Article Index

Regional Round-tables: why are they important?

New actors, new policies and new priorities have arisen since MIEUX was launched in December 2008. Migration management has evolved, becoming a top issue for bilateral and regional dialogues, and in need of cooperation models for partnerships to maximise the benefits of migration and protect the rights of migrants.

MIEUX’s 10-year anniversary provides ICMPD with the right occasion to review ongoing and past Actions with a fresh perspective, aiming to extract good practices and inspiration for the programme team, for the organisation as a whole and for any capacity building programme, in general, navigating the complex and promising scene that the current migration governance landscape brings us.

To honour MIEUX’s principle of ownership, the team could not paint a complete picture without assistance and input from those who have experienced and are carrying on the results of our Actions.

That is why a series of ‘Regional Round-tables’ in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean are planned for 2018. Government officials and experts will share their reflections and views on what MIEUX means to them; how and why they engaged with us, what type of results we achieved in their institutions and countries, and how these governments benefit from them in the present day.

The first of these Regional Round-tables was held in Bangkok on 5 and 6 March 2018 and brought together representatives from Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Thailand, the Philippines, along with two experts that participated in MIEUX missions in the past and several members of the MIEUX team.

2008-2018: Responding to migration needs in Asia

With 60% of migrants worldwide reportedly living in Asia, it is the first region of destination for international migration. Between 2000 and 2017, Asia saw a higher increase in international migrants than any other region in the world, gaining around 30 million international migrants during this period and seeing thus a net increase of around 1.8 million migrants per year.

The search for better economic opportunities is one of the main drivers of migration in Central and Southeast Asia, while issues of vulnerability linked to emigration can lead to labour and sexual exploitation. In consequence, the management of labour migration and fighting against Trafficking in Human Beings are two key topics in the region.

These are the two topics that MIEUX has primarily worked on in the region since 2009, implementing 17 Actions to support Asian governments with the design of operational tools, implementation of information and awareness-raising campaigns and policy development.

Interested to know more? Read about our work in the region in the Asia Regional Factsheet.

What were the results of the event?

Keeping in mind the objective to review ongoing and past Actions, extract good practices and examine MIEUX’s longer-term impact, participants were asked to report back on what achievements they felt had reached through our interventions. 10 years into its implementation, MIEUX’s knowledge-exchange model has been able to produce some noteworthy results, for example:

1) In Thailand, following a study visit to Belgium as part of a MIEUX Action, new networks were created between Thai and EU authorities. These networks prompted the set-up of focal points for repatriation and voluntary return of Thai Victims of Trafficking (VoTs) from EU back to Thailand.

Additionally, the Thai authorities reported that the exposure to the protocol for VoTs operating in EU has prompted a revision of the Protocol for victim protection in Thailand so that authorities are able to assist VoTs also outside Victim Protection Shelters. As reported, the change in legislation is pending but due to pass in the coming months.

2) In Lao PDR, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development was able to bring together for the first time the ‘National Migration Data Working Group (NMDWG)’, an inter-ministerial working group to collaborate on a MIEUX Action aimed at setting up a national labour migration database.

3) In the Philippines, officials from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration were introduced to the concept of social marketing thanks to a MIEUX Action conducted between 2011 and 2013. Since then, officials have extracted the learnings into subsequent exercises of communications campaigns directed at Filipino migrant workers.

4) In Timor–Leste and Cambodia, police officers involved in MIEUX training gained knowledge of EU methodologies prompting a new awareness of improvements needed in the area of border management and Trafficking in Human Beings and in general about capacity-building of their staff.

5) In Kyrgyzstan, as reported by the Kyrgyz authorities, MIEUX provided a unique opportunity to develop the long-term vision for the National Migration Policy which is now in the final stages of its ratification.

This non-exhaustive list of accomplishments bears witness to the adaptability and flexibility that MIEUX is renowned for and sheds light on several processes that MIEUX has been able to facilitate at the national, regional and bilateral level, offering a prime example of collaboration, cooperation and partnership in matters of migration management between the EU and partner countries.

What is next?

Bangkok was just the first stop of a year-long ‘tour de capitales on MIEUX’s agenda for 2018. The next Regional Round-table is planned to take place in late May in Mexico City. This time, the MIEUX team and partners will focus on extracting good practices while reflecting on the impact and lessons learnt across Latin America and the Caribbean as a result of MIEUX’s work.

The results of all Regional Round-tables will provide the foundations for an updated and comprehensive publication collecting MIEUX’s good practices that will be published in early 2019.