Regional consultative processes on migration (RCPs) bring together representatives of states, international organizations and, in some cases, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for informal and non-binding dialogue and information exchange on migration-related issues of common interest and concern. The term “regional consultative process” is somewhat misleading, since a number of RCPs have participating states from multiple geographical regions, drawn together by common interest in a specific migration topic or topics.
RCPs address the need identified by states for greater inter-state dialogue and cooperation on migration issues, in recognition of the limitations of ad-hoc and bilateral approaches to managing international migration.
The majority of RCPs address a wide range of issues, such as migration and development, labour migration, social integration of migrants, protection of migrants’ rights, smuggling and trafficking in persons, migration and health, and trade and migration. These diverse agendas reflect governments’ growing recognition that migration significantly affects other major public policy areas, and vice versa.
While the first RCP was established in 1985, the majority of RCPs have emerged since 1995, often as a result of specific events or developments – for example, the fall of the Soviet Union, sudden major influxes of irregular migrants, and concerns over security linked to the events of 9/11.
RCPs are now present in virtually all regions of the world.
IOM's Role in RCPs
IOM participates in most of the major RCPs as a member, partner or observer; provides secretariat-type services for many of the major RCPs; and contributes to RCPs in other ways at the request of participating governments (for example, through research and information dissemination, policy advice, capacity-building and technical cooperation, and project implementation). Although governments have generally taken the primary lead in establishing RCPs, in some cases, IOM and/or UNHCR have also had a leading role, together with the governments concerned.