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20 February 2023 | Event
Regional Support Office of the Bali Process – Co-Managers statement on Bali Process 8th Ministerial Conference

Ministers and Senior Officials across Bali Process Member States reconvened for the 8th Bali Process Ministerial Conference in Adelaide over 8-10 February 2023 – marking the first time a Ministerial Conference has been held since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

This Ministerial Conference was also the first to be held in Australia. The discussions and regional priorities agreed over these three days – including around technology facilitated trafficking, the rise in prevalence of online scams, shifting irregular migration patterns in the region and increased people smuggling activities especially by sea, will guide the work of the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) over the coming year – working closely with Bali Process Working Groups, the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, and across our Member and Observer States and Organisations.

An announcement for a one-off funding injection to the RSO from Australia for 2.7M Australian Dollars will bolster RSO capacity to address these issues, through new research and enquiry, and with an increased focus on our work around victim protection and support. The RSO will also support regional efforts around public information campaigns – tying into the reactivation of the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism in response to irregular maritime movements in the Andaman Sea.

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. We were gratified by Member States’ strong acknowledgement of the RSO’s impact on the ground, and their advocacy for further strengthening and resourcing of the RSO. To this end, the RSO was pleased to update Member States about changes to our funding structure which will 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.

As we look ahead to 2023, the RSO will be reshaping our structure to more effectively serve priority areas, and the needs of Bali Process Members. Our new structure will support a focus on issues around trafficking in persons, people smuggling, transnational crimes and technology and irregular migration and regional priorities. We will also maintain our focus on supporting dialogue and development across our Member States, through programmatic focus on capacity building and training, communications and engagement, and opportunities including secondments from Member States to the RSO and network-building through a new alumni network.

David Scott, RSO Co-Manager (Australia) said: “At this time of significant challenges around Trafficking in Persons and People Smuggling, the RSO is proud to make strong commitments to enhance our support across the Bali Process, drawing on our strength as the practical arm of the Bali Process to be responsive, agile and committed in our efforts to build dialogue, and support information and knowledge sharing, and capacity building across Member States. I was heartened by the wealth of dialogue and energy for progress – and I look forward to what 2023 brings in continuing to move the dial on responses to Trafficking in Persons and People Smuggling.”

Sukmo Yuwono, RSO Co-Manager (Indonesia) said: “The RSO’s impact on the ground was clearly acknowledged by Member States over the course of the Bali Process Ministerial proceedings – and sets the tone for constructive and engaged efforts over the coming months. The RSO will seek to harness the energy from commitments made over the course of the past week – building on productive conversations both as part of proceedings and in the sidelines – always keeping Member State needs as central to our efforts and encouraging regional cooperation and collaboration which is critical to our joint future successes.