The current global COVID-19 pandemic, the health security measures, and the ensuing travel restrictions have widespread consequences for people across our regions. Although the pandemic and consequent measures have limited the possibility for Khartoum Process partners to meet in person, this has not prevented the dialogue and cooperation from continuing.
To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on Khartoum Process activities, as well as address some of the pandemic’s consequences, The Netherlands, in its capacity of Chair of the Khartoum Process, has been exploring new formats of activities for the short- to medium-term, until the international situation will allow for the resumption of in-person meetings.
The first such activity took place on the 2nd of July, in the form of a virtual meeting, gathering online over 50 participants.
The virtual meeting aimed to examine the trends, the responses, and the possible mobility-related impact of COVID-19 on the Khartoum Process region and facilitate a joint discussion on the future of mobility once the restricting measures are lifted. In particular, speakers and attendees exchanged views regarding the role and the potential of regional cooperation on migration to address the consequences wrought by the pandemic.
The first part of the virtual meeting was dedicated to the mapping of responses to the pandemic in the Khartoum Process region and, to the extent possible, analysing their impact on human mobility in the region and towards Europe.
The second part of the virtual meeting was designed to stimulate a forward-looking discussion amongst the partners on the relation between the situation associated with a global health emergency and migration governance in the Khartoum Process region.
Two guest speakers with longstanding expertise on the topic of migration in the Horn of Africa, Dr. Laura Hammond and Dr. Mehari Taddele Maru, contributed their expert views and provided recommendations that may support Khartoum Process partners in the immediate future and moving forward in the post-pandemic period.
In his closing remarks, Ambassador Joost Klarenbeek, who moderated the meeting as Chair of the Khartoum Process, reminded attendees that the transnational nature of the virus calls for a transnational response and the Khartoum Process role in providing a platform for the dialogue on the management of migration and mobility is more relevant than ever.