Forced migration, asylum seeker and refugee flows continue to be hot topics in Australia, featuring strongly in our national conversation, political debates and media. They are also significant issues for our regional neighbours. CPD believes no country in our region can unilaterally and satisfactorily address the issue of forced migration. It requires regional cooperation.
It is for this reason that CPD has established a Track II dialogue on forced migration in the Asia-Pacific – the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration.
What is a Track II Dialogue?
A Track II dialogue is a non-governmental discussion aimed at building relationships and exploring new ideas. The informality of the forum allows participants to come to the table unburdened by official expectations and encouraged to take part in dynamic and constructive processes of problem solving. Although members of governments and bureaucracies may take part, they do so in a personal and not an official capacity. This is why such forums are referred to colloquially as ‘Track II’ rather than ‘Track I’.
CPD’s Track II Dialogue will provide a flexible, sustainable and credible platform for regional cooperation. Over time, it will work to influence government and bureaucratic decision-making on the issue of forced migration and, where appropriate, link into formal channels for regional engagement.
“We believe the Track II Dialogue to be an essential condition and much needed catalyst for key influencers in the region to think long-term on the issue of forced migration and build policy solutions with staying power.”
Where did the Dialogue come from?
For many years CPD has researched the movement of people around the Asia-Pacific.
In July 2014 we co-convened a high level roundtable on the issue, which featured former Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, Wiryono Sastrohandoyo, and Steve Wong, Deputy CEO of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia.’
This Roundtable led to the publication of Beyond the Boats: building an asylum and refugee policy for the long-term in November 2014, which was launched by one of CPD’s Patrons, Fred Chaney AO, and Russell Broadbent MP, alongside orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who came to Australia from Iraq as a refugee in 1999.
From Beyond the Boats to the Track II
One of the signature recommendations of Beyond the Boats was for a Track II regional dialogue on the topic.
CPD will now deliver this Dialogue over the next three years, thanks to generous support from the Sidney Myer Fund, the Planet Wheeler Foundation, the Vincent Fairfax Foundation, Corrs Chambers Westgarth and individual donors,
The Track II Dialogue has been developed in close consultation with CPD fellows John Menadue, Peter Hughes and Arja Keski-Nummi as well as Steve Wong (ISIS Malaysia), Paris Aristotle (Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture), Erika Feller (University of Melbourne and former Assistant High Commissioner for Protection) and other expert collaborators from civil society, international organisations, strategic institutes and governments in Australia and abroad.
How does it work?
Our guiding objective is to establish a credible, influential and lasting forum for dialogue that can progress Asia-Pacific countries towards better regional policy responses to forced migration.
The agenda of the Dialogue is focused on the issue of forced migration as manifested in the Asia-Pacific region. Key topics include asylum flows, transient or irregular migrant populations and people trafficking. A strong line-up of regional participants, including government and non-government participants are involved. Discussions at the Dialogue meetings are conducted under the Chatham House Rule.
Over time, we hope the Dialogue can make clear and persuasive inroads towards the creation of a regional framework. A regional framework would guide national actions and cooperation between states in responding to forced migration. CPD anticipates that this might include policy proposals to enhance protection for vulnerable people, build capacity for managing asylum flows, stabilise population movements and tackle issues of smuggling and trafficking.
The Secretariat for the Track II Dialogue is provided by CPD and its regional partners, consisting of CPD CEO (Travers McLeod), ISIS Malaysia Deputy CEO (Steve Wong), IHRP Thailand Representative (Sriprapha Petcharamesree), CPD Steering Fellows (John Menadue, Arja Keski-Nummi and Peter Hughes), Administration and Research Officer (Shivani Nadan) and Project and Research Manager (Annabel Brown).
CPD is partnering with regional policy institutes to delivery the Dialogue – the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University Thailand, the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
The Dialogue engages a select group of individuals and policy leaders from Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand (and other countries thereafter) and expert organisations (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration) to collaborate on the complex issue of forced migration in the region.
What is happening?
The first Dialogue Meeting was held in Melbourne, Australia, from 24-25 August 2015 at offices of Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Melbourne. To see the meeting materials from the first meeting please click here.
The second Dialogue Meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 29-30 January 2016 at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel. To see the meeting materials from the second meeting please click here.
A further four Dialogue meetings will take place in different places around the Asia-Pacific region over the next three years.
We look forward to keeping you up to date with how the Dialogue is progressing and other exciting developments in our Intergenerational Wellbeing Program.