This publication is the outcome of the Round Table organized by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law and IOM, in Dakar, Senegal in December 2009. The report, written in the original languages of discussion during the event (English-French), covers specific issues such as trafficking and smuggling, migration by sea and rescue at sea, root causes of migration, return of migrants, regional cooperation in addressing the main challenges and opportunities of migration flows in the Western and Northern Africa Region. Throughout the contributions and debates, migration has been addressed from both the legal and policy perspectives.
The migration flows within Western and Northern Africa and flows towards the Mediterranean face different challenges: this can be seen from politics, to economics, to interstate relations. It is acknowledged that migration has always existed and its largely positive effects in the framework of balanced and sustainable development should not be under-estimated. At the same time, the geopolitical landscape has considerably changed during the last decades and population movements have played, and still play, an important role in these changes. Migration has to be addressed in the framework of concerted regional attention and cooperation, in a spirit of shared responsibility among states of origin, transit and destination.