In the past months, important meetings have taken place and major milestones are still ahead: In the second half of 2022, there will be a varied programme of thematic exchanges and high-level meetings of the Rabat Process, culminating with the 6th Ministerial Conference between 13 and 14 December 2022, which will bring together ministers in charge of migration and development affairs in Rabat Process partner countries. This year’s programme of the Rabat Process led by Spain as Chair of the Rabat Process, reflects Spain’s vision for the Dialogue and the importance it places on resuming face-to-face meetings, after a long period of virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four thematic meetings and one workshop to address Domains 1, 2 and 4

The programme for 2022 foresees a total of four thematic meetings and a workshop to address objectives contained in different Domains of the Marrakesh Action Plan, such as Domain 1 (migration and development), Domain 2 (legal migration) and Domain 4 (irregular migration).

The first thematic meeting this year, held 12-13 May in Madrid, focused on cooperation in the area of migration and development (Domain 1) and the role of actors such as African youth, women and diasporas. Another thematic meeting on Domain 1 will be held in Brussels 3-4 November with a focus on remittances.

Domain 2 (legal migration) will be addressed by a thematic meeting on 29 and 30 September in Malaga, Spain. The meeting on legal migration is based on Spain’s desire to pursue the important work started on this topic in December 2021 with the “Virtual Thematic Meeting on Legal Migration with focus on Labour Migration”, co-chaired by Portugal and Cabo Verde. The focus on legal migration is also in line with policy developments at continental level, as reflected in the outcome document of the Sixth European Union - African Union Summit of February 2022, which called for “an enhanced and reciprocal partnership for migration and mobility” and aims to further develop “[…] pathways for legal migration opportunities […] between both continents and within Africa”.

The thematic meeting on domain 4 (irregular migration) will focus specifically on border management and cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination and is set to take place on 5 and 6 July in Madrid. In addition, a workshop on migrant smuggling and the future of mixed migration was organised in collaboration with the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC), on 22nd June in Brussels.

To complement these thematic exchanges, the Rabat Process Secretariat will continue to support the Dialogue with communications and knowledge building activities.

Spain’s vision: maximising the development potential of migration, minimising the risks of irregular migration and strengthening partnerships

Spain’s choice to focus particularly on the topics of migration and development and irregular migration are in line with their desire to maximise the positive effects of migration for development and minimise the risks.

“In Spain we deeply believe in the positive effects and opportunities of migration, but also in the need to maximise its benefits and minimise the challenges involved in it, based on the cross-cutting principle of respect for human rights and human dignity.”
- Video interview with José Luis Pardo, Ambassador for Migration at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain

Spain is also opening the Rabat Process up to exchange with similar fora at regional and global levels, such as the Khartoum Process and the framework of the Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration (GCM):

  • The Khartoum Process invites Rabat Process partners to participate in a thematic meeting in Addis Ababa between the 5th and 7th October, focusing on climate change. The Rabat Process addressed the topic earlier this year with a briefing paper on climate-related events and environmental stressors’ roles in driving migration in West and North Africa, elaborated together with the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC).
  • The Secretariat also contributed to the International Migration Review Forum 2022 that took place in the framework of GCM, by producing a document with an overview of Rabat Process activities since the inception of the GCM, linked to its objectives.

6th Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development - Cadiz, Spain

A major milestone will be the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Rabat Process, scheduled to take place from 13 to 14 December 2022 in Cadiz, Spain. Leading up to the event, there will be a Senior Officials’ Meeting on 19 and 20 October in Madrid and another one back-to-back with the Ministerial Conference in Cadiz, as well as several Steering Committee meetings throughout the year. The Ministerial Conference will bring together ministers in charge of migration and development affairs in Rabat Process partner countries; they will meet to exchange views and discuss the Marrakesh Action Plan – the multiannual cooperation programme that guides the activities of the Rabat Process and its partners.

Since the adoption of the current Marrakesh Action Plan in 2018, the international policy landscape has significantly evolved, with the adoption of major policy documents such as the Global Compact on Migration (2018), the European Union’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum (2020), and the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework “NDICI – Global Europe” for the period of 2021 to 2027. The political and security context has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel and more recently, the war in Ukraine, all of which have had significant effects on migration and mobility. Ministers will discuss and reflect on these recent developments during the Ministerial Conference, which will also be the opportunity for them to renew their commitment to the Dialogue and the Marrakesh Action Plan.