EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process)

Established in 2014


The Khartoum Process aims at establishing a continuous dialogue for enhanced cooperation on migration and mobility, while identifying and implementing concrete projects to address trafficking in human beings and the smuggling of migrants and thus giving new impetus to the regional collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination regarding the route between the Horn of Africa and the European Union (EU). 
The Khartoum Process is a high level, inter-continental political process that harmonizes existing African Union (AU) and EU-led components.  On the African Union side, the efforts against trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants are guided by the African Union Migration Policy Framework for Africa, the Ouagadougou Action Plan, and the AU Commission Initiative against Trafficking.  The African Union endorsed the AU Horn of Africa Initiative (AU-HOAI) on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants by AU Assembly Declaration (Assembly/AU/Dec.6 (XXV)) on Migration) in June 2015. 
On the European Union side, the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) published in 2011 provided for the possibility of establishing a regional dialogue and cooperation process in the Horn of Africa/East Africa.  The Commission's approach to trafficking begins from a gender and human rights perspective and focuses on prevention, prosecution of criminals and protection of victims. This is reflected in the new Directive on trafficking in human beings , which was adopted on 21 March 2011.  The EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings  was adopted in 2012. This updated the 2005 EU Action Plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings. The strategy is a set of concrete and practical measures to be implemented over the next five years. These include prevention, protection, support of the victims and prosecution of the traffickers as well as the establishment of national law enforcement units specialised in human trafficking and the creation of joint European investigation teams to prosecute cross-border trafficking cases.
Additionally, the Khartoum Process is anchored in the EU-Africa Action Plan on Migration and Mobility 2014-2017. 
The participating states work to: (1) create a framework for policy and dialogue; (2) share knowledge and experiences to strengthen cooperation with the support of international organizations like IOM, UNHCR, and UNODC; and (3) seek funding opportunities and facilitate resource mobilization to support concrete projects. At the Valletta Summit on migration on 11-12 November 2015, the Khartoum Process has been mandated to monitor the implementation of the initiatives and actions under the Valletta Action Plan for the period of 2016-2018. 


Current Focus

In the first phase of the initiative, activities concentrate on addressing trafficking in human beings as well as smuggling of migrants. 

  • Developing cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to fight against irregular migration and criminal networks, especially through initiatives concerning technical assistance, training and exchange of information and of best practices.
  • Upon request, cooperating with countries in the region to strengthen their capacities in the field of migration management.
  • Assisting countries in implementing prevention measures such as information campaigns aiming at raising awareness on the risks of irregular migration (trafficking of human beings, smuggling).
  • Strengthening the coordination between all services involved in order to tackle human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
  • Identifying and prosecuting criminal networks.
  • Setting up criminal law frameworks or strengthening the existing frameworks and fostering the ratification and the implementation of two additional protocols to the “United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime”: the “Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea” and the “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children”.
  • Supporting the victims of human trafficking and protecting the human rights of smuggled migrants
  • Fostering sustainable development in transit and origin countries in order to tackle the causes of irregular migration.
  • Upon request, assisting countries in setting up and managing reception centres, in ensuring access to asylum procedures and in counselling migrants.
  • Developing a regional framework to facilitate the return of migrants –including voluntary return- and their reintegration in the country of origin.

Participating States
39 Members

Current Chair: Ethiopia
Past Chairs: United Kingdom, Egypt

Next Chair: Ethiopia

Austria Libya
Belgium Lithuania
Bulgaria Luxembourg
Croatia Malta
Cyprus Netherlands
Czech Republic Norway
Denmark Poland
Djibouti Portugal
Egypt Romania
Estonia Slovakia
Finland Slovenia
France Somalia
Germany South Sudan
Greece Sudan
Hungary Spain
Iceland Sweden
Ireland Switzerland
Italy Tunisia
Kenya United Kingdom

Observer States


Observer Institutions

African Union Commission
European Commission
European External Action Service
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Steering Committee

The Khartoum Process is led by a Steering Committee comprised of five EU Member States (Italy, France, Germany, UK, Malta), five partner countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan) as well as the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the AU Commission on the African side. 

The Secretariat provides day to day administrative assistance to the Khartoum Process, including the preparations of the meetings of the Steering Committee and of Senior Officials Meetings. The Secretariat acts on instructions from the Steering Committee and is jointly managed by the African Union Commission and the European Commission.


Recent Meetings

  • Khartoum Process (EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative) Senior Officials’ Meeting, April 6, 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Khartoum Process (EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative) Steering Committee Meeting, April 5, 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Previous Meetings

  • Steering Committee and Senior Officials’ Meetings, Addis Ababa, 15 and 16 December 2016
  • Technical Meeting on Visa Facilitation Rabat/Khartoum Process, Cabo Verde, 30 November – 1 December 2016
  • Thematic Meeting on returns, readmission and reintegration, Addis Ababa, 19-20 October 2016  
  • 2nd Informal Working Group (iLWG), Rome, 8 July 2016  
  • Thematic Meeting on People Smuggling, Khartoum, 24-25 May 2016
  • 1st Informal Working Group (iLWG), Paris, 25 February 2016
  • Senior Officials Meeting of the Khartoum Process (EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative), London, 24 November 2015
  • Steering Committee Meeting, London, 23 November 2015
  • Steering Committee Meeting of the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process), Sharm El-Sheikh, 23 – 24 April 2015
  • Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process, Rome, 28 November 2014

Related Links

Principal Documents

Declaration of the Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process