At the 5th Budapest Process Ministerial Conference on 19th April 2013 in Istanbul, over 230 representatives from 53 countries and international organisations gathered to adopt the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on “A Silk Routes Partnership for Migration”. A total of four Preparatory Meetings had been held to lay the groundwork for the priorities, working modalities and operational cooperation for the road ahead.
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. Furthermore, the signatory countries also declared to ensure the rights of the child and recognise gender specific-aspects of migration. In addition, the negative impact of discrimination, racism and xenophobia on societies and individuals, as well as the potential impact of environmental changes on migratory flows, are addressed.
The Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on a Silk Routes Partnership for Migration not only represents a significant widening in content, it also consolidates the geographical refocus of the Budapest Process under the Turkish Chairmanship to the Silk Routes Region.
In this respect the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration promotes “further dialogue and mutual cooperation in managing migration flows taking place along the Silk Routes as the Budapest Process priority”and can already now be considered a key document in the field of migration in this region.