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


Type: Inter-regional forum on migration (regions covered: Horn of Africa and Europe)

Formal association with regional or multi-stakeholder organization: African Union Commission (AUC) and European Commission (EC)

Established: 2014


The Khartoum Process, primarily focused on preventing and fighting migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings, is an established regional dialogue for enhanced cooperation on migration and mobility and regional collaboration between countries of origin, transit and destination regarding the migration routes 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 smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings 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 fight against migrant smuggling has been part of EU policies tackling irregular migration for more than a decade. In 2002, the EU adopted a legal framework on smuggling, composed of a Directive defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence and a Framework Decision strengthening the penal framework for these offenses. In May 2015, the Commission adopted an EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling designed to transform smuggling from a 'high profit, low risk' activity into a ‘high risk, low profit’ business, while ensuring the full respect and protection of migrants' human rights. EU actions to fight criminal networks of smugglers are a way to prevent the exploitation of migrants by criminals and to act as a disincentive to irregular migration. The European Commission's approach to trafficking in human beings begins from a gender and human rights perspective and focuses on prevention, prosecution of criminals and protection of victims. This is reflected in 21 March 2011 EC Directive on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims, and replacing Council Framework Decision, 2012 EU Strategy towards the eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings and 2005 EU Action Plan on best practices, standards and procedures for combating and preventing trafficking in human beings. Additionally, the Khartoum Process is anchored in the EU-Africa Action Plan on Migration and Mobility 2014-2017

Khartoum Process Member 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.

Current Thematic Focus

  • Combatting human trafficking
  • Combatting migrant smuggling
  • Acting as a mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan, including its 5 priority domains as follows:
  • Development benefits of migration and addressing root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement;
  • Legal migration and mobility;
  • Protection and asylum;
  • Prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and
  • Return, readmission and reintegration.

Member States (41 States, thereof 30 European countries and 11 African countries)

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

Current Chair (2018): Italy
Past chairs: (2017) Ethiopia, (2016) United Kingdom. The first chairmanship at the establishment of the Process was Egypt in 2015.

Observer Organizations (referred by the Khartoum Process as “Cooperating organizations”)
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, Netherlands), five African countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan), the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the African Union Commission. 

The Secretariat is jointly managed by the African Union Commission and the European Commission, with technical and logistical assistance provided by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) through the EU- and SDC-funded “Support to the Africa-EU-Africa Migration and Mobility Dialogue (MMD)” Programme, which runs from 2014 to 2019.


May 9, 2018, Nairobi, Kenya, Senior Officials’ Meeting
May 8, 2018, Nairobi, Kenya, Steering Committee Meeting
December 7, 2017, Rome, Italy, Senor Officials’ Meeting
December 4, 2017, Sudan, Thematic Meeting on the root causes of migration
November 8-9, 2017, Luxor, Egypt, Thematic Meeting on Trafficking and Smuggling of People Focusing on Unaccompanied Minors
November 22-23, 2017, Khartoum, Sudan, Thematic meeting on development benefits of migration and addressing root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement
July 5-6, 2017, UK, Thematic meeting on combatting migrant smuggling and human trafficking in the Horn of Africa
May 24, 2017, Berlin, Germany, Thematic Meeting on International Protection and Asylum (
April 6, 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Senior Officials’ Meeting
April 5, 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Steering Committee Meeting
February 8-9, 2017, St. Julian's, Malta, Joint Rabat Process and Khartoum Process Senior Officials Meeting on State of Play Implementation of the Joint Valletta Action Plan
December 16, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Senior Officials Meeting
May 24-25, 2016, Khartoum, Sudan, Thematic Meeting on People Smuggling
24 November 2015, London, UK, Senior Officials Meeting of the Khartoum Process (EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative)
April 23-24, 2015, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Steering Committee Meeting of the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process)
November 28, 2014, Rome, Italy, Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process