Minister of Foreign Employment, Thalatha Atukorale, who is also the Chair in Office of the Colombo Process (CP), last week said the CP will soon agree on the role it can play in supporting the overall implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to migration with a specific focus on contractual labour migrants. According to Atukorale, CP, the regional consultative forum of contractual labour originating countries in Asia, will work towards achieving SDG targets as it benefits from the experience of having worked on issues such as ethical labour recruitment, migrant health and remittances over the past two years.
“The labour sending countries in Asia will continue dialogue with the destination countries and other dialogue forums including Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), the EU, SAARC, ASEAN, GFMD, etc. to share information and to discuss respective roles in implementation of migration-related SDG targets.
“Further, I believe that in the forthcoming negotiations on developing the “Global Compact on Migration by 2018”, we should be ready to engage constructively building on the SDGs framework,” the Minister said addressing the sixth Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretaries of Regional Consultative Processes on Migration held in Geneva recently.
The delegation to the Meeting included Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, Deputy Permanent Representative Samantha Jayasuriya, Counsellor Shashika Somaratne, and Acting Deputy General Manager of the Foreign Employment Bureau D.G.G.S. Yapa.
Noting that CP will be providing sufficient knowledge to each individual Member State to adjust their policy space on migration-related SDGs to suit the national priorities, the Sri Lankan Minister said this will give an initial indication to individual Member States of the comparative strengths and lacunas they have, in reaching the global SDG indicators that have now been developed by the UN, to serve as a global common denominator.
“The Colombo Process seeks to be a bridge between labour sending and receiving countries fostering strong partnership for the Asian region in making migration an informed option for its peoples,” Atukorale said.
The Minister added the CP will soon agree on exact ways and means of operationalizing the new areas and will also be engaging in consultations including with the relevant Agencies such as IOM, ILO, UNWOMEN, WHO etc. for their technical support as related, and also the civil society participants as agreed by CP Member States.
Established 2003, the CP which is a voluntary regional consultative process for the contractual labour originating countries in Asia now comprises 12 countries namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.