Today, September 28, 2022; marks a historic day when Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, Motlalentoa Letsosa in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Lesotho, launched the Lesotho National Migration and Development Policy.
The policy was developed in “close consultation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) the African Union Commission and the Lesotho National Consultative Committee on Migration and Development (NCC). This is an inter-ministerial and multi-sectoral body that has an advisory role to government in all aspects of migration issues”.
The policy aims to provide both a basis and direction for the coherent and effective harnessing of migration for development in Lesotho. It also aims to address the migration and development policy gap by providing a framework for action at the national level. The Policy serves as the foundation and key reference point for the Government of Lesotho and all other stakeholders to respond to the challenges and opportunities related to migration and development.
Honourable Letsosa said this policy was adopted by Cabinet a few weeks ago. He said the National Consultative Committee (NCC) on migration led by the Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with various ministries and institutions, international organizations, and Non-governmental organisations contributed to the development of this policy. “National Consultative Committee ensured that this policy is relevant and it is comprehensive and is based on the information guided by the evidence,” he said.
This policy serves as the foundation and key governance point for the government of Lesotho and all other stakeholders to respond to the challenges and take advantage of opportunities related to migration and development. He said the overall objective of migration and development policy is to indicate core areas of policy interventions and to provide a framework for the implementation of migration and development strategies and actions for the benefit of the nation.
The second National strategic development plan (NSDP II) consultation showed the increasing need for Lesotho to better manage migration so that it can provide developmental opportunities. Migration cannot be stopped but it can only be managed through strengthened labour migration and diaspora engagement which can contribute to national development and strengthen the linkages between migration and tourism. He said at the same time, the country is called upon to minimize the negative impact of migration, such as; the need to continue to fight against Human Trafficking and smuggling of migrants and strengthen their border management systems to stop cross-border crimes.
Head of Office, IOM Lesotho – Ms Eriko Nishimura complimented the leadership of the Ministry of Home Affairs Lesotho and the efforts made by members of the National Consultative Committee of Migration to continue to play a key role to improve migration in Lesotho. She further appreciated their development partners and stakeholders who supported this policy development process.
The Migration and Development policy identified 16 broader areas of priority, of which few were mentioned as Migration and Gender; Return Migration and Reintegration as being now covered in the document, unlike in the past when they were not in other documents. “I cannot express how happy we are by the fact that this policy was finally adopted by Cabinet. Thank you very much for your tireless efforts towards this milestone to have taken place,” she said. Ms Nishimura said she believes that the policy will be a guiding tool for all the benefits maximization from migration while minimizing the negative impact of migration through various strategies put in place in the policy.