The Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on A Silk Routes Partnership for Migration

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Budapest Process saw a landmark development when the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on a Silk Routes Partnership for Migration was adopted by the participating countries at the 5th Ministerial Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Over 250 representatives from 53 countries, as well as international organisations and other stakeholders, attended the conference, which was hosted by Turkey, the Chair of the Budapest Process.

The declaration has already been referred to as one of the most far-reaching and comprehensive declarations ever adopted by such a diverse group of participants. It reflects the development of migration management discourse throughout the last 20 years, shifting the emphasis from control of irregular migration to also include issues such as labour migration, mobility and development. In this sense the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration brings some important elements to the forefront such as a clear commitment to respect human rights in migration management.

Six priority areas were identified for cooperation:

  1. legal migration and mobility
  2. integration of migrants and counteracting phenomena such as discrimination, racism and xenophobia
  3. migration and development
  4. prevent and counteract irregular migration, facilitate return and readmission of irregular migrants, and combat criminal networks involved in smuggling of migrants
  5. prevent and combat trafficking in persons and
  6. promote international protection.