Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, migration has been rising steadily towards the top of the international political agenda.  This has necessitated for policy dialogue and international collaboration on migration through the establishment of informal, States-owned consultation mechanisms on migration at the regional, inter-regional and the global levels.

Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on migration (ISCM) are state-led, restricted, ongoing information-sharing and policy dialogue forums at the regional, inter-regional or global level for those States with an interest in promoting cooperation in the field of migration.

Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on migration may either be officially associated with formal regional institutions, or be informal and non-binding.  Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on migration may allow participation of non-state stakeholders, e.g. inter-governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations or other civil society representatives, as members or observers.  This interactive, participatory and continuous policy dialogue advances the understanding of the opportunities and challenges of migration, the identification and development of effective policies for addressing those challenges, and ultimately contributes to a process which culminates in a policy decision on migration at the regional, inter-regional or global level and / or is translated into national migration policies. 

Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on migration can be global (see global process on migration), inter-regional (bridging two or more regions) or regional.  The defining characteristic is that they are state-led process dealing with migration.  The global processes on migration are usually facilitated by an intergovernmental organization. 

Organization Chart

Regional Consultative Processes on migration (RCP) are state-led, ongoing, regional information-sharing and policy dialogue meetings dedicated to discussing specific migration issue(s) in a cooperative manner among States from an agreed (usually geographical) region, and may either be officially associated with formal regional institutions, or be informal and non-binding. 
The term ‘region’ mostly refers to a geographical region, but sometimes can be used also figuratively depending on the scope of the migration issue(s) to be addressed, e.g. to describe a group of predominantly destination or origin countries. 
Often in literature on migration all ISCMs are referred to as RCPs. 

Inter-Regional Forums on Migration (IRFs) are state-led, repeated, information-sharing and policy dialogue meetings on migration usually connecting two or more regions.  IRFs may either be officially associated with formal inter-regional institutions, or be informal and non-binding.
Often any process on migration, be it regional or inter-regional, is referred to as an RCP.  However, since the number of inter-state-consultation mechanisms and the frequency of their meetings have grown, it is important to distinguish them as regional (RCPs) and inter-regional (IRFs) processes on migration. 

Global Processes on Migration are policy dialogue forums on migration at the global level.  They may discuss overall migration governance at the global level, or be theme specific and look at the interlinkages between migration and other areas, e.g. development, labour, etc.  Global processes on migration include the IOM plenary consultations and discussions on migration, the Global Meetings of RCPs and IRFs, the UN High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, the GFMD, and targeted migration consultations and discussions in global bodies that have specific responsibilities over certain elements of migration through international conventions and protocols (i.e., International Labour Organization (ILO), for migrant labour convention; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for refugee and asylum convention and protocol; and UNODC, for transnational crime convention and its protocols on smuggling and trafficking). 

IOM’s Role in Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration

Contributing to increased dialogue between migration stakeholders at bilateral, regional and global levels is one of IOM’s strategic priorities in the area of migration policy. 

IOM’s engagement in Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration aims at providing evidence-based technical support, informing and influencing policy-making in the field of migration governance, advancing multi-lateral understanding and action on migration issues and contributing to practical solutions to contemporary migration challenges. 

IOM has been facilitating contact and exchange among RCPs/IRFs as well as between RCPs/IRFs and other actors/fora, such as the global processes on migration, civil society and other international organizations.
IOM has implemented numerous projects that support the activities of various Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration. 

Research on ISCMs

IOM has conducted research and produced publications on migration processes.  The most notable are the following:

IOM participation in ISCMs

IOM can participate in Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration as a participant or observer.  At the invitation of the participating governments IOM provides technical and administrative secretariat services to Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration or implements projects in support of the secretariats. 

IOM is invited to participate in meetings of almost every ISCM. 

IOM as a participant/member in ISCMs:

  • IOM is a participant in the Bali Process Steering group and in IGC.
  • IOM leads the IDM and coordinates the Global RCP Meetings.

IOM as an observer to ISCMs:

  • Budapest Process
  • IGAD RCP
  • MIDWA
  • Puebla Process (RCM)
  • SACM
  • 5+5 Dialogue on Migration in the Western Mediterranean
  • Asia - EU Dialogue on Labour Migration
  • AFML
  • EU-LAC Bi-regional Dialogue on Migration
  • FIBEMYD
  • Intra-Regional Forum on Migration in Africa
  • Khartoum Process
  • MTM
  • Rabat Process
  • Tripoli Process
  • GFMD
  • UN HLD on International Migration and Development

Secretariat Services to ISCMs:

IOM serves as technical secretariat for the following ISCMs:

  • Almaty Process (together with UNHCR)
  • Colombo Process
  • MIDSA (together with the Southern African Migration Programme)
  • Puebla Process
  • SACM
  • Asia - EU Dialogue on Labour Migration
  • Bali Process (together with UNHCR)
  • Intra-Regional Forum on Migration in Africa (Pan African Forum)
  • IDM
  • as well as the Global RCP Meetings.

Secretariat support is also provided to the following processes having own secretariats:

  • IGAD RCP (in consultation with IGAD Secretariat and AUC)
  • MIDCAS (in consultation with ECCAS)
  • MIDCOM (in consultation with COMESA)
  • MIDWA (in consultation with ECOWAS)
  • 5+5 Dialogue on Migration in the Western Mediterranean (in consultation with the Chair in office and PAM Secretariat)
  • ACP –EU Dialogue on Migration (through the ACP-EU Migration Action, in consultation with ACP Secretariat and EC)
  • EU-LAC Bi-regional Dialogue on Migration (together with International and Ibero-American Foundation of Public Administration and Policies (FIIAPP)

IOM administratively hosts:

  • the IGC secretariat and
  • GFMD Support Unit.

IOM focal point for ISCMs

IOM Headquarters / International Partnerships Division (IPD) coordinates, develops and disseminates IOM’s contributions to Inter-State consultation mechanisms on migration and supports IOM’s participation to Regional (RCPs), Inter-Regional (IRFs) and Global Consultative Processes on Migration as a member, partner, observer or provider of technical expertise or secretariat support according to the participating governments requests.  IPD provides support to IOM regional and country offices on all RCP / IRF related matters by: (i) Collecting and sharing information from all RCPs / IRFs on the dedicated section of IOM website and in the RCP / IRF Newsletter; (ii) Providing an overview of all important RCP / IRF meetings through the RCP / IRF Meetings Calendar; (iii) Facilitating information sharing and cross-fertilization between RCPs / IRFs and their Secretariats. It serves as a global focal point for information and exchange among the various consultative Processes, and to this end also holds regular Global Meetings of RCP Chairs and Secretariats.