Submission Title

Free Movement Agreements: Expanding Migration Governance through Regional Integration in West Africa

Subject Area

Political Science

Description

Migration is not regulated by an international multilateral framework like other transnational policy issues such as trade and health. Consequently, too many migrants are unprotected when they must cross borders. Free movement agreements (FMAs) are underused policy tools that not only protect migrants but also advance a common multilateral framework to regulate migration across the world. FMAs are rare in practice because they challenge traditional notions about the role of the state and require a collective transfer of power from Member States. In this case study of the subregional organization the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its 1979 Protocol Relating to Free Movement, I use primary and secondary source information to create an analytical narrative of the formation and challenges of ECOWAS and its Protocol. Despite the developments of ECOWAS and the importance of intraregional migration in West Africa, national borders are still used by Member States to obstruct migration rather than protect it. This has generalizable implications for FMA policy and research.

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Free Movement Agreements: Expanding Migration Governance through Regional Integration in West Africa

Migration is not regulated by an international multilateral framework like other transnational policy issues such as trade and health. Consequently, too many migrants are unprotected when they must cross borders. Free movement agreements (FMAs) are underused policy tools that not only protect migrants but also advance a common multilateral framework to regulate migration across the world. FMAs are rare in practice because they challenge traditional notions about the role of the state and require a collective transfer of power from Member States. In this case study of the subregional organization the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its 1979 Protocol Relating to Free Movement, I use primary and secondary source information to create an analytical narrative of the formation and challenges of ECOWAS and its Protocol. Despite the developments of ECOWAS and the importance of intraregional migration in West Africa, national borders are still used by Member States to obstruct migration rather than protect it. This has generalizable implications for FMA policy and research.