In a context marked by humanitarian crises caused by increasing flows of irregular migration from Sub-Saharan Africa to Europe, ministers from more than fifty countries of origin, transit and destination met for the first time in order to respond to the questions raised by the challenges of migrations.
At that meeting there was a consensus on the need to adopt a balanced approach to migration issues in a spirit of shared responsibilities. The declaration and the action plan adopted at the first Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development, which was held in Rabat on 10-11 July 2006, reflected this innovative partnership characterised by a common vision which has established the basis for a close partnership between the countries concerned by the “West-African migration route” including migration to Europe from northern, central and western Africa.
The objective of the “Rabat Process” is to create a framework for dialogue and consultation within which concrete, practical initiatives are implemented. It reflects a new vision of migration issues characterised by a global, balanced and concrete approach to managing these issues. The European Union has asked the African partners to pursue a policy aimed at preventing and reducing illegal migration. This is however just one aspect of a migration policy which, in order to be consistent, also aims to improve the organisation of legal migration and promote the connections between migration and development.
Two years later, the Second Euro-African Conference on Migration and Development, organised in Paris in 2008, confirmed the vitality of the process and resulted in the adoption of an ambitious three-year cooperation programme resulting from the preliminary work done at three thematic meetings on legal migration, irregular migration and migration and development organized under the framework of the Project "Mise en Place du Plan d’Action de la Conférence de Rabat ", funded by the European Union and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development, which has finished in early 2011 (for further information please click here).
On November 23rd 2011, the Third Euro-AfricanMinisterial Conference on Migration and Development was held in Dakar, Senegal, consolidating the achievements in the implementation of the three-year Paris Cooperation Program, and adopting a new strategy for the years 2012-2014 (the Dakar Strategy).
The Dakar Strategy is based on the fact that the Rabat Process has established a solid and fruitful dialogue between the countries involved in the West African migratory route. This framework has made possible the development of enhanced cooperation through the implementation of numerous bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral initiatives. This Strategy is the result of activities undertaken with the assistance of the Support Project to the Rabat Process: in-depth consultations; assessment of the implementation of the Paris Cooperation Programme; and conclusions of the joint presidencies of experts’ meetings.
With this new strategy, which is based on five principles reflecting the spirit of the Rabat Declaration, partners are committed to achieve ten priority objectives (founded on the three pillars of the Process) designed to reinforce the implementation of the Paris Cooperation Programme as a framework for cooperation and dialogue.
1. To facilitate exchanges between the various parties involved in mobility.
2. To provide national and regional institutions with the means and capacities to implement mobility policies.
3. To guarantee that migrants’ rights and integration are respected.
4. To improve border management, the efficiency of readmission procedures and return conditions of irregular migrants.
5. To reinforce the protection for vulnerable groups.
6. To render civil registers secure and to streamline their management.
7. To adopt an inclusive approach to matters of migration and development.
8. To improve the mobilisation of migrant remittances to the benefit of their country of origin.
9. To realise the potential for migrant engagement with countries of origin.
10. To base policy consistency and coordination on acquiring and sharing information.
The Rabat Process, which brings together the countries of the West-African migration route, is not an isolated initiative. It is part of the dialogue which is being developed between Europe and Africa on migration issues, at bilateral, regional and continental levels. The summit of Heads of State in November 2010 in Tripoli testifies to this interest. It confirmed the key role of the African–EU partnership on migration, mobility and employment within the joint EU-African strategy, as a framework for dialogue established at the Lisbon Summit in 2007.
Following the Senior Officials Meeting held in Madrid last 06 June 2012, and based on the Dakar Strategy endorsed during the last Ministerial Conference, the Rabat Process Member States established a Road Map to ensure the monitoring of actions undertaken and to plan future activities. In this regard, a new Support Project to the Rabat Process is implemented for the period 2013-2015.
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