Interregional Forums on Migration
ISCMs bridging regions are called interregional forums on migration.
Inter-regional forums on migration (IRFs) are State-led, informal and non-binding dialogues on migration usually connecting two or more regions.
The term “interregional forum on migration” was used for the first time in 2008. The distinguishing feature is that these types of ISCMs connect two or more regions.
In the past all consultative processes on migration even if covering more than one region were referred to as “regional consultative processes”. To provide clarity, and to denote the difference between consultative processes in which participating States are located within a specific region and those where participating States are from different regions, they are now (since 2010) referred to as IRFs.
Like other ISCMs, IRFs share information and experiences and seek to find common solutions in the area of migration management and governance. They essentially have the same impact and value-add on migration management and governance as other ISCMs.
Characteristics of IRFs (in addition to main characteristics of all ISCMs on https://www.iom.int/inter-state-consultation-mechanisms-migration)
- Interregional forums on migration (IRFs) bring together Member States from two or more regions.
- Sometimes these Member States join an IRF as a group of States or constituencies of a political and economic union.
- IRFs can be designed to bring together States along a “migration corridor”, such as the 5 + 5 Dialogue on Migration in the Western Mediterranean which comprises ten countries, five on each side of the Mediterranean.
- IRFs may bring together groupings of countries, for example the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC), which is comprised of the “traditional destination” countries.
- IRFs may be created by bringing together countries as regions of a concrete political and economic union and therefore involve in their dialogue these formal entities as well. In such IRFs inter-State discourse goes together with inter-institutional discourse on migration (for example the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process) facilitates dialogue among its 56 member States but also between the EU and the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Similarly the EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process) is a dialogue of 40 States but it also facilitates EU-AU policy dialogue. This has allowed the Rabat Process and the Khartoum Process to be chosen to do the monitoring of the Joint Valletta Action Plan (JVAP)).
- IRFs may have a more varied constituency with their Member States representing different regions at times representing different ends of a migration corridor (destination countries and countries of origin).
- Due to this non-homogeneousity, member States in an IRF may have different, at times conflicting policy interests. The larger and varied membership, substantive differences in terms of migration dynamics, interests and desired outcomes make it more difficult to reach consensus and IRF discussion and documents may be even more informal and non-binding than those of RCPs comprised of countries in regions with high regional integration.
- Given that they consist of States in different geographic regions, the scope of their impact is significantly increased. IRFs are instrumental in shaping convergent approaches to the same migration issue across the regions. Their discussion benefit from effective practices of different regions and they facilitate discourse aimed towards interregional problem-solving.
IRFs share information and experiences and seek to find common solutions in the area of migration and the migration-development context. They thus also offer useful good practices and “lessons learned”. The IRFs address various areas of migration management: labor migration, migration and development, irregular migration, migrant's rights, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, etc. While it may be difficult to directly link IRFs to formal agreements at either regional or global levels, IRFs continue to play a significant role in enhancing policy coherence between participating States as well as at a broader global level, which often pave the way for subsequent formal agreements.
The largest active IRF is the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process) bringing together 108 States from Africa and Europe.
The smallest active IRF is the 5+5 Dialogue on Migration in Western Mediterranean with 10 Member States from Europe and Africa.
The oldest currently active IRFs are the Inter-Governmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) [the latter is the oldest ISCM established in 1985] and the Budapest Process [established in 1993]. The most recently established IRF is the Pan-African Forum on migration (established in 2015). Another IRF, the Migration Dialogue for the Indian Ocean Commission Countries (MiDIOCC), is in the process of formalization in 2020.
IRFs addressing a concrete area of migration management include the Bali Process (with 45 Member States from Europe, Asia, Americas and the Middle East) dedicated to countering migrant smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (bringing together 18 Member States from Asia and the Middle East, 12 out of which constitute another RCP, the Colombo Process) addressing labour mobility.
Other IRFs, like the Budapest Process (bridging Europe and Asia), Rabat Process (Europe and Africa) or the Pan-African Forum on Migration have a quite wide thematic focus.
IRFs per region
Currently active IRFs
Africa - Europe
5 + 5 Dialogue on Migration in the Western Mediterranean
EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process)
Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process)
Asia - Europe
Europe - Asia - Americas
Inter-Governmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC)
Europe - Asia - Americas - the Middle East
Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime
Africa – Europe
Migration Dialogue for the Indian Ocean Commission Countries (MiDIOCC)
Dormant IRFs (per region)
Africa – Asia -- Americas – Europe
African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (EU) Dialogue on Migration (ACP-EU MD)
Africa - Europe – the Middle East
Mediterranean Transit Migration (MTM)
EU-Caucasus Cluster Process
Soderkoping Process / Eastern Partnership Panel on Migration, Mobility and Integrated Border Management
IOM's Role in IRFs
At the request of participating States, IOM participates in several IRFs in various capacities, either as member or observer organization, as secretariat, and as technical expert - undertaking research studies, implementing agreed project activities, providing policy advice and carrying out capacity building activities.
IOM is a member organization of the Bali Process, the Budapest Process and the IGC.
IOM is an Observer organization of the 5+5 Dialogue on Migration in the Western Mediterranean; the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process); the European Union - Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process); Ibero-American Forum on Migration and Development (FIBEMYD); the Ibero-American Network of Migration Authorities (RIAM); Abu Dhabi Dialogue; Pan-African Forum on migration (PAFOM), as well as the Migration Dialogue for the Indian Ocean Commission Countries (MiDIOCC).
IOM serves as the technical secretariat to the Ibero-American Network of Migration Authorities (RIAM), is the de facto secretariat of the Bali Process and administratively hosts the IGC Secretariat.