The fund operates along four strategic lines of action applicable to the three windows, as set out in the Strategic Orientation Document adopted by the Strategic Board in November 2015:
1. Greater economic and employment opportunities
Establishing inclusive economic programmes creating employment opportunities, especially for young people and women in local communities, with a focus on vocational training and creation of micro and small enterprises. Some interventions will, in particular, support returnees after their return to their countries of origin.
2. Strengthening resilience of communities and in particular the most vulnerable including refugees and displaced people
Supporting resilience regarding food security and the wider economy by providing basic services to the most vulnerable, local populations, such as refugees and displaced people, through community centres or other possible means to enhance food security, health, education and social protection and environmental sustainability.
3. Improved migration management in countries of origin, transit and destination
Improving migration management in line with the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, and the Rabat and Khartoum processes. A better migration management entails: the development of national and regional strategies on migration (both containing and preventing irregular migration), fighting against human trafficking, smuggling and other related crimes, ensuring effective reintegration, providing international protection/asylum, and improving legal migration and mobility.
4. Improved governance and conflict prevention and reduction of forced displacement and irregular migration
Improving good governance by promoting conflict prevention, addressing human rights abuses and enforcing the rule of law through supporting security and development capacity building, law enforcement, as well as better border and migration management. Actions will also contribute to prevent and counter radicalisation and extremism.
Operational Framework for Sahel and Lake Chad
In the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the root causes of instability, forced displacement and irregular migration are diverse, complex and often inter-related, requiring a holistic and integrated approach. The region is faced with growing challenges linked to demographic pressure, environmental stress, extreme poverty, internal tensions, institutional weaknesses, weak social and economic infrastructures, and insufficient resilience to food crises. These have in some cases led to open conflict, displacement, criminality, radicalisation and violent extremism, as well as irregular migration, trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants – all further exacerbating existing challenges.-
Based on the strategic objectives of the EU Trust Fund for Africa, this broad characterisation of key challenges and specificities of the region, the Sahel/Lake Chad window has developed its Operational Framework on a two-fold logic: (objective 1) preventing irregular migration and forced displacement and facilitating better migration management and returns; (objective 2) building a comprehensive approach for stability, security and resilience.
Operational Framework for Horn of Africa
The strategic orientations of the Horn of Africa window's response are guided by an aim to address the large-scale nature of mixed migration and forced displacement between and within the countries of the region and to tackle the challenges of stability through an integrated approach to conflict and crisis that builds states and societies' resilience to crises. In seeking to follow this approach, areas of intervention build on the key principles of resilience inter alia through addressing food and nutrition vulnerabilities, supporting stabilisation efforts and focusing on economic and social push factors by enhancing economic and employment opportunities. Recognised as one of the most effective ways to support stability and address root causes, improving state capacity to manage migration challenges stands as a central objective of the Horn of Africa window, including the development of national and regional migration, asylum and integration policies and protection mechanisms for vulnerable migrants and refugees.
The Horn of Africa window puts the regional dimension at the centre of operational response, with support focusing on a number of areas. Firstly, it supports sustainable solutions and positive alternatives for forcibly displaced persons within the region and their host communities, as well as for vulnerable populations at risk of being pushed to forcibly migrate because a lack of opportunities. Secondly, it contributes to fight and prevent trafficking and smuggling networks that are present in the region and which prey on the desperation of those with no choice but to migrate. This response includes support to improve migration management, to promote of stability and cohesion, and to address root causes in vulnerable areas, notably by creating job opportunities to meet the aspirations of youth and make their communities more resilient. Thirdly, it supports safe and dignified returns within Africa, and the sustainable reintegration of migrants into their countries of origin.
Based on the strategic objectives of the EUTF for Africa and the particular challenges and opportunities of the Horn of Africa region, the Horn of Africa window has developed an Operational Framework based on a two-fold logic to (i) tackle irregular migration and forced displacement and (ii) support stabilisation efforts. A balanced approach has been adopted to channel support to each axis of the Operational Framework, with MEUR 385.5 allocated to date to address irregular migration and forced displacement and MEUR 220.5 to address peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Operational Framework for North of Africa
The Operational framework of the North of Africa window adopted in December 2016 is focused on pillar 3 of the EUTF for Africa (“improved migration management”). Based on this strategic objective of the EUTF for Africa and fully in line with the Valletta Action Plan, the European Agenda on Migration, the European Neighbourhood policy review and the regional policy dialogue of the Rabat and Khartoum processes, the North of Africa window aims at:
(i) Improving migration governance including a rights-based migration management, this is expected to contribute to social cohesion, safe mobility and security, as well as ensuring international protection, in accordance with international law. This includes capacity building on legislative and regulatory issues, so as to progressively develop fully-fledged migration systems;
(ii) Advancing mutually beneficial legal migration and mobility and in particular the improving of skills and strengthening of labour market information systems, reinforcing cooperation and networking between labour agencies and relevant institutions in the field of job creation with a view to facilitating job placements and opportunities;
(iii) Ensuring protection for those in need, critical in strengthening the resilience of displaced populations together with their host communities. Capacities of partner countries to establish functioning policy, legislative and institutional frameworks on asylum and international protection will be enhanced and the resilience of displaced populations together with their host communities will be strengthened. These actions will build on the experience gained under the Regional and Development Protection Programmes (RDPP);
(iv) Addressing the drivers of irregular migration, in specific areas of origin, by supporting economic and social programmes creating employment and education opportunities, especially for young people and women in local communities and support a sustainable reintegration of the returnees into their societies and communities;
(v) Improving information and the protection of vulnerable migrants along the migratory route.