Twelfth Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration meeting



The Twelfth Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration meeting (ADFM) was delighted to convene its twelfth meeting in Jakarta on 16-17 May: the first to be held in person in more than three years. So much has changed since our last in person meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh in February 2020, but we were delighted that participants remained engaged and invested in the format.

Our Twelfth Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration meeting came at a very important time for the region: a few months after the eighth Bali Process Ministerial Conference in Adelaide, one week after the first ASEAN Summit for 2023 in Labuan Bajo, and ahead of the second Global Refugee Forum in Geneva in December 2023. 

The Twelfth Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration meeting considered the following themes:

  • ASEAN’s role in the management of forced migration: current activities and future potential;
  • Strengthening the region’s response to the Rohingya displacement and ongoing boat movements;
  • Policy and practice to improve the mental health of refugees in the region.
Man presenting into speaker at Twelfth Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration meeting
Participants discussed ASEAN's role in managing migration, Rohingya displacement responses, and improving refugee mental health. [Image Credit: National Research & Innovation Agency (BRIN)]

We elected to meet in Jakarta in order to capitalise on the momentum of Indonesia as the 2023 ASEAN Chair, under the slogan ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth. We were delighted that the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the ADFM Dinner on 16 May. 

At the ADFM Dinner, Former Foreign Minister of Thailand, Khun Kasit Piromya shared his frank views with ADFM participants of where the region could do better in regional cooperation to support refugees and forced migrants, including the situation in Myanmar. In particular Khun Kasit highlighted the importance of Indonesian leadership in ASEAN, and the strength of past collaborations between Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Proposals developed during the meeting will now be further developed by the ADFM Secretariat over the coming weeks and advanced with relevant bodies. We look forward to working with participants as the proposals are advanced, and also to working towards another in person meeting in 2024.

Former Foreign Minister of Thailand, Khun Kasit Piromya, addresses ADFM participants. [Image Credit: National Research & Innovation Agency (BRIN)]

The ADFM was established in 2015 to incubate ideas and new approaches to more effective, durable and dignified approaches to forced migration in the Indo Pacific. At our twelfth meeting, participants attended in their personal capacity from eight countries, including two individuals from Myanmar academia & civil society.

More about the ADFM:

Established in 2015, the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration (ADFM) is an independent Track 1.5 forum for genuine dialogue on the critical forced migration issues facing the region. The ADFM has contributed to changes in governance, policy and practice benefiting refugees, stateless, and trafficked persons, in partnership with the region’s institutions and national governments.

The ADFM Secretariat is convened by CPD in Australia, in collaboration with partners there from the Indonesian National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies. We are very grateful for their ongoing partnership and support of this work, which could only be achieved through this unique collaboration.

The ADFM has met nine times in person in capital cities around the Indo Pacific region. Our last in person meeting was in Dhaka, Bangladesh in February 2020, when the ADFM Secretariat made its second visit to Cox’s Bazar to follow up on our 2018 assessment of the risks of human trafficking and migrant smuggling arising out of the long-term displacement there. During the pandemic the ADFM continued to meet virtually, and also continued to advance the Regional Peer-Learning Platform on Alternatives to Child Detention.