You are reading: Meet David Scott and Sukmo Yuwono Meet David Scott and Sukmo Yuwono
01 May 2023 |
Meet David Scott and Sukmo Yuwono

RSO Co-Managers, David Scott (Co-Manager, Australia) and Sukmo Yuwono (Co-Manager, Indonesia) share their insights from the 8th Bali Process Ministerial Conference, and how discussions and regional priorities agreed here will guide the RSO’s Work Plan into 2023.

David Sukmo BPMC
Image caption Photographer name 14 April 2024
Tell us more about your role.
David Scott

As the Australian Co-Manager for the RSO, I lead the RSO team to support the RSO’s mandate and remit in supporting the 45 Bali Process Member States – through capability development that is responsive to Member State needs and the direction set by Bali Process Ministerial Co-Chairs; building capacity through training and information-sharing at an operational level; undertaking policy dialogue and developing guidelines, tools and research; and undertaking communications, engagement and advocacy work with Members and wider stakeholders.

As the world continues to reset following the Covid-19 pandemic and to adapt to the changed environment in which we find ourselves operating, the role of the Bali Process and the RSO in supporting international collaboration, as part of global efforts to combat transnational crime, people smuggling and trafficking in persons is critically important. As a team, we are eager to make our impact felt and support Members as effectively as possible – to generate real outcomes that strengthen collaboration and coordination of activities across our membership, enhance regional responses to irregular migration challenges and contribute to improving regional stability.

Sukmo Yuwono

I am the Co-Manager (Indonesia) of the RSO. My role here is to oversee the activities of the RSO and ensure they are aligned and adapt to the needs of Bali Process Member States. At the same time, I serve full time as Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Thailand as well as Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the UNESCAP.

In your opinion, what are some key outcomes from the 8th Ministerial Conference?
Sukmo Yuwono

In February 2023, the Bali Process hosted the 8th Ministerial Conference in Adelaide, Australia – co-chaired by Senator The Honourable Penny Wong, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Her Excellency Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Indonesian Minister for Foreign Affairs – and bringing together Bali Process Member States for the first Ministerial Conference since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A key topic for discussion at the conference was the role of technology in enabling both people smuggling, and trafficking in persons – alongside the challenging and rapid growth in online scam centres we have witnessed in our region. These centres have grown rapidly and now operate at a massive scale across a growing number of countries, with a global impact.

Victims from across Bali Process Member States and further afield are being falsely lured with the promise of jobs, trafficked and forced to work in these centres, and to commit scams against their fellow countrymen and women. The scale of trafficking into scam centres, and the terrible conditions within them, have made this a priority issue for the RSO and for the region. The RSO is working to support Members in their response, building understanding and enabling access to information, and bringing together various actors – including governments, law enforcement, private companies including the tech sector, and civil society organisations – to implement solutions together.

A second key theme included challenges resulting from the recent irregular maritime movements in the Andaman Sea. As part of my role with the RSO, I will be supporting the Bali Process to explore options for wider Bali Process and RSO engagement and support, following the Bali Process Ministerial Co-Chairs directions in February 2023 to reactivate the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism in response to this matter.

David Scott

In terms of outcomes for the RSO itself, the RSO was gratified by the announcement for a one-off funding injection to the RSO from Australia for 2.7M Australian Dollars, which will bolster RSO capacity to address new and emerging priority issues, through new research and enquiry and other capability development programmes.

The funding will support the re-establishment of the RSO’s Counter Smuggling Programme, and establish the RSO Research Hub, with a focus on embedding a victim centered and gender sensitive approach across our work.

The work of the RSO would not be possible without the support and commitment of Bali Process Members, each of whom contribute time, resources, and personnel to work with the RSO across our lines of effort. The RSO was pleased to update Member States at the Ministerial Conference about changes to our funding structure, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs and the International Organization for Migration which hosts the RSO in Bangkok, to allow wider funding support to the RSO from across the Bali Process Membership. These changes aim to support the RSO to continue to evolve and grow its capacity to become an influential regional contributor on behalf of Bali Process Member States.

The RSO was also pleased to hold a series of bilateral meetings with Member States and Organisations at the sidelines of the Ministerial Conference – these discussions are essential in supporting the RSO to understand priority interests and needs of Bali Process Member States and to shape next steps.

How is Indonesia’s current chairmanship of ASEAN reflected in the work of the RSO?
Sukmo Yuwono

Indonesia is honored to be the Chair of ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in 2023, and naturally, many priority issues for ASEAN align with Bali Process and RSO concerns – with one priority issue for our region being the increase in online scam centres, and trafficking into these centres.

We are currently looking at ways that ASEAN and the RSO can further engage together on this issue, to best utilise our respective reach and regional influence, under Indonesia’s leadership of both regional frameworks.

What can we expect from the RSO in 2023?
Sukmo Yuwono

The RSO has a big mandate in 2023. Bali Process Members have high expectations for the RSO and for the Bali Process as a whole in terms of utilising the reach and convening power we hold to generate dialogue and cooperation, and to raise capacity and support Member States in addressing what are significant regional challenges.

The work of the RSO for 2023 is grounded in an agile Annual Work Plan designed to forecast our activities whilst ensuring it is responsive to evolving priorities. It is only through regional cooperation and information sharing that Member States will be able to meet the extensive reach and capability yielded by major transnational organised criminal groups responsible for driving and profiting from trafficking in persons and people smuggling – and who are exploiting those who are most vulnerable, or simply seeking a better life. These groups operate as extensive and fluid networks across borders, holding extensive reach, influence and access to funds.

I say this too, keeping in mind the way the RSO adapted and remained a valued source for Bali Process Members during the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring continuity in engagement with Members States and through the provision of training is critical.

As we continue to work together over the coming months, I urge Member States to make the most of the newly redeveloped Bali Process website, which the RSO was pleased to launch earlier this year – to better support Member States seeking information and tools in their work. The RSO is always open to hearing ideas and to discuss priority issues for Member States, to ensure the RSO is supporting Member States as best as it can.

David Scott

As we look ahead to 2023, the RSO will also be reshaping its structure to more effectively serve priority areas and the needs of Bali Process Members. This includes a new programmatic focus on issues around trafficking in persons, people smuggling, transnational crimes and technology and irregular migration regional priorities. The RSO will maintain focus on supporting dialogue and development across our Member States, through a consolidated capability development programme that includes operational capacity building and training, policy dialogue, research and enquiry and communications and engagement.

In 2023, we further plan to establish an alumni network of peers and practitioners who have participated in training with the RSO, and to reinvigorate our Regional Information and Liaison Officer Network (RILON) to enable information sharing and collaboration at a practitioner level. We will also relaunch our secondment programme, to support strengthening of technical capacity across Member States, and for Member States to share good practices and high-level capacities through and with the RSO.

2022 marked the tenth year since Bali Process Members came together to establish the RSO in recognition of the critical need to translate Bali Process dialogue into practical action through the provision of technical support and cooperation activities with Bali Process Member States.

In this next decade, we look forward to seeing continued engagement and impact across our work with Bali Process Member States, and hope to really make our impact felt in supporting and responding to the needs of our Member States.