IOM Director General highlights importance of Bali Process

Bali Process
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. Image: UN.

As IOM Director General,  William Lacy Swing has attended every regularly scheduled biennial Bali consultation since October 2008. In a statement to the Bali Process 7th Regional Ministerial Conference on 7 August he reaffirmed the IOM’s commitment to the network.

Bali Process needed

In opening his statement, Mr Swing pointed to the need for regional migration cooperation in a region particularly impacted upon by the movement of people.

“Asia Pacific is home to 82.5 million migrants; 77.2 million people born in the region are outside of their countries of origin, said Mr Swing. “Remittances received in Asia Pacific were estimated at USD 247 billion in 2017; and seven of the world’s top ten remittance receiving countries are here.”

“Smuggling and trafficking in persons remain a challenge. IOM estimates that 62 percent of people living in situations of modern slavery are in the region…”

He noted that the region is also particularly prone to natural disasters and the impacts of climate change, with at least 80 percent of the world’s sudden onset disaster-induced displacement occurring in the region.

Mainstreaming migration

According to Mr Swing, two decades ago, “it was nearly unthinkable to have migration as part of any global agenda,” with Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs), such as the Bali Process, paving the way.

“RCPs and other similar “Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms” (ISCMs) have increased the international community’s awareness and appreciation of the breadth and cross-cutting nature of migration and its many challenges.”

Dialogues such as the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) (1985), International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) (2001) and Geneva/Global Migration Group (GMG) (2006), he said, have brought governments and other sectors into the discussion table.

“Synergies among these dialogues have sensitized governments and other sectors of the need to talk about migration beyond one’s own borders.”

The Bali Process, he said, “has contributed to shaping common approaches to combatting migrant smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime and advanced practical cooperation to help its Members address these challenges.”

Concluding, Mr Swing reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to strengthen its support to the Bali Process. “Migration remains to be very high on the agenda of every conceivable global and regional forum and in the midst of enhancing UN system-wide support through the UN Migration Network.”

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