On 19 April 2013 the Istanbul Ministerial Declaration on a Silk Routes Partnership for Migration was adopted at the 5th Budapest Process Ministerial Conference; it established the operational framework for cooperation along the Silk Routes from Asia to Europe.
Subsequently the United Kingdom initiated the first operational project entitled "Bridging Measures for Migration Management in the Silk Routes Region". This project focused on capacity building in migration management and carried out initial assessments and pilot trainings for officials of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. It also laid the groundwork for a more comprehensive and regional migration management project. “Support to the Silk Routes Partnership for Migration under the Budapest Process” was launched in February 2014 as the first big step and multilateral pledge to contribute to the implementation of the Istanbul Declaration.
During its three years of implementation the project strengthened the migration management capacities of authorities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at national level and at regional level also including Bangladesh and Iran. It also initiated the development of sustainable training systems, enhanced data management and expertise and supported migration policy development frameworks. First Migrant Resource Centres were set up in Pakistan and the initiative Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation Silk Routes and Turkey (RELEC) was launched.
The EU-funded project “Improving Migration Management in the Silk Routes Countries” builds on the foundations and achievements set by these and other earlier initiatives implemented under the Budapest Process; it started in August 2017 and seeks to achieve further benchmarks in partnership with the Silk Routes Countries (SRCs). The “Silk Routes project”, in brief, aims at maximising the development potential of migration and mobility within the Silk Routes region and towards major labour receiving countries. It also aims to establish comprehensive regional responses to migration and mobility with full respect of human rights and protection of migrants.
In a nutshell, the “Silk Routes project”
- strengthens the regional migration dialogue under the Budapest Process, based on a shared and clear understanding of migration and mobility between Silk Routes countries, Central Asian countries and European counterparts,
- enhances migration governance and mobility and operationalises the Budapest Process through concrete initiatives such as the establishment of further Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs), the Silk Routes Facility for capacity building, Protection of Migrants’ Rights (MIGRA.P) and continuation of the RELEC initiative.
The project is running over four years until July 2021; it is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships and implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
Detailed information about the project's activities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan is available here.