On 16 November 2016, the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime hosted the Eleventh Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials (AHG SOM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In attendance were representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Unites States and Vietnam as well as representatives from UNHCR, UNODC and the IOM. Canada attended the meeting an observer. The RSO Co-Managers also participated in the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress of AHG activities and achievements since the Sixth Bali Process Ministerial Conference (BPMC) held on 23 March 2016 and the preceding Senior Officials’ Meeting and the 10th AHG Senior Officials’ Meeting. Members discussed key developments adopted by Ministers including:
- work on the Consultation Mechanism,
- a Review of the Andaman Sea Events of 2015,
- closer engagement with the private sector to address trafficking in persons and slavery.
- Members endorsed an updated Bali Process Strategy for Cooperation which incorporated outcomes of the Sixth Ministerial Conference. The Strategy remains a ‘living document’ to be updated at least annually.
- New Zealand confirmed its funding for a training workshop for Bali Process Pacific Island countries.
- Members endorsed the Concept Note for Administrative Arrangements to implement the Consultation Mechanism developed by the Co-Chairs.
- Members endorsed the Review of the Region’s Response to the May 2015 Andaman Sea Situation Report and requested the Co-Chairs take necessary action to implement its recommendations.
- A proposal for a Bali Process Business Forum developed by Co-Chairs was received well.
- Members were encouraged to participate in, and support RSO activities including through considering provision of staff.
- The outgoing Australian RSO Co-Manager and programme manager for IOM Canberra were commended for their contribution to the work of the Bali Process.
- The Trafficking in Persons Working Group (co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia) held its second annual meeting on 18 May 2016 where business and NGO representatives presented for the first time.
- The Working Group on Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks (co-chaired by Sri Lanka and New Zealand) is leading a second Joint Period of Action (JPA) involving 10 countries’ law enforcement and immigration agencies working together on nine investigations aimed at dismantling people smuggling or trafficking networks through the region.
- Australia will establish a Technical Experts Group on Returns and Reintegration with the first meeting to be held in early 2017.
- Members expressed their wish to further engage with the Dialogue on Forced Migration, potentially for provision of policy support to the Consultation Mechanism.