Effects of Externalisation workshop
Project members from the EFFEXT project travelled from Norway, Denmark, and the UK, to Beirut to take part in a two-day project workshop. The workshop was organised in close collaboration with Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University Beirut.
For project researchers who were not working on the Levant, this was a great opportunity to meet some of the partners in Beirut and also to (briefly) visit one of the case countries within the project.
Day one of the workshop included project discussions where each project member presented their ongoing fieldwork in their case countries of Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Libya. We also discussed theory building within the project and shared methodological challenges.
On day two of the workshop, we opened up to include local researchers, policy-makers, and representatives from the IOM and EU and held four panel discussions. This enabled dialogue between different groups working on migration and refugee policy issues in the Levant (agenda and speakers can be found here).
Some common themes began to emerge between the panels. Significantly, the lack of policy coherence was revisited a number of times throughout the workshop, specifically policy created on the EU level and is not implemented on the ground. The EU is one of the largest donors to Lebanon, but the shift from humanitarian aid to development aid has added to donor fatigue as money is squandered by the government.
Additionally, many speakers referred to the shrinking policy space in Lebanon, reflecting on the collapse of the government and the lack of policy and logistical infrastructure within the country. This means that new initiatives and organisations are growing to fill the void. The importance of using the correct language to discuss migration was also emphasised: the language used to talk about migration is very important - and has impacts on how migrants & refugees are considered by governments and international organisations and in turn, in policy.
The workshop was a great success and inspired future collaborations between CMI and IFI. The main take-aways from the workshop were that more needs to be done to address the challenges of migration in Lebanon, but this is very difficult given the shrinking policy space in the country. Overall, more coherent and consistent policy is needed to improve collaboration between the EU and Lebanon.