IOM Convenes Key Stakeholders in Sri Lanka for a Planning Workshop to Pilot the Regional Reintegration Model
Colombo— The International Organization for Migration (IOM) held a planning workshop on 24 November 2022 in Colombo, Sri Lanka to consult the key stakeholders on the activities that could be piloted nationally under a Regional Model on Reintegration for South Asia. The model, being developed on the premise of sustainable reintegration, considers the many vulnerability factors and gendered social, psychosocial and economic opportunities and challenges experienced by returning migrant workers in the South Asian region. Around 40 government and non-government stakeholders gathered from around the country in an encouraging move to discuss and provide inputs to support the project that will pilot the Regional Reintegration Model in Sri Lanka.
The workshop was organized by the Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS) programme, GOALS is a regional programme jointly implemented by IOM, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The workshop was organised in close collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka to provide an enabling environment for stakeholders in Sri Lanka to participate in the “localization” of the Regional Reintegration Model.
With this view to customize the regional model to suit Sri Lanka, discussions focused on issues including furthering legislative, economic, and social conditions related to reintegration in the country; the relevance of returnees’ acquired skills to the country’s development priorities and the ways that government and informal networks help returnees reintegrate into society so as to harness the development potential of labour migrants.
Speaking on the significance of the workshop being an opportune moment for stakeholders to share perspectives on migration-related interests, R P A Wimalaweera, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment asserted that “reintegration is a shared responsibility implemented in full partnership between the government and all layers of society, which is crucial in achieving the common goal of leaving no one behind.”
Benil Theverasa, Regional Advisor, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, remarked “reintegration is closely linked to the protection of migrants’ rights and the development of opportunities in the country of origin” and emphasized the need to create more socioeconomic opportunities in Sri Lanka to “leverage the skills and resources gained by returning migrants.”
Also in attendance at the workshop were officials from the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Ministry of Education, and representatives from the Voice of Migrants Network.
Speaking at the close of the event, Andrew Gray, Officer in Charge of IOM Sri Lanka and Maldives thanked all attendees for their discussions and interventions, which demonstrated the interest in the common need for sustainable reintegration and underlined IOM’s interest in working with all parties present to continue to improve the situation of returning migrant workers in the country.