After more than three decades of delayed validation on its proposed migration policy, the seven-nation regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), has begun consultations to pave way for harmonized laws to allow free movement of people across borders between member countries.

Officials from the Djibouti-based Igad secretariat are holding talks with Uganda government migration experts, civil society and academia in the three-day national consultative workshop, which ends today, Wednesday, at Best Western hotel in Entebbe.

At the end of the workshop, Igad officials will have gathered information on immigration barriers and possible resolutions as well as shared the benefits of having a harmonized regional policy with their Ugandan counterparts.

Speaking on the sidelines of the workshop, Igad executive secretary Ambassador Mahboub Maliim said the policy will not only ease movement across the borders but could also reduce crime and extremism in the region if operationalized.

Maliim expects some member countries to frown upon the policy, which advocates opening of their borders but he is optimistic the validation process should be completed by June, 2018.

Recommendations from different national consultative workshops will be incorporated into provisions of Igad protocol on free movement of people in the region before it is rectified by the relevant authorities.

The proposal on migration has been on the shelf since Igad’s formation in 1986.

In his opening remarks on Monday, Maliim explained that Igad had priority issues such as famine, drought and conflicts to handle before migration concerns.

Maliim’’on conclusion of the conference which is on due to end in Djibouti we agreed specific articles as every country to clarify it’’

In 2015, Igad flagged off an initiative in which officials from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan and Somalia agreed a regional policy on exchanging information and data on the use of trans-boundary water resources.