The Budapest Process is an inter-regional dialogue on migration stretching from Europe to the Silk Routes region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) also covering Europe's Eastern neighbours, the Western Balkans and Central Asia.
Founded in 1993 the Budapest Process is Europe's biggest and longest-standing dialogue on migration. It has built up a far-reaching network among participating and observer states as well as a wide thematic coverage. The Budapest Process also offers practical support to Member States within the Silk Routes Project by offering a platform for learning and training between peers as well as for facilitating concrete project development and cooperation.
The Budapest Process provides a platform for dialogue and operational cooperation for 55 governments as well as a number of regional and international organisations.
Participating and Observer States
Participating and observer states are all European Union Member States, as well as Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Serbia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.
European, international and regional organisations
The organisations and entities which participate actively and on a regular basis in the Budapest Process are: (European level) Council of Europe, European Asylum Support Office EASO, European Commission, European External Action Service EEAS, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex; (International level) International Centre for Migration Policy Development ICMPD, International Labour Organisation ILO, International Organization for Migration IOM, United Nations Development Programme UNDP, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC; (Regional level) Bali Process, Economic Cooperation Organization ECO, Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative MARRI, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation BSEC, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe OSCE.
The Budapest Process is chaired by Turkey, with Hungary as the Co-Chair. They ensure that the dialogue moves forward, that it stays politically anchored and that relevant issues are discussed at the appropriate levels. Representatives from member governments meet as the main decision-making body which steers the Budapest Process through annual Senior Officials meetings. This work covers governance and strategy related matters in most cases. The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) serves as the Budapest Process Secretariat and provides strategic, content and administrative support.
The Budapest Process has convened six Ministerial Conferences and continuously widened its geographical and thematic scope as a regional migration policy dialogue. The most recent Ministerial Conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey in February 2019.
Five Key Commitments
At the 6th Ministerial Conference in February 2019, The Istanbul Commitments and the Call for Action - a five-year plan (2019-2024) - were adopted. The Istanbul Commitments is a political declaration which includes five key commitments to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration along the Silk Routes. These cover: 1) Partnership; 2) Comprehensive Migration Governance; 3) International Human Rights; 4) Support and Solidarity; 5) Knowledge.
Six Priority Goals
The six priority goals which are listed in the action plan “the Call for Action” are to: 1) Prevent and counteract irregular migration, as well as facilitate the return and readmission of irregular migrants; 2) Better organise and improve conditions for legal migration and mobility; 3) Support integration of migrants and counteract phenomena of discrimination, racism and xenophobia; 4) Strengthen the positive impact of migration on development; 5) Prevent and combat human trafficking; and 6) Promote international protection.
The Budapest Process is funded by the European Union (EU) and bilateral contributions. Regular donors over recent years include Turkey, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, Norway and Finland.
Currently, the European Union is the biggest donor to the dialogue through project funding.
Sedef Dearing is Head of the Budapest Process Secretariat and Regional Coordinator for the Silk Routes (covering Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), which is based in Vienna, Austria.
Improving Migration Management in the Silk Routes
Launched in August 2017 - and running until August 2021 - “Improving Migration Management in the Silk Routes” is an EU-funded project which aims at maximising the development potential of migration and mobility within the Silk Routes region and towards major labour receiving countries. This project is comprised of the Silk Routes Facility, MIGRA.P activity, Migrant Resource Centres, and Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation (RELEC). The project is also directly supporting the Budapest Process as a dialogue on migration with its focus on the Silk Routes countries.
The Silk Routes Facility provides technical assistance and project grants to improve migration management frameworks. The MIGRA.P initiative sees the Budapest Process working with governments and other stakeholders towards ensuring more and better protection of migrant workers. The Migrant Resource Centres are established in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Pakistan. These provide outgoing and potential migrants with information and counselling on overseas employment, education abroad, skills development, their rights and protection measures. Regional Law Enforcement Cooperation (RELEC) takes the form of regional cooperation among the Silk Routes countries and with their European counterparts to address irregular migration, migrant smuggling and human trafficking.
Integrated Border Management (IBM)
The IBM Silk Routes project supports the development of intra-agency, inter-agency and international cooperation across six main areas: 1) Legal and regulatory framework; 2) Institutional framework; 3) Procedures; 4) Human resources and training; 5) Communication and information exchange; 6) Infrastructure and equipment.
The overall objective is to support the countries of the Silk Routes region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan) in building more effective and efficient border management systems, using as a blueprint the IBM concept and its developments, reflecting its principles and main components and translating them to the specific situations and realities of partner Silk Routes countries.
The project started on 1 January 2019 and runs until 31 December 2022. The main target groups of the Action are the national and local government authorities of the Silk Routes Countries with responsibilities in the area of border management, as well as non-governmental actors active in the field of border management and the local border communities.
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