Expert Thematic Meeting on Return and Reintegration

Budapest: The implementation of the Call for Action endorsed in December 2019 kicked off in 2020 with the first dialogue activity addressing Priority Goal 1 of the Call for Action. The Call for Action, which was adopted at the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Budapest Process provides the direction of activities for the next 5 years in six priority areas related to migration including Priority Goal 1 related to countering irregular migration. Experts on return and reintegration gathered for two days  in Budapest, hosted by the Co-Chair of the dialogue, Hungary. The meeting included a panel discussion amongst representatives from Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Pakistan, ERRIN, FRONTEX and the Bali Process. Break-out group discussions followed in three sessions focusing on structural constraints to return and reintegration.

Building upon previous meetings held on the same topic in 2017 and 2018, delegates discussed what needs to be in place for effective return and reintegration partnerships. Conversations focused on the sending and receiving perspective as well as the importance to consider countries who are at the same time countries of origin, transit and destination. Organisations operational in the field share their perspectives and lessons learned from ongoing and previous activities held.

The whole-of-government approach as well as the importance of mapping stakeholders active in the area of return and reintegration were highlighted. More significantly, trust-building was mentioned as a key ingredient for improved cooperation through effective and regular communication. Involvement of other actors such as the private sector and diaspora organisations when discussing reintegration were also raised. Finally, regular monitoring and evaluation of new initiatives for sustainable reintegration was also one of the points raised in the active break-out session discussions.

To conclude the meeting, participants were invited to think of further activities to be implemented and/or prioritised in the upcoming years for genuine return partnerships. The Chairmanship and Secretariat took note of these for future activities.