Between 26-27 June 2018, the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational hosted the Thirteenth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials (AHG SOM) in Sydney, Australia.
In attendance were representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America and Vietnam, as well as the UNHCR, IOM and UNODC, and (RSO. The Walk Free Foundation and the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration both presented and attended as observers. Canada attended as an observer.
The purpose of the meeting was to review progress of AHG activities and achievements since the Sixth Bali Process Ministerial Conference (23 March 2016) and the 12th AHG SOM (31 October 2017) and consider actions to be taken by Co-chairs for the Seventh Bali Process Ministerial Conference.
- In May 2018, the Co-Chairs engaged with countries affected by challenges pertaining to irregular migration in the region via good offices’ outreach visits.
- The Bali Process has been working to strengthen member state collaboration with civil society in relevant areas of interest.
- Members welcomed efforts by the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons in implementing its work plan through training on the Following the Money policy guide, and a Government and Civil Society Roundtable.
- Members commended the information campaign pilot run by IOM in the Bangladesh- Australia campaign which successfully materialized through a mobile app ‘Bidesh Jai’ (Going Abroad).
- In May 2018, the UNODC released an updated voluntary reporting system on migrant smuggling and related conduct (VRS-MSRC).
- Members commended the RSO’s work on border management via its border induction training for officials, review of the pilot immigration liaison officer training and Workshop on Biometrics for Identity Integrity in Immigration.
- The Technical Experts Group on Returns and Reintegration agreed to develop a policy guide on returns and reintegration.
- The IOM-run Assisted Voluntary Returns and Reintegration (AVRR) project has facilitated the return of migrants to their country of origin from member states.
- RSO and UNHCR are developing a Civil Registration and Vital Statistics toolkit.
- The Task Force on Planning and Preparedness (TFPP) held its third meeting in March 2018, in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Members and working groups actively sought engagement with regional consultative forums including through:
- An Initial Consultation between the Working Groups on Trafficking in Persons, the Disruption of People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons Networks, and ASEAN.
- Member engagement on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees.
- In preparation for the upcoming Seventh Bali Process Ministerial Conference, members recommended that the Co-chairs prepare draft agendas for the three consecutive events, assist the leads of the Government and Business Forum in refining their recommendations and put forward the draft ministerial declaration.