Chad and Switzerland, reference countries for protection and asylum, successfully piloted activities in 2021 that addressed Domain 3 of the Marrakesh Action Plan. Two roundtables in July and October were at the core of their work as reference countries. The related outcome documents that trace all the activities, results and next steps are now publicly available.

These results also fed into the discussions at the Senior Officials’ Meeting in Malabo and led to decisions to focus, in the future, on certain sub-themes and vulnerable groups of migrants (e.g. unaccompanied minors and missing migrants) within the scope of Domain 3.

What is the “reference country” system? The reference country system aims to encourage the partners of the Rabat Process to lead the implementation of certain priorities of its strategic framework, named the Marrakesh Action Plan. It is designed to strengthen partners' sense of ownership and involvement in the Dialogue. The reference countries meet regularly with the Steering Committee.

Outcomes of the roundtables

The two roundtables focused particularly on unaccompanied minors (UAMs), an issue that is constantly in the spotlight. These roundtables were the first activities ever to be led by reference countries and targeted a restricted group of countries that were selected - for the first time ever – based on an expression of interest, their knowledge of protection and asylum and the practical application of national policies and legislation in these areas.

Chad and Switzerland worked together with UNHCR and the Rabat Process Secretariat to develop a programme that addressed the protection of unaccompanied minors from all angles:

Virtual Roundtable: "Asylum procedure for unaccompanied minors"

The first event, a virtual roundtable on 7th July 2021, was divided into two panel discussions which invited Rabat Process partner countries to share their experiences on the protection and assistance of UAMs (session 1) and age determination of UAMs (session 2). 37 participants joined the online roundtable, representing 13 Rabat Process partner countries and 3 international organisations.

Read more about the meeting in the outcome document.

Roundtable “Protection and asylum: risks, support and durable solutions, in particular for unaccompanied minors"

On 13th October 2021, another roundtable, hosted by Switzerland, brought together 34 participants in Geneva, Switzerland, representing 7 European and 6 African countries, the EU as well as technical experts (ICRC, ICMPD, IOM and UNHCR). The day was broken down into different sessions, corresponding to the phases of a migratory journey, namely “Along the road”, which addressed the protection of UAMs along migration routes as well as the topics of family separation and missing migrants, and “On arrival” which focused on local integration in the destination country.

Read more about the meeting in the outcome document.

Video: Reference country perspectives on protection and asylum

Switzerland and Chad also participated in the production of a short video to explain what it means to be a reference country within the Rabat Process and what approach they chose in order to address protection and asylum.


See the activities at-a-glance

Progress Paper on Domain 3 maps all the work carried out and the results achieved by Switzerland and Chad (click to open pdf):

Prioritising the Marrakesh Action Plan

As a result of these activities, it was agreed that the Dialogue would henceforth concentrate on three sub-themes within the scope of Domain 3, namely

1) Unaccompanied minors and their protection along the migration routes
2) Family separation and missing migrants
3) Local integration as a durable solution

It was suggested that these priorities be implemented through future activities such as a roundtable and study visit in Chad (looking at how local integration has been developed to offer refugees genuine durable solutions) or a thematic workshop on missing migrants.


Outcome document Virtual Roundtable "Asylum procedure for unaccompanied minors", 7th July 2021
Outcome document Roundtable “Protection and asylum: risks, support and durable solutions, in particular for unaccompanied minors", 13th October 2021
Progress paper: Domain 3 of the Marrakesh Action Plan “Protection and Asylum”
Conclusions - Rabat Process Senior Officials’ Meeting Malabo 2021

Impressions of the roundtable in Geneva, 13th October 2021