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Today, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa has adopted a comprehensive €90 million programme to reinforce protection and resilience of migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya. The programme will also support improved migration management in the country.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “For the European Union, Libya and the Libyans have been and stay a top priority. We are working to promote a political solution to the Libyan crisis and to support the Libyan authorities on the many challenges they have to face, including the managing of the migration flows. As the first donor for Libya, we already are providing a sizeable package of support worth €120 million to assist the authorities and the population. And while we are working to provide training and capacity building to the coast guard to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, we are addressing the appalling situation the migrants stranded in Libya face, together with international organisations such as IOM and UNHCR. The additional €90 million we adopt today are aimed at protecting and assisting migrants in the country, and the people who host them. Our aim remains cooperating in protecting lives, and promoting peace and stability in Libya. The European Union is doing its part and the Libyan authorities, all of them, have to do theirs“.
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said: “At the initiative of the European Commission, the EU Trust Fund for Africa is taking rapid action on a pressing priority for both the EU and our partner countries. By supporting actions in Libya, today’s newly adopted programme will address the needs of the migrants and contribute to a better management of migration flows. In addition, the projects will also support improved socio-economic conditions for all in Libya, and thus contribute to reducing the drivers of irregular migration and make the smugglers’ task more difficult”.
The new programme addresses various aspects of the migration challenge in Libya and along the Central Mediterranean route: stepping up the protection of migrants and refugees, including the most vulnerable, in Libya; improving the conditions of host communities and of internally displaced persons, taking into account the difficult socio-economic conditions in Libya; and facilitating the voluntary return of migrants from Libya to their countries of origin. The programme activities will be implemented in the main areas of settlement or transit of migrants and refugees (Libyan Southern border, municipalities along the migratory routes and along the coastal area) and in areas of displacement of Libyans and places to which internally displaced populations are returning.
The programme includes the following activities:
- Protection (€48 million): assistance to and protection of migrants and refugees at disembarkation points, in detention centres and urban settings (e.g. primary health care, psychological first aid, identification of vulnerable persons – including children – access to food and non-food items); voluntary humanitarian returns and reintegration of migrants to their countries of origin (overall 15,000 envisaged); creation of ‘Safe Spaces’ as alternatives to detention (shelters providing 24/7 care and specialised services); assistance to migrants on the move in the form of information on viable options (including returns) and risks of irregular migration as well as food and non-food items; collection and analysis of data on mixed migration flows, routes and trends through a ‘Displacement Tracking Mechanism’ which will help better understand the migration dynamics.
- Socio-economic development at municipal level and local governance (€42 million):activities to improve socio-economic development at municipal level and local governance, through strengthening capacities of local authorities to provide services and foster local development and stability, through provision and access to quality services for Libyans and migrants (including health facilities and education and rehabilitation of local infrastructures for example) and through local economic development and access to job opportunities (including through safe income for migrants and host communities in the South where smuggling and trafficking provide major revenues).
The programme will be implemented through five partners, selected on the basis of their capacity to surge swift operational deployment building on existing operations and presence on the ground: 1) the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 2) the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 3) the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 4) the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and 5) the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). Concrete implementation on the ground will start after finalisation of contracting with the partners.
Migrants transiting or remaining in Libya are facing increasingly dire conditions. The programme addresses the priorities set out by the European Commission in its Joint Communication “Migration on the Central Mediterranean Route: Managing flows, saving lives” (25 January 2017), confirmed and further developed by the Heads of State or Government in the Malta Declaration of 3 February 2017. Further actions under the EU Trust Fund for Africa will address the remaining priorities identified in both documents.
The planned activities cover:
- reducing the number of crossings and saving lives at sea;
- stepping up the fight against smugglers and traffickers;
- development of local communities in Libya to improve their socio-economic situation and enhance their resilience as host communities;
- protecting migrants, increasing resettlement and promoting assisted voluntary returns and reintegration;
- managing migrant flows through the southern Libyan border;
- increased cooperation with Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
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