Julian Weinberg spoke at the conference on “Promoting Knowledge for Evidence-based and Sustainable Migration governance in Libya: The Mediterranean Perspective”, convened by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, 25-27 June 2018.
The conference brought together Libyan government officials – including senior leadership from the Libyan National Team for Border Security and Management – from across different ministries with Libyan and European academics and practitioners to contribute thinking on Libya’s migration governance policies.
The migration crisis in Libya has had a very negative impact on the country undermining the sovereignty of the state, jeopardising security through the growth of transnational criminal networks and caused a humanitarian crisis. However, it is clear that Libya is at the center of a crisis not of its own making. Migration is a global challenge, driven by factors beyond its borders, manifested within the country as an indirect result of the current conflict and political instability. To meaningfully address the challenges it faces from migration, Libya needs a strong and stable government and a strong and stable state. Political division within Libya inhibits a strategic approach to addressing the challenges. And, it inhibits a coordinated political support that the country’s officials need to address it. As a consequence of the conflict and political division and suffering of Libyans in society, migration can fall down the priority list for Libyan politicians.
Understandably, other issues such as finding a resolution to the conflict, or addressing electricity shortages, or currency liquidity, among many other complex challenges Libyan politicians face, are often immediate priorities.
However, migration presents Libya with two complex issues – a security challenge and a humanitarian challenge, neither of which the state is sufficiently equipped to satisfactorily deal with in light of the ongoing conflict.
This situation does not help Libyan officials responsible for the everyday management of migration address the challenges they face. Too often, they lack the resources, support and training that they need.
For Europe, the migration crisis, which has manifested in Libya as a transit country to Europe, is a highly complex issue, illustrating the repercussions of foreign policy on domestic challenges. To address this complex challenge, a new spirit of coordination and cooperation between Europe and Libya needs to be established. Furthermore, a global challenge requires global solutions, which reinforce multilateral institutions and mechanisms.
The conference explored how mechanisms for cooperation could be strengthened both within Libya and at the regional level with neighbouring states and Europe.