Thursday, 25 August 2016

The 5th Ministerial Consultation of the Colombo Process was convened in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 25 August 2016 with the participation of Ministerial-level delegations from all 11 Member States.

The one-day consultation was the culmination of the Sri Lanka’s second-term Chairmanship in the last three years, during which a number of tangible achievements were made by the Member States as the collective efforts at thematic, institutional and inter-regional levels.

During her welcome statement, Hon. Thalatha Athukorala, Minister of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka and the Chair of the Colombo Process, drew the delegates’ attention to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as “a historic step towards incorporating migration into mainstream global development policy” and highlighted how the CP’s commitment is in unison with the SDG targets by aiming to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible labour migration.

H.E. William Lacy Swing, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who attended the event as an honorable guest, applauded that “the CP has demonstrated its ability to act as a catalytic platform to translate some of its aspirational aims into action.”

Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, commended the CP’s concerted efforts, in particular on the five thematic priorities, and reiterated that “We are committed to ensuring that the migrant workers have safe and dignified employment abroad”.

The Ministerial Consultation was preceded by the 4th Senior Officials’ Meeting, and during the both meetings, the Member States reviewed and affirmed the concrete accomplishments reached under the Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship, which included:

  • Adoption of the CP Strategic Vision as a road map for the Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship;
  • Collective progress in the five thematic priorities through the activation of the Thematic Area Working Groups and through national and regional programmes;
  • Enhanced engagement with countries of destination through dialogue forums, notably the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) and the Asia-EU Dialogue;
  • Deliberation on the CP institutional matters through the establishment of an ambassadorial and expert level groups in Geneva;
  • Convening of four Senior Officials’ Meetings which facilitated the advancement both in thematic and institutional discussions.

Honorable Ministers and Distinguished Heads of Delegation from 11 Member States also highlighted the national level achievements as well as remaining challenges to be addressed collectively by the CP through the country statements during the Ministerial Consultation.

The one-day consultation was concluded with the adoption of the Colombo Ministerial Declaration, which laid down a number of key recommendations and decisions to further advance the collaborative actions of CP to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration of workers:

  • Continue working on the five thematic areas in accordance with the goals and key tasks identified by the respective Thematic Area Working Groups;
  • Continue engagement with destination countries and other dialogue forms, including ADD, the European Union, SAARC, and ASEAN;
  • Provide recommendations to the next Ministerial Consultation on the following new thematic areas;
    • Migrant Health
    • Operationalization of the migration-related goals in the SDGs;
    • Promotion of equality for women migrant workers;
    • Consular support for Migrant Workers including migrant workers in countries experiencing crises, support to other CP nationals, information sharing;
  • Continue enhancing the visibility of the CP as a Regional Consultative Process (RCP) and seek engagement with other RCPs;
  • Adopted the revised CP Operating Modalities including a self-funding mechanism;
  • Approved the establishment of the CP Technical Support Unit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in support of the CP goals.

The Ministerial Declaration was also marked by the Member States’ unanimous welcome to Cambodia as the 12th Member State of the CP. It was also agreed that Sri Lanka continues consultations as to the next Chairmanship.

The closing ceremony was enriched by a number of statements from partners and observers, including Cambodia as the new member, the ADD Permanent Office, the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Ingenious Medicine, Sri Lanka, as the Host of 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health, UN Women as the Chair of the Global Migration Group, and Civil Society.

The Ministerial Consultation was followed by the press conference, during which Hon. Thalatha Athukorala, Minister of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka and the Chair of the Colombo Process, officially launched the new Colombo Process website.

The next Ministerial Consultation is scheduled in 2018.

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Colombo Declaration