for a global moratorium on facial recognition and cities like San Francisco to effectively ban it. AI systems built on limited training data create inaccurate predictive models that lead to unfair outcomes. AI for good projects often amount to pilot beta testing with unproven technologies. It’s unacceptable to experiment in the real world on vulnerable people, especially without their meaningful consent. And the AI field has yet to figure out who is culpable when these systems fail and people are hurt as a result.

    This is not to say tech companies should not work to serve the common good. With AI poised to impact much of our lives, they have more of a responsibility to do so. To start, companies and their partners need to move from good intentions to accountable actions that mitigate risk. They should be transparent about both benefits and harms these AI tools may have in the long run. Their publicity around the tools should reflect the reality, not the hype. To Intel’s credit, the company promised to fix that demo to avoid future confusion. It should involve local people closest to the problem in the design process and conduct independent human rights assessments to determine if a project should move forward. Overall, companies should approach any complex global problem with the humility in knowing that an AI tool won’t solve it.

    #IA #intelligence_artificielle #pauvreté #développement #technologie #root_causes #API #braconnage #wildlife #éléphants #droits_humains

  • L’#aide_au_développement peut-elle réguler l’immigration ?

    Moins de pays, davantage de financements privés et un accent plus fort mis sur la migration : le débat politique sur la réorientation de l’aide suisse au #développement commence en mai. #Fritz_Brugger, maître de conférences et conseiller en matière d’aide au développement, évoque les risques et les opportunités.

    swissinfo.ch : Le Conseil fédéral souhaite obtenir le soutien le plus large possible à l’orientation de l’aide suisse au développement au cours des quatre prochaines années. Pour la première fois, les politiciens et les groupes d’intérêt pourront s’exprimer à l’avance. L’aide au développement va-t-elle à l’avenir moins fâcher les esprits ?

    Fritz Brugger : Je crains que non... Jusqu’à présent, la discussion s’est principalement concentrée sur la question du niveau d’engagement de la Suisse, c’est-à-dire combien d’argent devrait aller à la coopération au développement. Cette situation est en train de changer avec la consultation prévue, qui se concentrera davantage sur des questions de contenu et d’instruments, qui étaient auparavant laissées aux experts.

    swissinfo.ch : Cela semble plutôt positif…

    F.B. : Un débat public sur le mandat actuel de la coopération suisse au développement est souhaitable, oui. Mais il y a un risque que des questions techniques soient politisées. En pleine année électorale, ce risque pourrait se confirmer. La coopération au développement est un effet un thème sur lequel les politiciens aiment bien s’écharper.

    swissinfo.ch : La coopération suisse au développement se concentre désormais sur quatre régions. Les intérêts de l’économie suisse devraient également être davantage pris en compte et l’aide au développement plus étroitement liée aux migrations. Ces mesures ont-elles un dénominateur commun ?

    F.B. : On peut constater que la coopération au développement se concentre davantage sur les intérêts à #court_terme de la Suisse. Jusqu’à présent, tout le monde reconnaissait qu’il était dans l’intérêt à long terme de la Suisse de lutter contre la #pauvreté. L’intérêt à court terme de la Suisse est désormais de limiter l’immigration. L’aide au développement doit ainsi être transformée en un instrument de gestion des migrations.

    swissinfo.ch : Qu’y a-t-il de mal à cela ?

    F.B. : Les recherches montrent que la coopération au développement ne réduit pas la migration à court terme. On ne peut pas se contenter de regarder les Syriens et les Érythréens qui viennent en ce moment en Suisse et orienter toute l’aide au développement en conséquence. Les raisons qui influencent la migration sont multiples.

    Cette approche, qui est axée sur l’intérêt personnel à court terme, comporte également le risque de passer d’une approche de long terme et fiable de la réduction de la pauvreté à des interventions à court terme. Selon le nombre de réfugiés et de migrants qui arrivent dans notre pays, la Suisse pourrait ainsi décider d’abandonner ou de poursuivre sa coopération au développement dans la région d’origine.

    swissinfo.ch : Quelles en seraient les conséquences ?

    F.B. : Le risque est de créer une contradiction interne, car l’argent investi pourrait ne pas avoir d’effet à long terme. En termes d’#efficacité, l’argent ne serait donc pas dépensé de manière optimale, ce qui donnerait lieu à des critiques justifiées. Les mesures de coopération au développement devraient surtout être examinées en fonction de leur impact.

    Le choix des acteurs et des instruments devrait également être fondé sur l’impact. Prenons l’appel en faveur d’un rôle accru pour le secteur privé : le secteur privé doit jouer un rôle dans tous les cas. L’ampleur de ce rôle devrait toutefois dépendre de comment et avec quel acteur il est possible d’obtenir l’impact le plus important.

    swissinfo.ch : Estimez-vous que la réduction de la pauvreté est l’objectif le plus menacé ?

    F.B. : Il y a un risque que certains instruments ou certaines questions dominent, sans tenir compte des tendances et des défis à long terme.

    Par exemple, on ne peut fondamentalement pas reprocher à la Suisse de vouloir réduire le nombre de pays qu’elle aide pour rassembler les forces. Cependant, il est important de garder à l’esprit que la géographie de la pauvreté – qui comprend non seulement le manque d’argent, mais qui se mesure aussi en termes de santé, de nutrition, d’accès à l’eau ou à l’éducation – a changé. Il y a de moins en moins de « pays pauvres », mais de nombreux pays dans lesquels des groupes de population de certaines régions vivent dans la pauvreté ou dans lesquelles la pauvreté est aggravée par une urbanisation rapide. De telles #inégalités présentent également un grand potentiel de tensions sociales.

    swissinfo.ch : La Suisse est-elle le seul pays à réorganiser sa coopération au développement et à se concentrer sur ses propres intérêts à court terme ?

    F.B. : Actuellement, les États servent de plus en plus leurs propres intérêts. Et la question des migrations domine le débat politique interne dans de nombreux pays. De ce point de vue, la discussion en Suisse s’inscrit dans une tendance générale.

    Au sein de l’Union Européenne (#UE), par exemple, il y a une pression considérable pour gérer la migration avec les fonds de la coopération au développement. Et en #Angleterre, le discours sur les intérêts de la politique nationale et étrangère comme celui du rôle de l’industrie dans la coopération au développement se poursuit également depuis plusieurs années.

    swissinfo.ch : L’aide suisse au développement est appréciée pour sa neutralité et sa fiabilité. Voyez-vous cette réputation menacée par la réorientation ?

    F.B. : La réputation de partenaire sincère que s’est forgé la Suisse n’est pas menacée. Le pays est trop petit pour apparaître comme un acteur politique de pouvoir. En ce qui concerne la fiabilité, je suis moins optimiste. Les pays partenaires de la Suisse apprécient notre pays parce qu’il tient ses promesses sur le long terme. Si l’allocation des fonds de coopération au développement dépend à l’avenir des mouvements migratoires actuels, nous compromettrons cette réputation. La fiabilité est indispensable dans les questions de développement si nous voulons avoir un impact. Elle ferait ainsi défaut.

    swissinfo.ch : Par rapport aux Etats-Unis ou à l’UE, par exemple, la Suisse n’est de toute façon qu’un acteur insignifiant de l’aide au développement…

    F. B. : Bien que la Suisse soit financièrement un petit acteur, elle sait se positionner. Jusqu’à présent, elle a réussi à trouver des niches dans lesquelles elle peut avoir un impact important par rapport à l’argent investi. Il ne serait pas prudent de mettre en péril ce rôle d’acteur de niche avec une orientation à plus long terme basée sur un prétendu intérêt personnel à court terme.

    #migrations #asile #réfugiés #coopération_au_développement #Suisse #flux_migratoires #gestion_des_flux_migratoires #Europe #EU #UK

    Le changement de cap pour Brugger :

    Jusqu’à présent, tout le monde reconnaissait qu’il était dans l’intérêt à long terme de la Suisse de lutter contre la #pauvreté. L’intérêt à court terme de la Suisse est désormais de limiter l’immigration. L’aide au développement doit ainsi être transformée en un instrument de #gestion_des_migrations.

    voir métaliste :

    • Il nuovo aiuto allo sviluppo fa litigare Berna

      La consultazione facoltativa fa emergere tutti i punti controversi, dal ritiro dal Sudamerica al budget ’insufficiente’

      Legami tra aiuto allo sviluppo e migrazione, ammontare dei fondi investiti, ritiro dall’America latina: sono alcuni dei punti che hanno fatto maggiormente discutere nel corso della procedura di consultazione sull’orientamento da dare all’aiuto allo sviluppo elvetico nei prossimi anni.

      È la prima volta che le grandi linee della cooperazione internazionale vengono sottoposte a procedura di consultazione facoltativa. Il progetto prevede che gli aiuti tengano maggiormente conto degli interessi della Svizzera, in particolare in materia di politica migratoria.

      Per il PLR, è positivo che venga dato maggior peso alla migrazione. Il partito si aspetta ora che queste intenzioni si concretizzino. Oltre a rafforzare il dialogo e i partenariati in materia, occorre adoperarsi per concludere nuovi accordi di riammissione, ha sottolineato.

      PS e Caritas apprezzano dal canto loro il fatto che il legame tra aiuti e migrazione non sia soggetto a condizioni rigorose. I socialisti deplorano però che collegando questi due aspetti venga ridotta l’interazione complessa tra cooperazione e migrazione con il solo scopo di ridurre gli arrivi.

      Analogo il punto di vista della Croce Rossa Svizzera, per la quale la Confederazione deve utilizzare l’aiuto umanitario e i meccanismi di cooperazione allo sviluppo per ridurre la povertà, non per promuovere la politica migratoria.

      Per il periodo dal 2021 al 2024, il progetto prevede un budget di 11,37 miliardi, una somma ritenuta «insufficiente» dalle organizzazioni attive nell’aiuto allo sviluppo e dal PS. Ciò corrisponde allo 0,45% del reddito nazionale lordo (RNL) della Svizzera. Il Parlamento ha fissato quale obiettivo di dedicare lo 0,5% del RNL e il Consiglio federale si è impegnato ad aumentare questa quota allo 0,7%, come previsto dall’Agenda 2030, ricorda in particolare Swissaid.

      Il PLR indica dal canto suo che si pronuncerà ulteriormente sulla percentuale da destinare all’aiuto allo sviluppo, quando il messaggio sarà definitivo. Il partito del consigliere federale Ignazio Cassis sottolinea tuttavia che, oltre a un rigido obiettivo, è determinante l’efficacia con la quale i mezzi sono utilizzati.

      Diversi attori consultati ritengono che gli obiettivi siano formulati in modo troppo vago. La creazione della crescita economica sul posto deve essere la principale priorità, rileva il PLR.

      Per Unione sindacale svizzera, Alliance Sud, Swissaid, PS, Croce Rossa Svizzera e Accademia svizzera delle scienze naturali, gli obiettivi della cooperazione elvetica dovrebbero allinearsi a quelli dell’Agenda 2030 delle Nazioni Unite, ciò che implica in primis la riduzione della povertà.

      Per raggiungere tali scopi, non basta limitarsi alla cooperazione internazionale. La politica svizzera deve migliorare la sua coerenza in ogni dipartimento, in particolare nei settori della politica commerciale, fiscale e finanziaria. Tale esigenza deve essere esplicitamente menzionata, chiedono Alliance Sud, PS e USS.

      Il progetto prevede un riorientamento dell’aiuto internazionale elvetico su quattro regioni e 34 Paesi prioritari anziché su sei e 46 come avviene attualmente. Di conseguenza, la Svizzera si disimpegnerà progressivamente dall’America latina entro il 2024.

      Secondo il DFAE, tale concentrazione è necessaria. La politica in materia di sviluppo deve essere realistica e, affinché abbia un effetto tangibile, i fondi devono essere utilizzati in maniera mirata, scrive il PLR.

      Swissaid ritiene invece che viste le difficoltà politiche in questa regione, una partenza pura e semplice dell’aiuto svizzero «avrebbe conseguenze disastrose per le popolazioni locali».

      Caritas si mostra dal canto suo preoccupata per le sorti di Haiti. Tale Paese «dovrebbe essere considerato come un caso particolare».


    • Une coopération au développement recentrée sur la Suisse

      En Suisse, le Conseil fédéral définit tous les quatre ans sa stratégie de coopération internationale. Pour la période 2021–2024, il souhaite fixer de nouvelles priorités. Ainsi, outre la lutte contre la pauvreté, les intérêts de l’économie et ceux liés à la politique migratoire et sécuritaire de la Suisse devront être davantage pris en considération lors du choix des pays et des programmes. « En vertu de son économie ouverte et très mondialisée, la Suisse dépend d’un ordre international stable », explique le ministre des Affaires étrangères, #Ignazio_Cassis (PLR), à la « Revue Suisse ». La Confédération a intérêt à ce que les principes de l’état de droit se renforcent dans les pays en voie de développement, d’une part pour la population locale, « d’autre part parce que ces pays constituent de futurs marchés ». Le conseiller fédéral poursuit en disant que la Suisse a intérêt « à s’attaquer aux causes de la migration irrégulière et forcée ».

      Concernant la politique migratoire, le Conseil fédéral veut cependant renoncer à faire dépendre l’aide au développement de la coopération d’un pays – par exemple pour le retour de refugiés renvoyés – comme l’exige l’UDC. L’Organisation de coopération et de développement économique (OCDE) ainsi que les œuvres d’entraide ont pris position contre cette conditionnalité. Au printemps 2019, le Comité d’aide au développement (CAD) de l’OCDE a insisté sur le fait que l’aide suisse au développement devait se focaliser sur les besoins des pays partenaires, et non se mettre au service de la lutte contre la migration irrégulière.



  • Does Development Reduce Migration ?

    The most basic economic theory suggests that rising incomes in developing countries will deter emigration from those countries, an idea that captivates policymakers in international aid and trade diplomacy. A lengthy literature and recent data suggest something quite different: that over the course of a “mobility transition”, emigration generally rises with economic development until countries reach upper-middle income, and only thereafter falls. This note quantifies the shape of the mobility transition in every decade since 1960. It then briefly surveys 45 years of research, which has yielded six classes of theory to explain the mobility transition and numerous tests of its existence and characteristics in both macro- and micro-level data. The note concludes by suggesting five questions that require further study.


    #développement #migrations #émigration #statistiques
    cc @reka @isskein

    • Can Development Assistance Deter Emigration ?

      As waves of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean and the US Southwest border, development agencies have received a de facto mandate: to deter migration from poor countries. The European Union, for example, has pledged €3 billion in development assistance to address the “root causes” of migration from Africa. The United States has made deterring migration a centerpiece of its development assistance to Central America.

      Will it work? Here we review the evidence on whether foreign aid has been directed toward these “root causes” in the past, whether it has deterred migration from poor countries, and whether it can do so. Development aid can only deter migration if it causes specific large changes in the countries migrants come from, and those changes must cause fewer people to move.

      Key findings:

      Economic development in low-income countries typically raises migration. Evidence suggests that greater youth employment may deter migration in the short term for countries that remain poor. But such deterrence is overwhelmed when sustained overall development shapes income, education, aspirations, and demographic structure in ways that encourage emigration.

      This will continue for generations. Emigration tends to slow and then fall as countries develop past middle-income. But most of today’s low-income countries will not approach that point for several decades at any plausible rate of growth.

      Aid has an important role in positively shaping migration flows. Realizing that potential requires massive innovation. Because successful development goes hand in hand with greater migration, aid agencies seeking to affect migration must move beyond deterrence. They must invest in new tools to change the terms on which migration happens.


    • Quel lien entre migrations internationales et développement ?

      Le développement, la lutte contre la pauvreté, des freins migratoires ? Sans doute pas. Aux politiques d’être vigilants et d’assumer une réalité qui échappe malgré tout à la force des logiques économiques, à l’efficacité des contrôles frontaliers. Le Nord attire, il a besoin de main-d’œuvre. Comment concilier ses intérêts avec ceux du Sud, avec les droits de l’homme des migrants ?


    • #Root_Causes’ Development Aid: The False Panacea for Lower Migration

      Migration is a positive side effect of development, and aid should not be spent in pursuit of keeping people where they are. Development economist #Michael_Clemens sorts the evidence from the politics in conversation with Refugees Deeply.


    • #Aiutiamoli_a_casa_loro”: è una strategia efficace?

      Ricerche recenti hanno dimostrato che c’è una relazione tra il livello di sviluppo economico di un paese e il suo tasso di emigrazione netta. Ma non sempre questa relazione va a sostegno di chi pensa che per arginare i flussi migratori basti aiutare i paesi più poveri a svilupparsi. Gli esperti parlano infatti di “gobba migratoria”: man mano che il PIL pro capite di un paese povero aumenta, il tasso di emigrazione dei suoi abitanti cresce, toccando un massimo nel momento in cui il paese raggiunge un reddito medio pro capite di circa 5.000 dollari annui (a parità di potere d’acquisto - PPA). Solo una volta superato quel livello di reddito, il tasso di emigrazione torna a scendere.

      Nel 2016 i paesi dell’Africa subsahariana avevano un reddito pro capite medio inferiore a 3.500 dollari annui PPA e, nonostante quest’ultimo sia cresciuto del 38% tra il 2003 e il 2014, negli ultimi anni questa crescita si è interrotta e rischia addirittura di invertirsi. I paesi dell’Africa subsahariana si trovano quindi ancora a un livello di sviluppo economico coerente con un tasso di emigrazione in crescita, ed è difficile immaginare che riusciranno a raggiungere (e superare) la “gobba” dei 5.000 dollari pro capite PPA nel futuro più prossimo.

      È tuttavia vero che, se si sviluppano insieme tutti i paesi africani, ciò potrebbe favorire una ripresa delle migrazioni intra-regionali, ovvero da paesi dell’Africa subsahariana verso altri paesi dell’area. Sarebbe un’inversione di tendenza rispetto a quanto verificatosi negli ultimi 25 anni, un periodo in cui le migrazioni extra-regionali (quindi verso Europa, Golfo, America del Nord, ecc.) sono quadruplicate.

      Infine va sottolineato che per “aiutarli a casa loro” attraverso politiche di sviluppo sarebbero necessari aiuti di importo molto consistente. All’opposto, gli aiuti ufficiali allo sviluppo da parte dei paesi Ocse verso l’Africa subsahariana sono rimasti a un livello praticamente invariato dal 2010, e quelli italiani si sono addirittura ridotti di oltre il 70%: da un picco di 1 miliardo di euro nel 2006 a 297 milioni di euro nel 2016.


      Dans cet article, on cite cette étude de Michael A. Clemens:
      Does Development Reduce Migration?

    • Povertà, migrazioni, sviluppo: un nesso problematico

      È proprio vero che sono i più poveri a migrare? E cosa succede se prevale la visione degli aiuti ai paesi in via di sviluppo come antidoto all’immigrazione? Il professor Maurizio Ambrosini mette a confronto la retorica dell’”aiutiamoli a casa loro” con i fatti.

      Uno dei luoghi comuni più inossidabili nel dibattito sulle migrazioni riguarda il rapporto tra immigrazione e povertà. Convergono sul punto sia i sostenitori della retorica dell’emergenza (“la povertà dell’Africa si riversa sulle nostre coste”), sia i paladini dell’accoglienza (“siamo responsabili della povertà del Terzo Mondo e dobbiamo farcene carico”). Il corollario più logico di questa visione patologica delle migrazioni è inevitabilmente lo slogan “Aiutiamoli a casa loro”. Mi propongo di porre a confronto questa visione con una serie di dati, al fine di valutare la pertinenza dell’idea dell’aiuto allo sviluppo come alternativa all’immigrazione.
      Non la povertà, ma le disuguaglianze

      Come vedremo, la povertà in termini assoluti non ha un rapporto stretto con le migrazioni internazionali sulle lunghe distanze. È vero invece che le disuguaglianze tra regioni del mondo, anche confinanti, spiegano una parte delle motivazioni a partire. Anzi, si può dire che i confini sono il maggiore fattore di disuguaglianza su scala globale. Pesano più dell’istruzione, del genere, dell’età, del retaggio familiare. Un bracciante agricolo nell’Europa meridionale guadagna più di un medico in Africa. Questo fatto rappresenta un incentivo alla mobilità attraverso i confini.

      L’enfasi sulla povertà come molla scatenante delle migrazioni si scontra invece con un primo dato: nel complesso i migranti internazionali sono una piccola frazione dell’umanità: secondo i dati più recenti contenuti nel Dossier statistico Idos 2017, intorno ai 247 milioni su oltre 7 miliardi di esseri umani, pari al 3,3 per cento. Se i numeri sono cresciuti (erano 175 milioni nel 2000), la percentuale rimane invece stabile da parecchi anni, essendo cresciuta anche la popolazione mondiale.

      Ciò significa che le popolazioni povere del mondo hanno in realtà un accesso assai limitato alle migrazioni internazionali, e soprattutto alle migrazioni verso il Nord globale. Il temuto sviluppo demografico dell’Africa non si traduce in spostamenti massicci di popolazione verso l’Europa o altre regioni sviluppate. I movimenti di popolazione nel mondo avvengono soprattutto tra paesi limitrofi o comunque all’interno dello stesso continente (87 per cento nel caso della mobilità dell’Africa sub-sahariana), con la sola eccezione dell’America settentrionale, che attrae immigrati dall’America centro-meridionale e dagli altri continenti. Per di più, dall’interno dell’Africa partono soprattutto persone istruite.

      Ne consegue un secondo importante assunto: la povertà in senso assoluto ha un rapporto negativo con le migrazioni internazionali, tanto più sulle lunghe distanze. I migranti, come regola generale, non provengono dai paesi più poveri del mondo. La connessione diretta tra povertà e migrazioni non ha basi statistiche. Certo, i migranti partono soprattutto per migliorare le loro condizioni economiche e sociali, inseguendo l’aspirazione a una vita migliore di quella che conducevano in patria. Questo miglioramento però è appunto comparativo, e ha come base uno zoccolo di risorse di vario tipo.
      Chi è poverissimo non riesce a partire

      Le migrazioni sono processi intrinsecamente selettivi, che richiedono risorse economiche, culturali e sociali: occorre denaro per partire, che le famiglie investono nella speranza di ricavarne dei ritorni sotto forma di rimesse; occorre una visione di un mondo diverso, in cui riuscire a inserirsi pur non conoscendolo; occorrono risorse caratteriali, ossia il coraggio di partire per cercare fortuna in paesi lontani di cui spesso non si conosce neanche la lingua, e di affrontare vessazioni, discriminazioni, solitudini, imprevisti di ogni tipo; occorrono risorse sociali, rappresentate specialmente da parenti e conoscenti già insediati e in grado di favorire l’insediamento dei nuovi arrivati. Come ha detto qualcuno, i poverissimi dell’Africa di norma non riescono neanche ad arrivare al capoluogo del loro distretto. Pertanto la popolazione in Africa potrà anche aumentare ma, senza una sufficiente dotazione di risorse e senza una domanda di lavoro almeno implicita da parte dell’Europa, non si vede come possa arrivare fino alle nostre coste.

      Se invece di fissare lo sguardo sugli sbarchi guardiamo ai dati sulle nazionalità degli immigrati che risiedono in Italia, ci accorgiamo che i grandi numeri non provengono dai paesi più derelitti dell’Africa. L’immigrazione insediata in Italia è prevalentemente europea, femminile, proveniente da paesi di tradizione culturale cristiana. La graduatoria delle provenienze vede nell’ordine: Romania, Albania, Marocco, Cina, Ucraina, Filippine. Nessuno di questi è annoverato tra i paesi più poveri del mondo, quelli che occupano le ultime posizioni nella graduatoria basata sull’indice di sviluppo umano dell’Onu: un complesso di indicatori che comprendono non solo il reddito, ma anche altre importanti variabili come i tassi di alfabetizzazione, la speranza di vita alla nascita, il numero di posti-letto in ospedale in proporzione agli abitanti. Su scala globale, i migranti provengono prevalentemente da paesi collocati nelle posizioni intermedie della graduatoria. Per esempio negli Stati Uniti di oggi provengono in maggioranza dal Messico, in Svizzera sono europei per oltre l’80 per cento, in Germania in due casi su tre.

      Per le stesse ragioni, i migranti non sono i più poveri dei loro paesi: mediamente, sono meno poveri di chi rimane. E più vengono da lontano, più sono selezionati socialmente. Raramente troviamo immigrati provenienti da molto lontano (cinesi, filippini, latino-americani…) nei dormitori per i senza dimora, nelle mense dei poveri, precariamente accampati sotto i portici, o anche in carcere. Chi arriva da più lontano, fra l’altro, necessita di un progetto più definito e di lunga durata, non può permettersi di fare sperimentazioni o andirivieni: deve essere determinato a rimanere e a lavorare per ripagare almeno le spese sostenute e gli eventuali prestiti ricevuti. Ha anche bisogno di teste di ponte più solide, ossia di parenti o connazionali affidabili che lo accolgano e lo aiutino a sistemarsi.
      Mostra «La Terra Inquieta», Triennale di Milano, 2017 (foto: Marina Petrillo)

      La cattiva gestione dell’asilo ha in parte incrinato questa logica: i rischi sono tali che a volte arriva anche chi non ha niente da perdere e ha l’incoscienza di provare a partire. Se viene riconosciuto come rifugiato, in Italia il più delle volte viene lasciato in mezzo alla strada. Incontra severe difficoltà anche nello spostarsi verso altri paesi europei, come avveniva più agevolmente nel passato. In modo particolare, i beneficiari dell’Emergenza Nord Africa dell’ultimo governo Berlusconi sono stati gestiti con un approccio emergenziale che non ha favorito la loro integrazione socio-economica. Ma pur tenendo conto di questa variabile, la logica complessiva non cambia: le migrazioni internazionali sulle lunghe distanze non sono un effetto della povertà, ma dell’accesso ad alcune risorse decisive.
      A proposito dei “migranti ambientali”

      Una valutazione analoga riguarda un altro tema oggi dibattuto, quello dei cosiddetti “rifugiati ambientali”. Il concetto sta conoscendo una certa fortuna, perché consente di collegare la crescente sensibilità ecologica, la preoccupazione per i cambiamenti climatici e la protezione di popolazioni vulnerabili del Sud del mondo. È una spiegazione affascinante della mobilità umana, e anche politicamente spendibile. Ora, è senz’altro vero che nel mondo si moltiplicano i problemi ambientali, direttamente indotti come nel caso della costruzione di dighe o di installazioni petrolifere, o provocati da desertificazioni, alluvioni, avvelenamenti del suolo e delle acque.

      Tuttavia, che questi spostamenti forzati si traducano in migrazioni internazionali, soprattutto sulle lunghe distanze, è molto più dubbio. Anzitutto, le migrazioni difficilmente hanno un’unica causa: i danni ambientali semmai aggravano altri fattori di fragilità, tanto che hanno un impatto diverso su gruppi diversi di popolazione che abitano negli stessi territori. Entrano in relazione con altri fattori, come per esempio l’insediamento in altri territori di parenti che si spera possano fornire una base di appoggio. È più probabile poi che eventualmente i contadini scacciati dalla loro terra ingrossino le megalopoli del Terzo Mondo, anziché arrivare in Europa, sempre per la ragione prima considerata: dove trovano le risorse per affrontare viaggi così lunghi e necessariamente costosi? Va inoltre ricordato che l’esodo dal mondo rurale è una tendenza strutturale, difficile da rovesciare, in paesi in cui la popolazione impegnata nell’agricoltura supera il 50 per cento dell’occupazione complessiva. Neppure la Cina ci riesce, pur avendo trattato a lungo i contadini inurbati senza permesso alla stessa stregua degli immigrati stranieri considerati illegali nei nostri paesi, tanto che ha dovuto negli ultimi anni ammorbidire la sua politica in materia.
      Gli aiuti allo sviluppo non risolvono la questione

      Questa analisi ha inevitabili ripercussioni sull’idea della promozione dello sviluppo come alternativa all’emigrazione. Ossia l’idea sintetizzabile nel noto slogan “aiutiamoli a casa loro”.

      Si tratta di un’idea semplice, accattivante, apparentemente molto logica, ma in realtà fallace. Prima di tutto, presuppone che l’emigrazione sia provocata dalla povertà, ma abbiamo visto che questo è meno vero di quanto si pensi. Se gli immigrati non arrivano dai paesi più poveri, dovremmo paradossalmente aiutare i paesi in posizione intermedia sulla base degli indici di sviluppo, anziché quelli più bisognosi, i soggetti istruiti anziché i meno alfabetizzati, le classi medie anziché quelle più povere.

      In secondo luogo, gli studi sull’argomento mostrano che in una prima, non breve fase lo sviluppo fa aumentare la propensione a emigrare. Cresce anzitutto il numero delle persone che dispongono delle risorse per partire. Le aspirazioni a un maggior benessere inoltre aumentano prima e più rapidamente delle opportunità locali di realizzarle, anche perché lo sviluppo solitamente inasprisce le disuguaglianze, soprattutto agli inizi. Possiamo dire che lo sviluppo si lega ad altri fattori di cambiamento sociale, mette in movimento le società, semina speranze e sogni che spingono altre persone a partire. Solo in un secondo tempo le migrazioni rallentano, finché a un certo punto il fenomeno s’inverte: il raggiunto benessere fa sì che regioni e paesi in precedenza luoghi di origine di emigranti diventino luoghi di approdo di immigrati, provenienti da altri luoghi che a quel punto risultano meno sviluppati.

      Così è avvenuto in Italia, ma dobbiamo ricordare che abbiamo impiegato un secolo a invertire il segno dei movimenti migratori, dalla prevalenza di quelli in uscita alla primazia di quelli in entrata. In tutti i casi fin qui conosciuti sono occorsi decenni di sviluppo prima di osservare un calo significativo dell’emigrazione.
      Le rimesse degli emigranti

      L’emigrazione non è facile da contrastare neppure con generose politiche di sostegno allo sviluppo e di cooperazione internazionale, anche perché un altro fenomeno incentiva le partenze e la permanenza all’estero delle persone: le rimesse degli emigranti. Si tratta di 586 miliardi di dollari nel 2015, 616 nel 2016, secondo le stime della Banca Mondiale, basate sui soli canali ufficiali di trasferimento di valuta.

      A livello macro, vari paesi hanno le rimesse come prima voce attiva negli scambi con l’estero, e 26 paesi del mondo hanno un’incidenza delle rimesse sul PIL che supera il 10 per cento. A livello micro, le rimesse arrivano direttamente nelle tasche delle famiglie, saltando l’intermediazione di apparati pubblici e imprese private. Sono soldi che consentono di migliorare istruzione, alimentazione, abitazione dei componenti delle famiglie degli emigranti, in modo particolare dei figli, malgrado gli effetti negativi che pure non mancano. Poiché gli emigranti tipicamente investono in terreni e case come simbolo del loro successo, le rimesse fanno lavorare l’industria edilizia. Fanno però salire i prezzi e svantaggiano chi non ha parenti all’estero, alimentando così nuove partenze. Difficile negare tuttavia che le rimesse allevino i disagi e migliorino le condizioni di vita delle famiglie che le ricevono. Il sostegno allo sviluppo dovrebbe realizzare rapidamente delle alternative per competere con la dinamica propulsiva del nesso emigrazione-rimesse-nuova emigrazione, ma un simile effetto nel breve periodo è praticamente impossibile.

      Dunque le politiche di sviluppo dei paesi svantaggiati sono giuste e auspicabili, la cooperazione internazionale è un’attività encomiabile, rimedio a tante emergenze e produttrice di legami, scambi culturali e posti di lavoro su entrambi i versanti del rapporto tra paesi donatori e paesi beneficiari. Ma subordinare tutto questo al controllo delle migrazioni è una strategia di dubbia efficacia, certamente improduttiva nel breve periodo, oltre che eticamente discutibile. Di fatto, gli aiuti in cambio del contrasto delle partenze significano oggi finanziare i governi dei paesi di transito affinché assumano il ruolo di gendarmi di confine per nostro conto.

      Da ultimo, il presunto buon senso dell’“aiutiamoli a casa loro” dimentica un aspetto di capitale importanza: il bisogno che le società sviluppate hanno del lavoro degli immigrati. Basti pensare alle centinaia di migliaia di anziani assistiti a domicilio da altrettante assistenti familiari, dette comunemente badanti. Se i paesi che attualmente esportano queste lavoratrici verso l’Italia dovessero conoscere uno sviluppo tale da scongiurare le partenze, non cesserebbero i nostri fabbisogni. In mancanza di alternative di cui per ora non si vedono neppure i presupposti, andremmo semplicemente a cercare lavoratrici disponibili in altri paesi, più arretrati di quelli che attualmente ce le forniscono.

      Concludendo, il nesso diretto tra migrazioni, povertà e sviluppo è una delle tante semplificazioni di un dibattito che prescinde dai dati, si basa sulle percezioni e rifugge dalla fatica dell’approfondimento dei fenomeni.


    • #Codéveloppement : un marché de dupes

      Née du souci d’un partage équitable des richesses et d’une volonté de coopération entre la France et les pays d’émigration, la notion de codéveloppement a été rapidement dévoyée. Au lieu de considérer que migrations et développement sont deux phénomènes complémentaires, les unes apportant à l’autre l’aide la plus conséquente et la plus efficace, on assiste aujourd’hui, derrière un discours d’un cynisme affiché prétendant mener une politique qui répond aux intérêts de tous, à un contrôle accru et une diminution des migrations. À l’inverse des incantations officielles, cette politique ne bénéficie ni aux migrants, ni aux pays de destination, ni aux pays d’origine.


    • Immigration : l’échec de la méthode Sami Nair. Le « codéveloppement » du chevènementiste ne démarre pas.

      Les uns parlent de fiasco, rigolent en douce : « C’était couru

      d’avance. » Les autres maintiennent que l’idée est révolutionnaire. Au Quai d’Orsay, certains assurent que le codéveloppement est enterré. A Matignon, d’autres affirment que l’aventure ne fait que commencer. Ces divergences, même radicales, seraient banales s’il ne s’agissait pas d’une approche totalement différente de la gestion des flux migratoires. Mais, un an après le lancement de la délégation interministérielle au codéveloppement, le démarrage est poussif : aucune convention n’a encore été signée avec les trois pays concernés (Maroc, Mali, Sénégal), et le contrat de réinsertion dans le pays d’origine (CRPO), proposé aux immigrés, n’a attiré que 27 personnes. « Normal, c’est un projet à long terme », assure-t-on à l’Office des migrations internationales (OMI, rattaché au ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité). Il n’empêche, les chiffres sont rudes : Sami Naïr, père du concept, ancien délégué au codéveloppement et nouveau député européen (MDC), tablait sur des milliers de demandes. « Le codéveloppement, ça marche », persiste-t-il. Ces résultats décevants, voire piteux, signent-ils la mort du projet ?

      Marotte. Au départ, il y a cette idée, séduisante comme une évidence : transformer les émigrés en acteurs mobiles du développement de leur pays. En pratique, il s’agit de proposer, sur place, des conditions suffisamment attrayantes pour garder et/ou faire revenir les immigrés. Et, in fine, de substituer des flux transitoires aux flux permanents d’immigration irrégulière.

      Le codéveloppement a toujours été la marotte de Sami Naïr. Universitaire, très proche de Chevènement, rencontré dans sa jeunesse belfortaine, Naïr séduit les uns, excède les autres. « C’est un faux-jeton », assurent ces derniers, l’accusant d’avoir troqué ses convictions et son passé de pourfendeur des lois Pasqua (1) contre un bureau de conseiller place Beauvau. D’autres vantent son enthousiasme, sa vision de l’immigration et des rapports Nord-Sud. « On croirait qu’il va déplacer des montagnes », expliquent ses adversaires pour justifier son influence.

      Signe du climat passionnel qui règne autour de Jean-Pierre Chevènement, les détracteurs et même les partisans préfèrent garder l’anonymat. Mais tous, ou presque, reconnaissent sa compétence en matière de flux migratoires. « Je ne crois pas à une Europe-forteresse, mais à une Europe forte, qui intègre et dynamise les flux migratoires », dit-il malgré son appartenance au MDC, qui n’en fait pas un européen convaincu.

      Jospin séduit. Fin 1997, Sami Naïr remet à Jospin son rapport sur le codéveloppement. « La France ne peut plus, dans le contexte actuel, accueillir de nouveaux flux migratoires. Le codéveloppement n’a pas pour but de favoriser le retour des immigrés chez eux s’ils n’en ont pas la volonté », mais de « favoriser la solidarité active avec les pays d’origine », lit-on dans ce rapport. Jospin est très séduit, comme Martine Aubry, ainsi, bien sûr, que Chevènement. Le ministère de la Coopération n’y croit pas, des spécialistes dénoncent « une vieille idée des années 50 » et jugent impossible de renvoyer des gens contre leur gré. « La coopération avec les pays du Sud est un acte de solidarité, la gestion des entrées sur le territoire relève de la police. On ne peut associer les deux », estime le président du groupe de travail Migrations-développement, structure de réflexion qui regroupe des représentants de l’Etat et des ONG.

      Habiller les restrictions. Mais le contexte politique sert Naïr. Alors que s’achève l’opération de régularisation des sans-papiers, qui laisse 60 000 irréguliers sur le carreau, le conseiller de Chevènement devient le premier délégué interministériel au codéveloppement et aux flux migratoires. « Il fallait que Chevènement habille sa politique restrictionniste, explique aujourd’hui un anti-Naïr de la première heure. Si Chevènement avait mis pour les sans-papiers 10% de l’énergie consacrée au projet de Sami Naïr, on n’en serait pas là. C’est les avions renifleurs de l’immigration. » Le jugement est sévère. Car la délégation, finalement installée boulevard Diderot à Paris dans un local appartenant aux Finances, est bien modeste et n’a quasiment aucun fonds propre.

      Le Quai accusé. Les négociations des décrets sont agitées. « C’était un dossier très chaud. La Coopération n’a pas voulu jouer le jeu. Ils n’étaient pas contents qu’on leur enlève des budgets », se souvient-on à Matignon où on loue, sans réserve, le « travail remarquable de Sami, compte tenu des difficultés ». « Faux. On était demandeurs », se défend un haut fonctionnaire du Quai d’Orsay, auquel le ministère de la Coopération est rattaché. En fait, les adversaires du projet sont divisés. Aux Affaires sociales, le cabinet refuse qu’on dépense de l’argent pour former des immigrés en situation irrégulière. « Je me suis battu comme un chien, et Martine Aubry m’a soutenu », rétorque Sami Naïr. A la Coopération et aux Affaires étrangères, on juge le projet trop imprégné du fantasme de l’immigration zéro cher à Pasqua, qui avait déjà tenté ­ sans suite ­ une politique de codéveloppement : « Ça marche si le type n’est pas encore parti. Parce qu’une fois qu’il a goûté à l’Occident, même dans une banlieue pauvre, il connaît vraiment la différence, et il faut payer très cher pour qu’il reparte. »

      « Politique réac ». L’échec du contrat de réinsertion dans le pays d’origine affecte moins Sami Naïr que les commentaires désobligeants qui l’accompagnent. « Le CRPO n’est qu’un petit dossier de la politique de codéveloppement et il n’a pas été pris en charge », explique-t-il, visant l’OMI, pourtant riche des 1 300 francs ponctionnés à chacun des 70 000 régularisés de la circulaire Chevènement (visite médicale plus « taxe de chancellerie »).

      Les détracteurs du codéveloppement ne désarment pas quand on en vient au principal volet, nettement plus complexe : les conventions proposées au Maroc, au Mali et au Sénégal, prévoyant des investissements français en échange d’une limitation des flux migratoires. Le Maroc refuse de signer la convention. Le Mali et le Sénégal, d’abord réticents, ont été convaincus par les arguments de Naïr, et les accords devraient être signés à la rentrée. « La gaugauche s’est fait avoir. C’est une politique très réac enrobée de tiers-mondisme. Le colonialisme et les quotas, c’est fini, on ne dispose plus des gens contre leur gré », s’énerve un spécialiste, pourtant proche de Chevènement, qui s’appuie sur vingt ans d’échecs répétés de tous les systèmes d’aide au retour des immigrés. Ailleurs, on reconnaît que ce genre de politique se juge sur le long terme. Encore faut-il y mettre des moyens et une volonté politique. Et si, effectivement, le codéveloppement a été seulement perçu comme un habillage de la politique d’immigration, il est très probable qu’on en restera là.

      (1) Sami Naïr est l’auteur de Contre les lois Pasqua (1997).


    • Codéveloppement et flux migratoires

      Je crois que le mieux pour comprendre ce que j’ai essayé de faire en matière de codéveloppement lié aux flux migratoires à la fin des années 90, c’est encore de résumer, brièvement, comment cette idée de codéveloppement a été élaborée et pourquoi elle reste d’actualité. On pardonnera une implication plus personnelle du propos, mais il se trouve que grâce à Jean-Pierre Chevènement, ministre de l’Intérieur à partir de juin 1997, j’ai été associé à la politique gouvernementale en matière d’immigration.


    • Je transcris ici les propos de Murat Julian Alder, avocat, député au Grand Conseil genevois, prononcés lors d’un débat à Infrarouge (autour de la minute 53) :

      « Il est temps qu’on pose la question sur la table avec les pays d’émigration. Au PLR on a la conviction qu’on est en droit, en tant qu’Etat qui malheureusement subit une partie de cette migration, d’exiger une contre-partie des pays à qui nous versons chaque année des centaines de millions de francs au titre de l’#aide_au_développement. Lorsqu’on est au pouvoir dans un pays, on en défend ses intérêts. Et la défense des intérêts de notre pays implique que nos gouvernants explique aux pays d’émigration que cette aide au développement est à bien plaire, mais qu’on peut faire davantage pour autant qu’il y ait une contrepartie. Et cette contrepartie c’est la conclusion d’#accords_de_réadmission, c’est aussi une aide davantage ciblée sur place dans les pays d’émigration au lieu de la politique de l’arrosoir que nous connaissons actuellement »