Rabat Process

In 2006, the Euro-African Dialogue n Migration and Development (Rabat Process) was founded based on the acknowledgement that finding a response to the increasing number of migrants wishing to cross the Straits of Gibraltar or to reach the Canary Islands, the gateway to Europe, was not exclusively the responsibility of Morocco and Spain. From this arose the need to link the countries of origin, transit and destination affected by the migration routes linking Central, West and Northern Africa with Europe.

A balancing point was sought between the countries which consider development to be a priority to reduce migration flows, and those which see the fight against irregular migration as a priority. In this context, France, Morocco, Senegal and Spain took the initiative to establish the Rabat Process.

In the framework of this Euro-African dialogue, more than 58 countries and organisations gather regularly to discuss questions of migration and development at technical and senior official levels, while Euro-African ministerial conferences define the strategic objectives. Four ministerial conferences have so far taken place, hosted by key stakeholders of the dialogue: 

  • 2006: Morocco, adoption of the Rabat Action Plan
  • 2008: France, adoption of the Paris Cooperation Programme
  • 2011: Senegal, adoption of the Dakar Strategy
  • 2014: Italy, adoption of the Rome Declaration and Programme


The Rome Programme 20142017

The strategic framework in place until 2017, the Rome Programme, took the Rabat Process' balanced approach to migration one step further by introducing international protection as the fourth pillar structuring the dialogue:

  • Organising mobility and legal migration (pillar 1)
  • Improving border management and combating irregular migration (pillar 2)
  • Strengthening the synergies between migration and development (pillar 3)
  • Promoting international protection (pillar 4).

Partner countries are encouraged to implement concrete actions pursuing the objectives of the programme. The Rome Programme promotes the dialogue’s guiding principles as laid out in the is therefore in full accordance with the Dakar strategy and emphasises two priority areas:

  • Strengthening the link between migration and development by emphasising, in particular, the identification of root causes of migration and the role of the diaspora
  • Preventing and fighting against irregular migration and related crimes, with particular attention to border management and return policies, including voluntary return and readmission, in full respect of human rights.

In order to enable Rabat Process partner countries to pursue concrete actions, arising from dialogue, the European Commission is financing the Rabat Process Support Project. More information about the Support Project can be found here.

More information about the Rabat Process and the Rome Programme can be found on the website of the Rabat Process.


The Guiding Principles

Five principles, defined by the Dakar Strategy (2011), translate the common wish of the partner countries to approach migration issues in a balanced way, in the spirit of shared responsibility. 

1. Working dialogue

The Rabat Process is based on dialogue which is orientated towards action.

2. A flexible and balanced approach

The Process is adapted to the development of migratory movements and the needs of the partner countries. It keeps a balance between the three pillars of the process: organising legal migration, combating irregular migration, and reinforcing the synergies between migration and development.

3. A coherent dialogue

The Process represents the main framework for regional dialogue within the Global Approach to Migration between the countries of origin, transit and destination, with regard to migration from West and Central Africa, and monitors the consistency of intergovernmental policies. It is the driving force behind initiatives implemented at bilateral, subregional, regional and multilateral levels by the members of the Rabat Process. 

4. Committed partners

The Process is intergovernmental and is open to a certain number of partner organisations. Civil society, migrant associations, social partners, private sector and local and regional authorities have a crucial part to play in implementing the actions. The Steering Group Committee is responsible for directing and driving the process.

5. A shared responsibility

The partnership's intention is to manage migratory movements between countries of origin, transit and destination in the best way possible and in a spirit of shared responsibility.

This project is funded by the European Union