“There is no time to waste”, said ADFM Co-Convenor Travers McLeod, CEO of the Centre for Policy Development, following the 10th ADFM meeting held virtually last month. “COVID-19 makes it even more important that countries across the region are better prepared to respond to sudden displacement and vulnerable populations already displaced are better protected. If critical challenges are not addressed we fear more innocent lives and livelihoods will be lost.”
“The region would benefit from champions on particular issues, new coalitions to support humanitarian responses, and existing institutions making a greater effort to fulfill their potential.”“Several regional institutions have existing mandates to deal with issues of forced migration, but they are not making the most of these capabilities. The Bali Process Consultation Mechanism and Task Force on Planning & Preparedness are entities whose promise remains largely unrealised. The upcoming twentieth anniversary of the Bali Process and associated events is an opportunity for reviewing and rejuvenating this institution, in line with future strategic priorities.”
“ASEAN action is necessary but will be insufficient”, said ADFM Co-Convenor Sriprapha Petcharamesree, from the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University, Thailand.
“The appointment of the Special Envoy to Myanmar can make a big difference, especially if the Envoy’s mandate includes addressing the Rohingya displacement and fosters collaboration within ASEAN (such as between the AHA Centre and AICHR) and with other institutions (such as the Bali Process, SAARC and BIMSTEC).”
“At no time in the six years since the ADFM was established have we seen developments as dire as those currently facing our region. That these circumstances are being faced during a global pandemic only amplifies both the challenge and the urgency.”
ADFM Co-Convenors will now conduct further strategic research and advocacy on specific proposals raised at the meeting, working as appropriate with ADM participants, governments and institutions across the region.