More than 20 nations and international organizations agreed Sunday to launch the “Rome Process” to prevent and tackle irregular migration and human trafficking.
The International Conference on Development and Migration, which was Italy’s “foreign policy initiative,” welcomed leaders and top diplomats from the Mediterranean countries, the Middle East and the Gulf.
Hosted by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, participants discussed sustainable solutions in combatting irregular migration and the steps that can be taken to prevent migration at the source.
The participating nations and international organizations including the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank agreed to launch the “Rome Process,” which is “a strategic, comprehensive, inclusive, multi-annual platform for collective action.”
According to the conclusions of the conference released by the Italian government, the Rome Process aims to address the root causes of forced displacement and to prevent and tackle irregular migration and human trafficking across the broader Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Africa.
“Participants committed to work together consistently with a shared and differentiated approach in planning, mobilizing the most appropriate funding, and implementing cooperation initiatives and projects for the development of countries of origin,” the statement noted.
To achieve this through initiatives and projects, parties will focus on socioeconomic development, the fight against poverty and social protection as well as job creation and skills development through quality education.
Efforts on asylum systems and procedures and migration management and collaboration to ensure predictable and equitable burden sharing are also among the agenda items.
“Participants reaffirmed their commitment to address the drivers of irregular migration and forced displacement resulting from state fragility and insecurity, as well as from demographic, economic and environmental trends,” the statement added.
Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Tunisia, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates and the Greek Cypriot administration agreed on the process and the joint action.
– ‘Dialogue between equals, based on mutual respect’
Meanwhile, speaking at the opening of the conference, Meloni said what they are launching today “is above all a dialogue between equals, based on mutual respect.”
“Between Europe and the enlarged Mediterranean, there cannot be a competitive or conflictual relationship, because in reality, the interests are much more convergent than we ourselves recognize,” she added, according to a report by the Italian news agency ANSA.
Meloni also noted that although “Italy and Europe need immigration,” they “cannot send the signal” that those who enter illegally will be rewarded.
Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan was among the attendees of the conference, where he stressed the importance of regional cooperation during a closed-door event to tackle irregular migration, which he described as a common challenge faced by Mediterranean countries, according to diplomatic sources.
To halt the flow of migrants at the source, the Turkish foreign minister said conflicts and economic problems must be eliminated to achieve this.
Fidan also emphasized the importance of sharing the burden of irregular immigrants, calling on all nations to prevent xenophobia and hate crimes and to develop a culture of tolerance for the protection of human dignity.