Migration and Sustainable Development in The Gambia

Rabat Process (Euro-African Dialogue)

Also known as the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development, the Rabat Process brings together more than 60 countries from West, Central, North Africa and Europe, as well as the European Commission (EC) and the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), for open discussions on key migration and mobility issues.

The Rabat Process as a platform for dialogue and policymaking on mobility, migration and development. The platform emerged in 2006 both African and European countries recognised the linkages between, under-development and irregular migration. The dialogue takes the form of Thematic Meetings, Senior Officers’ Meetings, and Ministerial Conferences.

The current strategic focus (2015-2017) is based on four pillars: organising mobility and legal migration; improving border management and combating irregular migration; strengthening the synergies between migration and development; and promoting international protection. These priorities were agreed at the Fourth Euro-African Ministerial Conference on Migration and Development in Rome in 2014. (The Rabat Process is also mandated to monitor the implementation of the Joint Valletta Action Plan for the period 2016-18).

As a proportion of population, The Gambia has the highest level of irregular migrants using the western Saharan-Mediterranean route to Europe. This was caused by the economic stagnation and political repression of two decades of dictatorship. The Rabat Process is embarking on developing its next multi-annual cooperation programme, to be adopted at the Ministerial Conference of 2018. At the same time, the democratically elected coalition government of The Gambia seeks to reduce irregular migration and optimise linkages between migration and sustainable development.

Given this background, in February 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs set as a priority: “active participation in the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (Rabat Process), with offer to take up role as chair. The Gambia shall also participate in the implementation of the Joint Valletta Action Plan”. In June 2017, The Gambia formally expressed its interest and communicated its offer to host the 2018 Ministerial Conference.

The next Senior Officers’ Meetings of the rabat Process takes place on 24-25 October 2017 in Accra, Ghana.