Since 2015 Forward Thinking and the Order of Malta have worked with Libyan counterparts to develop the Libyan response to the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean and identify how to better meet the humanitarian needs of migrants. At the request of Libyan civil servants working on the challenge of migration, a workshop was held on the 15th of July 2020 to discuss how the situation has changed in recent years, the development of a new Libyan strategy and where additional support may be needed.
While global attention has shifted to other issues, migration remains a key challenge for Libya. The IOM estimates that are still at least 634,000 migrants within Libya, the majority from Sub-Saharan Africa. Libya’s capacity to meet the needs of migrants is strained due to the ongoing conflict in the country. Migration has fed the growth of smuggler and trafficking networks in the country, who now pose a serious threat to the security of the state. There is frustration within Libya that they are dealing with a crisis, not of the country’s making, and with only limited support from the wider international community. However, Libya cannot solve this issue alone – an enduring solution to the crisis will only come if there is close coordination and cooperation between origin, transit and destination countries.
The meeting explored several areas where possible cooperation could be developed. This included offering greater training opportunities for Libyan officials working on migration. Further meetings will be held in the coming months to develop these initial ideas further.