CIS Conference

Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced Persons, other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Relevant Neighboring Countries (CIS Conference)

Type: Regional consultative process on migration (Region: Europe and Central Asia)

Formal association with regional or multi-stakeholder organization: None.

Established:  1996

The CIS conference was established in 1996, following a United Nations General Assembly Resolution to convene a regional conference to address the problems of refugees, displaced persons, other forms of involuntary displacement and returnees in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and relevant neighboring States. IOM, UNHCR and OSCE / ODIHR jointly organized the conference which was held in Geneva. Participants adopted a Program of Action, with a follow-up process which was designed to last five years. The objectives of the process were to provide a forum for exchange for CIS states on migration challenges in the region; to review the types of migration movements in the region and to establish categories of concern;and currency an integrative strategy for the region.

In 2000, IOM and UNHCR conducted a joint assessment of the CIS Conference to provide a report, outlining structural issues to still be addressed to implement the Program of Action. As a result, the fifth meeting of the Steering Group of the CIS Conference Process decided to extend the follow-up by a further five years. In 2005, the it was decided to conclude the CIS Conference. The CIS Conference is no longer active.


  • Refugees;
  • IDPs and persons in refugee-like situations;
  • Epatriates;
  • Ecological migrants;
  • Migration management (combating illegal migration and trafficking, border management);
  • Migrants' rights,
  • Return and reintegration; and  
  • Population / demography.  

12 Members

Armenia Moldova
Azerbaijan Russian Federation
Belarus Tajikistan
Georgia Turkmenistan
Kazakhstan Ukraine
Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan

36 Interested States

Australia Japan
Austria Latvia
Belgium Lithuania
Bulgaria Mongolia
Canada The Netherlands
China Norway
The Czech Republic Pakistan
Denmark Poland
Estonia Portugal
Finland Romania
France Slovakia
Germany Spain
Greece Sweden
Holy See Switzerland
Hungary Turkey
Iceland  United Kingdom
Ireland  United States of America

Partner and Observer Institutions
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE / ODIHR)
Other international organizations, NGOs and entities

Working Groups
In June 1999, a Working Group was established to address the issue of the follow-up to the 1996 Conference. The WG comprised of representatives of the CIS, other interested states and parties, relevant international organizations, and non-governmental organization (NGO) and meet three times in the year 2000.

Following the fifth Steering Group Meeting, four Expert Working Groups were established, corresponding to the newly adopted thematic foci of the conference. These WG brought together representatives from governments in the CIS region, NGO representatives, relevant experts and interested parties throughout the CIS and abroad. Each Expert Working Group was supported and facilitated by a lead agency.

Steering Group
The process was led by a steering group, composed of interested countries and international organizations.

UNHCR, IOM and OSCE / ODHIR acted as joint secretariat for the Conference and provided technical support to the Follow-up Process

May 26-28, 2004, Minsk, Belarus, High-Level Review Meeting on “Refugees, Migration and Protection”
July 13-14, 2000, Geneva, Switzerland, Fifth Meeting of the Steering Group of the CIS-Conference
May 30- 31, 1996, Geneva, Switzerland, CIS-Conference

CIS General Assembly Resolution 1995
CIS General Assembly Report 1996
CIS General Assembly Resolution 2002
CIS General Assembly Report 2003
CIS General Assembly Report 2005
CIS Declaration POA Regional Conference 1996
IOM and UNHCR Assessment Report of the Conference Process (1996-2000)
Report of the Fifth Meeting of the Steering Group
CIS 2004 High-Level Review Meeting on “Refugees, Migration and Protection” - Chair's Conclusions
CIS 2005 Closing Statement
Refugee and human rights protection in countries of the CIS with emphasis on Central Asia and Kazakhstan
Refugee policy and Eurasia - the CIS Conference and EU Enlargement Process 1996-2005