Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

In August 2021, the radical Taliban movement took control of almost the entire territory of Afghanistan. Fearing for their lives, many Afghan citizens want to flee the country. The prospect of a migrant influx from Afghanistan greatly concerns the Central Asian countries, since radical Islamists may also cross the border along with the displaced population. To effectively counter and be prepared for different scenarios, the Central Asian countries have been strengthening their borders and enlisting the support of fellow member states of regional associations, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

The new Policy Brief 'Impact of the Situation in Afghanistan on the Central Asian Countries: Implications for Migration' authored by Ulan Nogoibaev describes the situation in Afghanistan and the related policies of the Central Asian countries in terms of possible forced displacements.

The world in the second half of the twentieth century was characterized by rapid population growth. The spirit of the age was well captured in the book, Population Bomb, in which the fear of overpopulation and of demographic growth out of control were going to lead to the collapse of societies. These fears were shown to be exaggerated, largely because overall growth has declined since then.

The new Policy brief authored by Prof. Ronald Skeldon focuses on one of the widely recognized global processes: the decline of human populations. Rapid population growth accompanied development during the second half of the previous century. Demographic decline or the potential for decline will underlie development over the first half of the present century. This Policy Brief draws attention to some of the inherent tensions created by this process and specifically its linkages with migration, both internal and international. It flags up the overall demographic trends across the Prague Process countries, identifies differences across the countries, and highlights policy issues that will need to be addressed.

The Prague Process webinar ‘Demography and migration in the Prague Process region’ with Professor Ronald Skeldon, University of Sussex and Maastricht University, will take place on 30 September 2021 at 10:30 CET.

The webinar will focus on one of the widely recognized global processes: the decline of human populations. Rapid population growth accompanied development during the second half of the 20th century. Demographic decline or the potential for decline will underlie development over the first half of the 21st century. This webinar and the accompanying Policy Brief will draw attention to some of the inherent tensions created by this process and specifically its linkages with migration, both internal and international. The webinar will flag up the overall demographic trends across the Prague Process countries, identify differences amongst them, and highlight policy issues that will need to be addressed, particularly in terms of migration policies.

On 17 September, the Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia held a videoconference with the representatives of the Agency of External Labour Migration of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The discussion focused on the priorities of Uzbekistan in the area of labour migration, pre-departure preparation of labour migrants, experience-sharing in the given area and cooperation within the Prague Process.

The Launch of the Prague Process e-Learning Platform will take place on 23 September 2021, at 10:30-12:00 CET.

This online event is reserved for the Prague Process participating states and representatives of international organisations and EU Agencies actively involved in the Process. It will introduce the content and functionalities of the newly established e-Learning Platform, developed within the Prague Process Training Academy.

The e-Learning Platform provides educational material for independent, self-paced remote learning in English and Russian. In this way, it aims to provide the migration authorities of the Prague Process states with an overly flexible and user-friendly tool to enhance vocational training among their staff. The courses correspond to the six thematic areas of the Prague Process Action Plan.

Upon the request of the Kyrgyz Republic, a study visit to Austria was organised within the Prague Process on 7-9 September 2021. The study visit occurred against the background of a possible mass influx of migrants and refugees from Afghanistan, which could affect the Kyrgyz Republic and the entire Central Asian region. The representatives of the Council for Migration, Compatriots and Diaspora Abroad under the Speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament thus wanted to learn from Austria’s and ICMPD’s experience, following the migration crisis of 2015-2016.

The Prague Process webinar ‘Reporting Migration: the role of media in shaping public opinion and policies on migration’ with Mr. Adalbert Jahnz, European Commission Spokesperson for migration, home affairs and citizenship, Mr. Robert McNeil, Deputy Director, Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, and Mr. Tom Law, Media Policy Adviser, Global Forum for Media Development, took place on 24 June 2021.

The webinar assessed the role of media in shaping public opinion while informing on migration and related policies. It further introduced the Handbook on “Reporting Migration” developed in 2020 within the MOMENTA 2 (Migration Media Training Academy) project, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office. Its main aim had been to improve media migration reporting in the Eastern Partnership countries by helping journalists to create impartial, fact-based reporting in an engaging way.

You may watch the recording in English or in Russian.

We are glad to share the new issue of the Prague Process Quarterly Review covering various developments, events, and activities of the second quarter of 2021.

We hope that you will enjoy reading about the most recent Prague Process activities and some key developments in the region.

Since the release of the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum in September 2020, EU Member States have advanced on several key matters. The second quarter of 2021 saw the adoption of the very first EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration, the launch of the Talent Partnerships Initiative, and the New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration. In June, just shortly before the handover of the Presidency of the EU Council from Portugal to Slovenia, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) was re-established as the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA) with a new enhanced mandate.