Fifth meeting | ASIA DIALOGUE ON FORCED MIGRATION | September 2017



Key documents for the fourth ADFM meeting:

The fifth meeting of the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration (ADFM) took place on 10-12 September 2017 in Manila, the Philippines, as the humanitarian and security crisis unfolded in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

ADFM members intended to consolidate progress with the Bali Process and ASEAN on the region’s capacity to respond to mass displacement. Given the situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh, it was clear those discussions could not occur in the abstract. Information supplied to the ADFM at the time of our meeting confirmed that approximately 300,000 people had crossed the border into Bangladesh from Myanmar since conflict broke out in Rakhine State on 25 August.

There was strong consensus that the new Bali Process emergency response mechanism should be triggered in response to the situation. The ADFM wrote to the Bali Process Co-Chairs to convey this view formally. Triggering the mechanism could achieve several important objectives. First and foremost, it would ensure there is an ‘honest broker’ with existing authority and legitimacy to share information and coordinate policy responses in the region.

Here is the ADFM media release on the issue. Here also is a front-page article in the Jakarta Post on the issue.

ADFM members also urged ASEAN to work to de-escalate the situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh and to be part of a collective and coordinated response.

The ADFM continued to advance proposals to address trafficking in persons in the region. The ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (ACTIP), which entered into force in March 2017, is among the most significant legal instruments that the ASEAN Summit has agreed to. The Bohol Work Plan, developed to drive the implementation of ACTIP, is the first ever ASEAN cross-sectoral work plan of its kind and is a comprehensive and innovative approach to trafficking in persons. The ADFM made recommendations to the ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), who met in Manila in the week following the ADFM, on the development of an implementation mechanism for the ACTIP and collaboration between ASEAN and the Bali Process senior officials on these issues.

We continued to enjoy strong attendance from past ADFM participants in Manila. Meeting in the Philippines during their time as ASEAN Chair and during the ASEAN 50th anniversary celebrations, allowed us to expand ADFM participation to include ASEAN senior officials. The ADFM Secretariat are very grateful for the support of Director Leocadio Trovela and his team at the Philippines Department of the Interior and Local Government.

In addition to our substantive discussions on effective responses by the Bali Process and ASEAN to forced migration issues, ADFM members endorsed further research and policy development on climate-related displacement and employment opportunities for refugees. Members also agreed the ADFM’s contribution to consultations for the global compacts on migrants and refugees.

The sixth ADFM meeting will take place in Sydney in March 2018, alongside the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit.

We will update this post in due course but wanted to ensure those following the ADFM have access to the briefing papers.

Background reading:

  • For the ADFM home page click here.
  • To find out more about the rationale behind the ADFM click here.
  • To read more about the first ADFM meeting in Melbourne in August 2015 click here.
  • To read more about the second ADFM meeting in Bangkok in January 2016 click here.
  • To read more about the third ADFM meeting in Kuala Lumpur in September 2016 click here.
  • To read more about the fourth ADFM meeting in Jakarta in March 2017 click here.

We will update this post in due course but wanted to ensure those following the ADFM have access to the briefing papers.

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