RCPs provide a venue for governments and other stakeholders to have an informal exchange of views about their respective positions and priorities on migration, and identify migration issues of common interest.
While the first RCP was established in 1985, the majority of RCPs have emerged since 1995, often as a result of specific events or developments – for example, the fall of the Soviet Union, sudden major influxes of irregular migrants, and concerns over security linked to the events of 9/11.
RCPs are now present in virtually all regions of the world.
Through their role in identifying the shared interests of their members, allowing states to better understand each others’ perspectives and needs, RCPs serve to build confidence in inter-state dialogue, information sharing, cooperation and exploration of collaborative approaches on migration issues.
RCPs facilitate the development of practical networks among officials from different governments, and these networks create an environment conducive to bilateral and regional operational cooperation – such cooperation often takes place outside of, and is sustained independent of, the RCP process. RCPs also facilitate the development of networks among officials from different ministries of the same government who may not otherwise meet, and these networks lay the foundation for better cooperation, coordination and coherence on a national basis.
While RCPs are non-binding and not intended to have a normative impact, there is evidence of the contribution of RCPs to migration policy. For example, as a result of their participation in RCPs, certain states have reviewed, created and/or amended migration-related legislation. In several cases, participation in RCPs has also led to regional coherence in migration policy.
In addition to meetings at the ministerial level and/or the level of technical officials, RCPs often hold seminars, capacity-building trainings and workshops, and information campaigns.