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Senior Officials gather to discuss the future of the Budapest Process

Antalya, 15 December – As the monitoring and steering body of the Budapest Process, the annual Senior Officials Meeting reported on the activities in 2016, including the meetings of the Silk Routes Working Group and the Silk Routes Partnership Project and presented a five-year proposal for the 2017 - 2021 cooperation framework.

Hosted by Turkey, the meeting gathered over 45 representatives from 23 participating states and several international and regional organisations.  The meeting included discussions on operational, thematic and structural priorities for the Budapest Process as of 2017. Considering the high importance given to the Process by its participating countries, the discussions touched upon short-term needs and long-term objectives and at the same time financial sustainability during the next funding period 2017 - 2021.

The Budapest Process is one of the longest-standing cooperation frameworks on migration for Europe and its eastern neighbours and during its more than 20 years of operation, it has developed from an information sharing tool between European countries in a pre-EU enlargement setting to a far reaching Europe-Asia forum for improving migration management.

Establishing regional law enforcement cooperation between the Silk Routes countries and Turkey

Antalya, 12-13 December – Twenty-four officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey, together with experts from ICMPD and Frontex met in Antalya, Turkey to continue elaborating the establishment of a regional law enforcement cooperation network.

The fruitful work of law enforcement practitioners from the region, together with legal officers and experts resulted in a first draft of a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The future MoU will allow law enforcement entities of the Silk Routes countries and Turkey to exchange information through a focal point network with special focus on prevention, detection and fighting migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings and enhanced border management.

The proposed framework envisages regular data exchange and a regional early warning system. The delegates agreed to convene the next round of consultations on 6 – 7 March 2017 in Tehran, upon the kind invitation from the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue elaborating the MoU.

This event is a follow up to a series of consultation meetings held in Pakistan, Poland and Turkey in 2015-2016, and part of the Budapest Process’ long-term efforts aimed at enhancing regional law enforcement co-operation. The overall objective of the Silk Routes Partnership project is to strengthen the migration management capacities of the Silk Routes countries Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan both at national and –together with Bangladesh and Iran- also at regional level. 


12 January 2016

We are happy to inform you that ICMPD has recently published a new study on the role of Regional Migration Dialogues for migration governance with a particular focus on the migration-development nexus. The study, which was commissioned by the Turkish Chair of the Budapest Process, discusses the function of the regional migration dialogues in multilateral migration policy making and identifies the growing relevance of the (global) debate on migration and development for them. Focusing on dialogues involving EU Member States and non – EU countries, the study is based on interviews with stakeholders and participants from the following selected migration dialogues: the Budapest Process, the Prague Process, Euromed Migration III, the MTM Dialogue and the Rabat Process. The link between regional migration dialogues and the global debate on migration and development is  perceived differently. Whilst for some regional dialogues the debate at the global level could act as catalyst, for others, migration dialogues are mainly anchored in regional migration systems and should focus on regional particularities. An increasing trend of focusing on migration and development issues is visible among all regional dialogues even though the starting point for many was irregular migration. The informality of the regional dialogue setting appears as a distinctive factor for successful exchanges and cooperation in all areas of migration governance. 

 The study is available for download in PDF format:

Download this file (Regional Migration Dialogues.pdf)RMD Study1048 kB

9th Budapest Process Working Group Meeting on the Silk Routes Region

Belgrade, 19 October - Finding long-term solutions for further dialogue and cooperation in the field of integration of migrants and reintegration of returnees is the goal of the working group meeting in the capital of the Republic of Serbia today.

Hosted by the Ministry of Interior of Serbia, the two-day event taking place 18 -19 October brings together over 80 senior experts from thirty Budapest Process participating countries from Europe and Asia and organisations to discuss challenges and issues related to integration and reintegration. The Working Group meeting aims at defining long-term approaches in migration management, addressing challenges, sharing good practices, as well as studying negative effects/outcomes of non-existence of integration and reintegration policies. Senior experts, particularly Silk Routes countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan – discuss the latest trends of integration and reintegration policies and address the need of common Budapest Process standards in the fields of integration of migrants and reintegration of returning migrants.

State Secretary of the Serbian Interior Ministry Jana Ljubičić said that integration of migrants and reintegration of returnees are important and rather topical issues which require more attention and should be more often on the agendas of the international meetings dedicated to migration, since the countries along the Western Balkan route have primarily dealt with suppression of irregular migration, transit migration flows, asylum procedures, emergency accommodation and humanitarian care. “Migration has almost never been a national problem only, but has always required intensive and effective cross-border and international co-operation and Serbia stands ready to be part of the solution of the common problem” she added. Integration helps to ensure and maintain cohesion in the society and a peaceful social coexistence of different groups. The costs of non-integration are considered higher than investment in integration. In practice this means that societies have to make their mainstream institutions fit to “migration” and accommodate the needs of migrants into the work of their central institutions, such as schools, health care, vocational training, sports, etc. in order to avoid social exclusion and evolving “parallel societies”.

Strengthening protection systems through international cooperation – Silk Routes Working Group meets in Tehran

 28 May 2016

At a time when refugee movements take place at an increasing pace, it was crucial for Budapest Process countries to meet and discuss challenges in the identification of persons in need of international protection, provision of adequate reception conditions for asylum seekers and offering refugees durable solutions through a joint approach. The 8th Silk Routes Region Working Group Meeting and the final regional training of the Silk Routes Partnership Project provided the first opportunity for countries of origin, transit and destination along the Silk Routes to meet in the light of the 2015 events. The meetings were hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 15 – 19 May 2016 at the premises of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in Tehran.


5th Regional Training on International Protection – 15-17 May 2016

This regional training examined the applicable international standards for the protection for refugees; provided an in-depth introduction to migration and refugee law and practices and focused specifically on the respective regimes in force in the Silk Routes countries and in the European Union (EU). Participants exchanged information and experiences with their partners from the same region, but also discussed particular issues with external experts from the EU as well as the UNHCR office in Tehran, who led the training. The officials from the Silk Routes countries evaluated the training as extremely useful to facilitate regional experience exchange and to ensure better cooperation in the field of international protection of refugees.

8th Silk Routes Region Working Group Meeting – 18-19 May 2016

Iran has been generously hosting a large refugee population for the last decades. Therefore, both the topic as well as the location triggered a wide response and interest among Budapest Process participants. As a result, the working group meeting brought together delegations from 30 countries and 9 organisations/ institutions from all over Europe and Asia.

During the two-day meeting, participants discussed solidarity among countries in addressing protracted refugee situations as well as strengthening protection systems through international cooperation. Once again the Budapest Process was emphasised as a unique forum bringing together countries of origin, transit and destination along the Silk Route around one table.

Among the biggest challenges participating countries identified the lack of sufficient protection space for refugees, provision of durable solutions and addressing the root causes of forced migration. Another challenge identified by participating countries was secondary movements and the issue of harmonising protection systems to avoid such developments. Overall, participants agreed that international protection needs to be addressed at the global level and that countries need to share the responsibility in offering support to those in need of protection. Several participants also underlined that a credible and generous asylum system needs to encompass a functioning return system for those who are not in need of protection and who do not have the legal right to remain in the country of destination.

Migration Resource Centres open in Pakistan

20 April 2016

In collaboration with ILO, the Silk Routes Partnership project established - as one main pilot initiative - two Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) in Islamabad and Lahore. The centres provide information and capacity building to potential migrants in Pakistan on rights, legal practices, jobs and protection possibilities abroad as well as on the dangers and consequences of irregular migration.

For this purpose, the MRC staff develops information material for awareness raising and mass distribution. An official website for the MRC is also under development ( Staff at both locations also started outreach activities to schools, colleges, technical vocational and training institutes in order to raise awareness amongst the general public, especially the youth, on the MRCs and its functions. The MRC staff in Islamabad also visits the Protectorate of Emigrants office in Rawalpindi weekly for pre-departure orientation lectures.

The official inauguration of the Islamabad MRC was held on 12 April 2016. The Federal Secretary of the MOPHRD officially inaugurated the event. The event was also attended by the ambassadors of the EU Delegation and Hungary, government stakeholders, international organisations, civil society, media and university students. An introductory promotional video on the MRC was produced to introduce the MRCs and their service.

Silk routes: Dialogue as basis for cooperation

Shared from the ICMPD Blog Entry:                                                               4 February 2016

In the field of migration policy “migration dialogues” are an important cooperation tool. They help states to maintain open channels of communication between each other, from expert to ministerial level. Countries along the Silk Routes connect through the Budapest Process.
By Cecilia Lundström Carniel

Europe has seldom seen a refugee crisis of the present dimensions, characterised by massive movements of people in search of better lives, escaping from conflict and misery in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Apart from emergency measures to address the immediate humanitarian crisis, long-term responses are needed. We need to increase cooperation and coordination between countries along the migration routes and in this way create possibilities to manage migration better - for countries and for people. Dialogue is a tool to facilitate this cooperation and coordination.

What are the benefits a dialogue?

In the field of migration, “Migration Dialogues” or “Regional Consultative Processes” have successively gained strong importance as a cooperation tool.

Dialogues help states and other stakeholders to maintain open channels of communication between each other, from expert to ministerial level. Personal contacts are created, also when states have strained relations and states greatly benefit through this exchange, also in day-to-day cooperation. This networking is efficient: at a single meeting representatives can exchange with officials from 20 to 40 countries or more. Informal discussions on the side-lines can help break through stalemates or further bi- and multilateral discussions.

In 2010, the Turkish Chair of the Budapest Process, an intergovernmental migration dialogue active since more than 20 years, proposed to redirect the focus towards the Silk Routes Region. Stable cooperation has since then developed with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Also, Syria participated before the war broke out.

For the first time, the countries of the Silk Routes Region are engaging in this kind of migration dialogue with their counterparts from other regions involved, including South Eastern and Eastern Europe, the Black Sea region, Central Asia as well as EU and Schengen countries. The cooperation is instrumental for dealing with the migration challenges of today.

Growing familiarity and regular contacts between participants of various events organised in this framework increases the understanding of different migration realities and the respect for each other’s situations. There is a special psychology of sitting at the same table which changes dynamics, between people, and in the long run, also between states.

Dialogue is also about knowledge transfer and capacity building

Following an important ministerial conference of the Budapest Process countries in 2013, the European Commission and several governments participating in the dialogue decided to co-fund a larger capacity building project. This “Silk Routes Partnership Project”, has given the Budapest Process the necessary operational means to make a real difference in the Silk Routes Region through building their capacity to manage migration efficiently.

A clear benefit of migration dialogues is that they very often provide a homebase to capacity building projects – serving to improve the capacities of administrations to better manage all aspects related to the movement of people, including awareness of how migration could be more beneficial for the development of each country.

Another key feature of the dialogue is knowledge transfer - from peer to peer during meetings and related operational activities. The Silk Routes Partnership Project has shown that it is not only important to offer a platform for countries from different regions – but also countries from the same region need a place to interact and share experience. At a training held in Tehran a year ago, delegates from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan had countless questions for each other about respective experiences in the field of labour migration.

The Silk Routes Partnership Project has shown that capacity building can and also should start during challenging situations, parallel to other on-going measures serving to give aid, alleviate immediate needs or tackle security issues. Dialogue and capacity building activities have been highly appreciated among officials who get the chance to reconnect to the international community and raise their own competences and those of the administrations.

Flavour of the Silk Routes

The Silk Road and its many routes – the Silk Routes – were more than pathways for the trade of silk and spices. Along these routes, travel, trade and cultural exchange increased mutual understanding, respect and acceptance between peoples of many different cultures. Migrants still travel these routes, bringing with them new customs, ideas and culture and link the countries along the routes in migration systems.

The migration dialogue – in this case the Budapest Process – also brings the officials of these countries together and gives them a framework for genuine cooperation, for handling migration challenges and for managing migration better.
Each country is unique; each country brings its individual spice to the cooperation.

The flavour of the Silk Routes has brought a new set of perspectives for modern migration management, which benefits all levels of migration administration, and ultimately trickles down to the migrants themselves.

ICMPD, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, serves as the Secretariat of the Budapest Process. ICMPD is also the implementing partner of the Silk Routes Partnership Project. Find out more on ICMPD on their webpage.

Photo: lensnmatter on Flickr

Launch of the BP Newsletter

26 January 2016

Check out the new Budapest Process Newsletter. It is a joint newsletter of the Budapest Process Secretariat and the flagship project “Support to the Silk Routes Partnership for Migration under the Budapest Process”. We are very much excited to announce this newsletter, which will appear every 3-6 months from now on. This gives us the opportunity to approach issues that do not necessarily fit within the structure of our traditional meetings, reports or online features. Our newsletter will include a behind the scenes look at what has been going on within the Budapest Process platform.

Sign up now for the next edition and check out the first issue here

Iraqi authorities work jointly to improve migration data management and develop a comprehensive policy framework on migration


8 October 2015

This second four-day training session held on 19–22 September within the Silk Routes Partnership Project, continues to lay important ground work for developing a comprehensive migration policy and data management framework in Iraq. Iraqi authorities worked jointly on identifying priorities in the field of migration management and missing policy tools with view to the current migration movements within the country and the existing legal framework. This process proves especially challenging at the moment, considering that the Iraqi administration is currently fully engaged in helping and supporting the over three million internally displaced in Iraq.

Training on Anti-Trafficking in Human Beings and Border Management for the Federal Investigation Agency in Pakistan

25 September 2015

The capacity of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to train new investigators and operational staff in anti-trafficking in human beings and border management processes was enhanced during a five day workshop held from 14 - 18 September in Islamabad.

The FIA is the law enforcement authority in Pakistan responsible for investigating and preventing human trafficking and migrant smuggling, as well as other immigration and organised crime issues. 37 new FIA recruits received training over four days from six FIA trainers with the support of international law enforcement experts. The FIA trainers previously participated in a Training of Trainers (ToT) initiative organised under the Silk Routes Partnership Project in April 2015. The training workshop allowed the trainers to put the skills and knowledge gained during the ToT training into practice, as well as supporting the development of the next generation of FIA operational staff and investigators.

The training workshop began with a preparation day just for the FIA trainers to finalise training presentations and materials. The FIA trainers then delivered two days training to new recruits on combating trafficking in human beings, and two days training on integrated border management, with the support of the international training experts. The four days training for the FIA recruits was integrated as a pilot initiative within a 16 week training course that new recruits complete before taking up operational and investigatory roles in the field.

The training applied a highly interactive and participatory approach through the use of case studies and role-playing exercises that sought to simulate the operational reality that new recruits may face with when working in the field. During the first two days, the new recruits learnt about the difference between trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, how to identify a 

victim of trafficking and conduct screening interviews with suspected trafficked persons. The role of state actors in victim assistance processes was also explained. The latter two days training on Integrated Border Management included the concepts, models and principles of border management, integration of anti-corruption measures and professional standards in border management processes, risk profiling/passenger analysis at borders, and the use of detection methods.  

The training was organised in the framework of two complementary ICMPD initiatives: the Support to the Silk Routes Partnership for Migration under the Budapest Process Project and the Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings and Organized Crime – Phase 2 (THB/IFS/2) project, both of which include Pakistan as a key partner country as part of multi-country capacity building projects. Both the Silk Routes Partnership project and THB/IFS/2 project are supported by the European Union.