As Regional Coordinator for Asia, you were responsible for organising the first Regional Round-table that took place last March in Bangkok. How was this different from organising any other mission?
This Regional Round-table in Bangkok is the first of a series of events bringing together MIEUX partner countries. On this occasion, delegates from both Central and South-East Asia as well as experts from (non-)EU MS were convened. The right to migrate represents an important achievement for the region as the movement of people can bring wealth, employment and economic development. However, this is not without difficulties. Unfortunately, organised crime takes a heavy toll on victims of trafficking. These problems are very well known, and this is why we have organised this regional event so that we could learn from each other and try to formulate lessons learnt collectively.
For the very first time within MIEUX, delegates from beneficiary countries and experts from past and ongoing actions were all gathered under one roof. So, this is the first element that makes this event different from other MIEUX missions: it provided an opportunity to discuss MIEUX achievements and contributions within the Asian region from the perspectives of the partner countries and experts. On a general level, through this event, MIEUX is enhancing intra-regional dialogue by convening several sending, transit and receiving countries of migrants as well as thematic experts together to discuss topics of concern within their region.
Secondly, this event was about taking stock: our aim for this Regional Round-tables was to discuss good practices and local solutions according to the MIEUX Asian beneficiaries’ priorities and interests. Over the years, MIEUX has developed and implemented a wide range of approaches and modalities for migration management. It was time to identify, together with the MIEUX Asian beneficiaries, MIEUX good practices that can be replicated within the Asian countries with the view of enabling the MIEUX partner countries to further regional cooperation and governance.
Can you mention three highlights from the event that are worth sharing?
During the event, the Asian representatives recognised the added value of past and ongoing MIEUX interventions in helping them to create synergies. For instance, Thailand is currently evaluating cooperation avenues with Belgian and Irish NGOs.
Moreover, following MIEUX recommendations, some participating countries were able to improve their migration management system by introducing innovative practices and new forms of cooperation within their national context. For instance, Myanmar is in the process of adopting a recommendation from MIEUX to conduct an awareness-raising campaign about labour migration. In Laos, following our recommendation, the National Migration Data Working Group set up under MIEUX for the development of Guidelines for Migration Statistics is now fully part of the institutional framework.
Finally, the peer-to-peer approach is very appreciated by the MIEUX partner countries. For instance, representatives from the Philippines and Timor-Leste mentioned that the knowledge transfer and sharing were very practical and easy to adopt, as based on the first-hand experience, practices and concrete actions from EU MS public administrations.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in the next events in Latin America, Africa and the EU Neighbourhood?
MIEUX's intervention is not limited to Asia. Other (sub-)regions benefit from the MIEUX technical assistance and its practices, such as Latin America, West Africa, Eastern Africa and the EU Neighbours. Over the years, MIEUX has provided the partner countries with practices, tools, approaches, methodologies that can be adapted to each region’s distinct context and needs. I look forward to knowing more about other practices promoted by MIEUX and integrated into the policy and institutional frameworks of the States and (sub-)regional organisations in accordance with their specific situations and challenges. In particular, our event in West Africa will be devoted to policy development. It would be interesting to see which and how methods, tools and approaches have been applied in that sub-region compared to the MIEUX policy development work in Kyrgyzstan.
MIEUX Reflections is an ongoing series that provides a space where our Project Staff can share their insights on their recent missions.
On any given week, a member of the MIEUX team, together with a group of experts, can be deployed around the world to support EU partner countries in reviewing, transforming and reinforcing their migration policies. These missions provide opportunities to interact with the full range of local, regional and/or national actors that are involved in MIEUX’s activities. Once on the ground, the many months of preparation come alive, inspiring the Project Staff to go forward and apply Lessons Learnt into new activities.