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An Assessment of Principal Regional Consultative Processes on Migration

image of An Assessment of Principal Regional Consultative Processes on Migration

The present study considers fourteen of the principal Regional Consultative Processes on Migration, spanning most regions of the globe. Based primarily on interviews with government officials and other actors involved in these processes, the Study asks what impact Regional Consultative Processes on Migration have had on migration governance and on fostering greater confidence in inter-State cooperation on migration. This Report sets out with a broad definition of migration governance. It identifies three distinct phases of the governance processes and analyses the contributions Regional Consultative Processes on Migration have made to each of these. The Study then proceeds to draw general lessons and recommendations from the experiences of different processes in terms of their working style and focus.

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Conclusion

As this report has argued, RCPs can produce an impact during various phases of the migration governance process. RCPs have shaped agendas and concretized the issues, built consensus and helped develop common positions. The key contributions of RCPs reside in these stages of the governance process, whereby states are “socialized” into a culture of cooperation, making consultation and exchange among states a more automatic feature of the governance process. Often, an absence of trust and a lack of understanding of the perspectives of other states were the primary impediments to cooperation. RCPs counteracted these problems by creating depoliticized and non-binding spaces for interaction. RCPs have fostered regional networks between individuals and institutions which facilitate the exchange of information and the implementation of concrete activities. By breaking down barriers between states (and incidentally also between ministries and departments responsible for migration-related matters within a country), RCPs have also – explicitly or implicitly – led to a de facto harmonization of positions (even when this had not been the intention at the outset). In some cases, participating governments have utilized this potential of RCPs to generate common political positions and speak with a single voice vis-à-vis other regions or fora, thus giving their own individual national interests greater weight. In the final outcome, RCPs can indeed shape public policy, laws and practices on migration at national and regional level and support their implementation. It is, however, more tenable to conclude that RCPs play a complementary role, rather than determining policy in any direct and uni-causal way.

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