After more than a decade of fruitful cooperation in matters of migration and development under the Rabat Process, Ministers and high-level representatives of the European Union and North, West and Central Africa came together in the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development to define a new strategic framework for governing the dialogue in the 2018-2020 period.

The objectives of the Ministerial Conference were to integrate the Rabat Process in the global framework for migration; to reinforce its role in monitoring the Joint Valletta Action Plan (JVAP), and to fulfil the political commitments made during the Summit on migration in November 2015 by implementing a database; and to adopt its new multi-year cooperation programme.

This massive event brought together 28 African countries and 27 European countries and delegates of regional organisations that are partners in the dialogue (ECOWAS and the European Union). The European Union's Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, also participated in the high-level conference. Moreover, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN for international migrations and envoys of UN bodies (UNCCD, HCR, IOM, ILO, UNODC) attended the Fifth Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Marrakesh. Under the auspices of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Conference followed up on the political commitments made by the partner countries in 2006 to construct a global, concerted and balanced approach to managing migrations. 

The Kingdom of Morocco hosted this Conference on 2 May 2018 in Marrakesh, supported by the Kingdom of Belgium, the outgoing Presidency of the dialogue, and Burkina Faso, the incoming Presidency of the Rabat Process. This meeting concluded by adopting the Marrakesh Programme 2018-2020, which included a Political Declaration as well as a targeted and operational Action Plan that is majorly based on a regional approach while still respecting the sovereignty of the States. The five priority domains defined in the said Programme are aligned with the domains of the JVAP in order to maintain consistency and complementarity with it:

  • Domain 1. The benefits of migrations in terms of development and the fight against the root causes of irregular migration and the phenomenon of displaced persons.
  • Domain 2. Legal migration and mobility
  • Domain 3. Protection and asylum
  • Domain 4. The prevention of irregular migration, trafficking of migrants and human trafficking, and fighting against these phenomena
  • Domain 5. Return, readmission and reintegration

Through the new multi-year cooperation programme, the partners of the dialogue also agreed to implement the action plan in an effective and balanced manner, by integrating six cross-disciplinary priorities. The implemented actions will contribute to ensuring the full respect for Human Rights, by granting special attention to questions of gender and the protection of migrants in vulnerable situations (women and children in particular), to the fight against xenophobia, racism and discrimination, and to the collection, analysis and sharing of disaggregated data. Moreover, the action plan will take the regional approach into account in identifying and implementing the actions, as well as an inclusive and multi-party approach to ensure a coordinated and organised management of all dimensions of the migratory phenomenon.

As part of this 5th edition of the Ministerial Conference of the Rabat Process, a commitment mechanism for the Action Plan was implemented, through which the partner countries of the Rabat Process can support one or more actions defined in the said plan. The Secretariat of the dialogue, coordinated by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), will support the implementation of these commitments based on the identified requirements.