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 » Central Africa puts young people and women at the heart of the migration debate
27.10.2016 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Central Africa puts young people and women at the heart of the migration debate

© UN Photo / Eskinder Debebe

Like other African countries, member countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) face many challenges, such as poverty, climate change, ethno-religious conflicts or sectarian violence. Another major challenge is the forced displacement of civilians affecting several countries in the region. In Africa and Central Africa in particular, recurrent insecurity contributes greatly to human mobility. Alongside voluntary migration, forced displacement occupies a prominent position in the various types of movements.

The members of ECCAS countries and Nigeria participated in the regional MOST Forum of Ministers of Social Development in Central Africa, held from 24 to 26 October 2016 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The host country currently holds the vice-presidency of the MOST Intergovernmental Council. Nigeria is a guest of choice given the increasing number of internally displaced persons or persons leaving the country to escape Boko Haram. The continued presence of terrorist groups and this nebula in Central Africa is one of the backbones in the context of Agenda 2030, particularly in relation to SDG 16.

The UNESCO priority for gender equality this year is "Insecurity and Migration in Central Africa: Impact on Women and Youth", a concern that was also at the heart of this first MOST Forum in Central Africa.

Already heavily affected by the socio-political crisis in their countries, women and youth, due to insecurity and the deterioration of living conditions, become more vulnerable than ever and expect answers that are delayed.

When most forms of migration observed locally are dictated by the absolute need to access resources, it is essential to ensure sustainable development, of which the main substrates are peace and security.

United Nations bodies, researchers, senior officials and representatives of civil society joined the ministers in charge of social development of the countries of Central Africa during this forum. They considered the 2030 Agenda, the social policy context of Central Africa and the 2063 Agenda of the African Union.

This provided Central Africa with a high-level opportunity to not only present the success stories in the region, but also to identify the major issues in policy priorities for each country, to promote solutions based on evidence, to harmonize transnational policies and finally to enhance policy design and implementation processes through advanced research conducted in academic institutions, keeping in mind the human rights of those affected.


UNESCO’s Programme for Management of Social Transformations (MOST) works with governments, social and human science communities and civil societies to improve connections between knowledge and action, connections that are one key to positive social change.

Within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, MOST contributes to development and the eradication of poverty, as well as to the achievement of UNESCO’s Global Priorities: Africa and Gender Equality.


Yvonne Matuturu, y.matuturu(at)unesco.org / Cecilie Golden, c.golden(at)unesco.org

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