Given the transnational nature of migration and the wide range of challenges facing States today in migration, Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs) have become important mechanisms for inter-State dialogue and cooperation in the field of migration. Because of the importance of RCPs and the role they play in migration policy development and regional migration governance by States, the Global Commission for International Migration (GCIM or the Global Commission) and IOM consider it important to consult with the principal actors involved in these processes and assess their value and impact. Accordingly, the following persons were invited to participate in a joint GCIM - IOM workshop on Regional Consultative Processes, held on 14 and 15 April 2005: Government officials representing the current Chairs of certain RCPs (and, where appropriate, past or incoming Chairs) and representatives of the Secretariats of certain RCPs (or, where no official Secretariat has been appointed, representatives of entities providing secretariat-type services, eg technical or coordination support). The primary focus of the workshop was to discuss the current activities of RCPs and assess the value and impact of RCPs today for migration management.

As part of the IOM Council's International Dialogue on Migration, IOM convened a roundtable on regional consultative processes in June 2002. Since then, developments in this field have continued to feature at the International Dialogue on Migration. The results of the workshop will be presented to IOM's membership as part of IOM's on-going International Dialogue on Migration.

The workshop was part of GCIM's broad-based migration policy analysis program and related series of consultative activities, which are taking place with a wide array of actors, including governments, international institutions, the corporate sector, trade unions, non-governmental bodies, the media, academia and others. The results of the workshop will be taken into account in the preparation of the Global Commission's Final Report (to be presented to the Secretary-General and UN member States in autumn 2005).


14 April 2005

The workshop began with introductory remarks by Dr. Rolf K. Jenny, the Executive Director of GCIM, and Mr. Robert G. Paiva, the Director of IOM's External Relations Department. Following these remarks, Mr. Frank Laczko, the Head of Research and Publications at IOM, gave a slideshow presentation providing background on the major RCPs. Participants then engaged in an examination of the evolution of RCPs, exploring issues such as the reasons for the recent growth in the number of RCPs, what they are designed to achieve, which stakeholders have taken the lead in their establishment, and their actual and desired geographic coverage. The discussion then shifted to an examination of the similarities and differences between RCPs, both those that are geographically based and those that are thematically organized. Setting the stage for this discussion, representatives of each of the RCPs provided a brief introduction to their RCP. Later in the afternoon, participants explored the achievements, impacts, successes and failures of RCPs.

15 April 2005

The second day began with a continuation of the prior day's discussion on achievements, impacts, successes and failures of RCPs. Following this, participants discussed cross-fertilization between RCPs, examining topics such as past interchanges of ideas and information between RCPs and the benefits of future interchanges. This was followed by a discussion of the relationship of RCPs to economic, political and security institutions and the implications for RCPs of the recent placing of migration on the agenda of many such institutions. The afternoon focused on the future of RCPs, with participants providing their opinions on matters such as the direction in which RCPs are heading, whether common norms and understandings are emerging from them, and what significance they have for the future governance of international migration.

Prior to the workshop, a representative from each of the invited RCPs was asked to prepare a brief note answering the following questions:

  1. In cases where different ministries are involved in dealing with issues discussed in one or more RCPs, how is this work coordinated internally? How could it be coordinated? Is coordination considered beneficial and / or necessary?
  2. To what extent are the RCP's achieving the goals they have set? Is there concrete follow-up - and of what kind - to the consultations and any recommendations they adopt?
  3. Migration has to an increasing extent been put on the agendas of regional inter-governmental organizations, such as the EU, AU, ASEAN and Mercosur. Will RCPs continue to be important fora for informal discussions or will RCPs be subsumed by the work of these organizations? If RCPs continue to have a role, can and should their work link up directly with the work of these more formal regional and political frameworks or organizations?
  4. To what extent is there an interchange of ideas and information between different RCPs? What has been the nature and outcome of that interchange? If no or inadequate interchange exists, would more cross-regional dialogue be beneficial? If so, what purpose would it serve?

A list of documents provided by RCP representatives in response to these questions can be accessed here

Key documents