Remarks, Handover Ceremony of the Colombo Process Chairmanship from Sri Lanka to Nepal

Date Publish: 
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 12:45
Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration
Geneva, Switzerland

It is a great honor to welcome you here for this momentous occasion of the Colombo Process as Sri Lanka hands over the Chairmanship to Nepal. IOM is honored to host the ceremony here at our Headquarters in Geneva.

Since the inception of the Colombo Process in 2003, IOM has been pleased to have had the honor and the opportunity to support the Chair-in-Office, and we have done so with all of the CP Chairs, starting with Sri Lanka as the first, then the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and back to Sri Lanka again until today.

Today, we stand beside the Geneva-based Ambassadors of the 12 CP Member States to watch Sri Lanka pass the baton to Nepal to assume the leadership of the Colombo Process.

I am certain that Nepal will continue to progress on the many achievements made under Sri Lanka’s leadership, and the Colombo Process Member States as a whole. This includes the operationalization of five thematic areas and thematic Working Groups and in considering adding four more, all with a view to ultimately work towards improving migrant workers’ and their families lives.

The CP Self-Funding Mechanism is another great achievement that was initiated and negotiated by all of you here in Geneva, which led to its unanimous adoption at the Colombo Ministerial Meeting last August. These funds as contributed by your Governments will help ensure predictability and regularity of the CP SOMs and Ministerial Meetings, which is truly important in maintaining and sustaining this critical State-led dialogue.

Despite all of the challenges brought about by the earthquake, Nepal has shown great strength and resilience in leading this dynamic and very active Regional Consultative Process on migration. Taking on the role of Chair is not new for Nepal; it is evidently well-equipped to take this important mandate. Nepal has shown great leadership in other fora such as the SAARC, particularly in developing the SAARC Action Plan on Labour Migration when it held the Chairmanship. It continues to play an instrumental role as the SAARC Secretariat in Kathmandu. Ambassador Dhital also played a strategic role previously as the SAARC Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I am very pleased to see that Nepal will continue to advance the current CP achievements while also proposing a program of identified priorities envisaged under its leadership, including the CP contributing to the Global Compact on Migration.

Ambassador Aryasinha, I wish to congratulate you on all of your success over the past three and a half years as the Geneva-based Chair-in-Office. Your dynamism and perseverance have led to many remarkable accomplishments and activities that have steered the CP on a progressive path: which you have so well and appropriately described in your eloquent remarks.

Ambassador Dhital, I wish to congratulate you on assuming the Chair of the Colombo Process. Just as we have done for Sri Lanka and previous CP Chairs, IOM stands ready to continue supporting you as the CP Chair and the CP as a whole at all levels – here at Headquarters and through our Regional and Country Offices. You can certainly count on us, and we look forward to our cooperation.