The latest Regional COMMIT Task Force (TF) and Senior Officials Meeting (SOM 11) took place in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 23 and 24 November 2016.
The meeting brought together the leadership of the national TFs from each of the 6 COMMIT members (Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam), UN-ACT as the COMMIT Secretariat, other UN agencies and international organizations such as ASEAN, the diplomatic community and donor agencies including Norway and Sweden as UN-ACT’s key contributors, civil society stakeholders and the COMMIT Youth Forum as well as private sector actors.
On the agenda were COMMIT sustainability and capacity development; victim identification and referral mechanisms; engagement with youth, civil society, ASEAN and the private sector; monitoring and reporting progress of SPAIV implementation; and 2017 work planning.
Key outcomes included the adoption of the common ASEAN-COMMIT indicators of human trafficking and related forms of exploitation as well as the COMMIT Guidelines on Victim Identification and Referral Mechanisms. Both are designed to help significantly improve victim identification in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) and ensure that those identified receive adequate support services. The next step will be to localize and operationalize the indicators and guidelines in national contexts.
In another major decision, the COMMIT governments unanimously agreed to make strengthening labour migration systems in the GMS a priority for interventions in 2017, thereby recognizing the fundamental connectedness between human trafficking and labour migration, especially in Southeast Asia.
The government delegates also decided to introduce an annually rotating COMMIT Chair, to be performed by the country hosting the SOM and working alongside UN-ACT to represent COMMIT externally whilst giving guidance and direction internally. This will help strengthen governmental ownership over COMMIT in the interest of the Process’ long-term sustainability.
With the end of 2016 approaching, those involved in the COMMIT Process will now proceed with work planning for 2017, based on the decision points reached at the Vientiane meeting. UN-ACT is looking forward to supporting the Process in implementing the various important agreements reached.