Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

During last year’s Workshop on Gathering, Analysis and Sharing of Migration Data in Skopje, several Prague Process states expressed the need to receive in-depth training on managing migration data. Their request resulted in the organisation of a tailor-made training, which took place in Vilnius on 8-10 October 2019. The 2,5-day activity gathered representatives of 16 Prague Process states and Frontex. The training addressed the entire cycle of migration data management, ranging from its collection and analysis to its dissemination, visualisation and data protection issues. Five excellent trainers – on behalf of the Joint Research Centre (European Commission), the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Romania, the National Institute of Statistics of Italy, IOM’s GMDAC and ICMPD – facilitated the individual sessions and various exercises.

After introducing the relevant concepts and definitions, the trainers proposed practical solutions to bridge the gaps between policy, research and data, while acknowledging the challenges arising from a “sea of data”. The session on innovative data collection methods exemplified how Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter can complement official statistics and improve the timeliness and granulation of the ‘usual’ data. Within two group exercises, participants produced a migration report based on a Eurostat sample and tested practical tools for effective data visualisation. The training also revealed that the collection of emigration statistics represented a common challenge among the states present.

The final day of training focused on possible cooperation between the Prague Process and the European Migration Network (EMN). All 16 states agreed that such cooperation could be beneficial but first required discussions at senior level. The states further agreed that information sharing, the invitation to attend EMN events to also share own expertise would bring a benefit. However, the limited human resources available in most Ministries should be accounted for. The sharing of Migration profiles or short info sheets containing key data could be one tool for the Prague Process states to share their data with the EMN. Meanwhile, non-EU states would foremost consider the receipt of the EMN Ad-hoc queries as beneficial. The translation of the EMN Glossary into Russian was identified as a possible first concrete step ahead.

This training represented the fifth activity of the Prague Process Training Academy. It simultaneously supported the main objective of the Prague Process Migration Observatory - to enhance information sharing among the Parties and better inform policy makers and experts from the migration authorities in their decisions. Most states present in Vilnius stated that the organisation of further trainings and workshops on migration data management would be most useful.