Since the establishment of “A Silk Routes Partnership for Migration” on 19 April 2013 at the 5th Budapest Process Ministerial Conference in Istanbul, ICMPD, as the Budapest Process Secretariat, has been supporting participating countries in developing concrete follow-up actions to implement the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration.
The first follow-up project of the Ministerial Conference, “Bridging Measures for Migration Management in the Silk Routes Region”, is supported by the United Kingdom and started in May 2013. Three visits to the Silk Routes countries Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq (Kurdish region) were conducted in June and July 2013 to identify the first pilot activities in migration management.
As a common understanding of priorities and needs had already been established with the Afghan and Pakistani authorities in previous consultation meetings during the project “Fostering Cooperation in the Area of Migration with and in the Silk Routes Region” (Silk Routes I), the recent visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan built upon and utilised this knowledge base to define the main activities to be implemented this coming fall and beyond. Both visits were carried out in cooperation with Turkey as the Chair of the Budapest Process and the United Kingdom.
For the visit to Erbil, Iraq, the project team was joined by an expert from Sweden. The mission was again conducted in cooperation with the UK and Turkey. Initial meetings were held with relevant counterparts from the Kurdish regional administration, as well as civil society and international organisations, and aimed at establishing a knowledge base on migration management mechanisms and capacities in northern Iraq. In addition to the above-mentioned visits, a second visit to Iraq (Baghdad) is planned later this year to identify possible follow-up activities in the beginning of 2014.
The findings of these visits will be presented at the meeting of the Working Group on the Silk Routes Region and the final intergovernmental meeting of the project “Fostering Cooperation in the Area of Migration with and in the Silk Routes Region” at the end of September.