Colombo Process adopts Kathmandu Declaration
Kathmandu, November 16
Ensuring the rights of workers and safe and dignified labour migration, the two-day fifth Senior Officials Meeting and sixth Ministerial Consultation of the Colombo Process organised with the theme ‘Safe, Regular and Managed Migration: A Win-Win for All’ concluded today in the Capital with the endorsement of the 27-point Kathmandu Declaration.
During the event, Nepal urged all member states for collective leadership and shared responsibility to achieve the objectives of the Colombo Process.
Speaking at the opening session of the Ministerial Consultation today, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista, stated that safe labour migration has been receiving the attention it needed from the international community, which is evidenced by the inclusion of international migration related elements in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that will be adopted next month. He shared that recommendations of the Colombo Process have been incorporated in the draft Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration framework document.
“The Colombo Process marks its 15th year of existence since its inception in 2003 and it is high time to reflect on fundamental principles, relevance and effectiveness of the process,” said Minister Bista. “We need to evaluate whether we have been able to fulfil our objectives. As we chart our way forward, these lessons should guide our activities so that they are result-oriented with visible outcomes that make a difference to migrant workers and their families.”
Meanwhile, the Kathmandu Declaration has focused on the five thematic areas that the Colombo Process has adopted, which include skills and qualification recognition processes, fostering ethical recruitment practices, pre-departure orientation and empowerment, promoting cheaper, faster and safer transfer of remittances, and labour market analysis.
The member states have also focused on four additional cross-cutting thematic areas of migrant health, operationalisation of migration-related elements of the SDGs, promotion of equality for women migrant workers and consular support for migrant workers.
Having considered the achievements made so far and to better manage labour migration in the wake of contemporary trends in migration flows, the ministers have recommended to continue working on the five thematic areas and report to the seventh Colombo Process Ministerial Consultation on the progress made in those areas.
Moreover, the meeting gave the mandate to Nepal, the current chair of the Colombo Process, to coordinate, monitor and follow-up on the progress of the work of the Thematic Area Working Groups and assist the Ministerial Consultation in harnessing synergies, advancing new initiatives, and fostering intra-regional and cross-regional dialogues.
The event brought together ministers and senior officials from member states — Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
It was organised by the government under technical support of the International Organisation for Migration and attended by representatives from Abu Dhabi Dialogue, South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, Association of
Southeast Asian Nations and Global Forum on Migration and Development as observers.
During the consultation, Nepal presented a country report including its works and achievements over the past year as the chair of the Colombo Process. During the meeting, Sri Lanka presented a paper on ‘Skills and Qualification Recognition’; Bangladesh on ‘Fostering Ethical Recruitment’; the Philippines on ‘Pre-Departure Orientation and Empowerment’; Pakistan on ‘Remittances’; and Thailand on ‘Labour Market Analysis’.
Nepal had succeeded Sri Lanka as the chair of the Colombo Process on March 29, 2017. The member nations have agreed to host the seventh Colombo Process Ministerial Consultation in 2020, but the venue has yet to be finalised.