The Kingdom of Morocco will host the upcoming Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue for Migration and Development, targeting the adoption of the new strategic framework for the political dialogue, with the aim of confronting shared migration challenges for Africa and Europe.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Mohammed Basri, the Moroccan National Focal Point for the Rabat Process, about the Moroccan Government’s priorities regarding migration, at national and international level, the Sharifian kingdom’s request for membership of the Economic Community of West African States, and Morocco’s role as the host country for the Ministerial Conference.

As jointly a country of origin, transit and reception, the Kingdom of Morocco stands forth as a model of openness, tolerance and concerted management of migratory flows within the region. Mr. Basri, could you tell us about the current priorities of the Kingdom of Morocco in terms of migration at the national level?

In September 2013, Morocco launched a new migration policy that is humanistic in its philosophy, comprehensive in its content, responsible in its approach, and pioneering at the regional level. Several legislative reforms were implemented in this context, including the adoption of a new law in the fight against human trafficking, in August 2016. Two other pieces of legislation are still in the process of adoption, relating respectively to asylum and migration. In addition, two exceptional regularisation campaigns were conducted in 2014 and 2017, covering more than 25,000 people each time. The appeal procedure for the second campaign is still ongoing."

 The Kingdom of Morocco has often been praised for its positive results in terms of migration policy, by the various interlocutors active in the field of migration and refugee protection. This is particularly so in the field of migrant protection and socio-economic integration. What would your recommendations be to the Rabat Process partners, regarding migration management?

By adopting a National Immigration and Asylum Strategy (SNIA), Morocco has moved migration issues from the register of exceptional concerns to that of regular public actions. It is time for all partners in the Rabat Process to recognise themselves as countries of origin, transit and destination, and to develop public policies which are appropriate to their multiple migratory realities."

The 51st Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held on June 4th 2017 gave its agreement-in-principle to Morocco’s membership of the West African alliance. What do you think are the future prospects and possible challenges for the Kingdom of Morocco within this sub-regional organisation as regards migration?

Morocco has long been very strongly implanted in most of the ECOWAS member countries, through its public policies and also through the action of its private enterprises. Membership of the Community should open a new page in Morocco's relations with West African countries, characterised by an unwavering commitment to building a common destiny."

In 2006, the Kingdom of Morocco hosted the first Ministerial Conference of the Rabat Process, where representatives of more than 58 countries launched a dialogue process to establish a common and shared vision on migration and development. Now, once more, the Kingdom of Morocco will host the 5th Ministerial Conference, planned for May 2nd, 2018 in Marrakesh. This Conference will have the triple objective of bringing the Rabat Process into the global context of migration; of strengthening its role in monitoring the Valletta Joint Action Plan and of fulfilling the political commitments taken on the November 2015 Migration Summit, by setting up a database on the subject; and of adopting its new strategic frameworks for the period 2018-2020. What do you think the major visions are that the dialogue should adopt for the upcoming decade?

The first Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development held in Rabat in July 2006 was pioneering in many ways, as it helped bring the countries located along the West African migratory route, in Europe and in Africa, together around the same table for the first time. Since then, the partners of the Rabat Process have been able to develop a common language and a shared understanding of migration issues in the macro-region. The next decade will be the time for the consolidation of the achievements, and for the effective implementation of the commitments, both in terms of migration management and in the field of action for development.”  

The choice of the Kingdom of Morocco by the United Nations to host the International Migration Conference is also a tribute to its humanist migration policy. The work of this Conference will make it possible to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which will mark a real turning point for bringing about a global system of international cooperation that is more responsible in the management of migration and human mobility. What are the principal guiding lines of the Kingdom of Morocco for the International Migration Conference?

The General Assembly of the United Nations has kindly granted Morocco the honour of hosting the Conference for adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. For Morocco, the Compact is a unique historic opportunity for the international community to build a global commitment to managing migration in a humane manner, and for the benefit of all stakeholders."