On 3 August 2018, Mekong Migration Network (MMN) held its 7th General Conference (GC) at the Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As per the MMN Terms of Partnership (ToP), all the MMN members are invited to attend the GC and the GC is regarded as the highest decision making body of the network. 40 representatives of MMN member organisations, observers, associates and MMN supporters attended the GC. The meeting began with an introduction of all participants and a confirmation of the membership statuses of the attending MMN members. Participants proceeded to review and confirm proposed revisions to the MMN Terms of Partnership (ToP) submitted prior to the GC by MMN member organisations and the Steering Committee (SC). The amended ToP is now available here. In the following session, MMN members voted to approve the membership application of Future Light Centre (FLC) from Burma/Myanmar submitted prior to the GC after its representative, Ms. Thet Thet Aung, gave an overview of her organisation’s work and answered questions from the floor.
Members of the Secretariat reported on MMN’s activities since 2015, and updated on ongoing projects, including: the “Beyond Tolerance” project on social inclusion/exclusion, regional training on ASEAN advocacy, capacity building initiatives for civil society organisations (CSOs) in Burma/Myanmar, the Roles of Countries of Origin Project, Special Economic Zone Project, Migrants in Agriculture research project, Migrants’ Voice Project, and the planned launching of a new webpage. This was followed by discussion on the MMN’s regional and international advocacy, including through the ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) and ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) and the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and related processes in relation to the Global Compact on Migration (GSM). The discussion was led by Mr Brahm Press, the MMN Steering Committee member and Ms Reiko Harima, MMN Regional Coordinator.
To develop a better understanding of migration in the region, one representative each from Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Yunnan/ China, Thailand and Vietnam delivered a presentation on the migration trends and policies of their respective countries as well as the challenges confronting migrants and CSOs. Participants then broke into three groups to develop MMN’s plan of action regarding information monitoring and research, regional and international advocacy, and capacity building. The General Conference concluded with the election of a new Steering Committee, which comprises of:
- Burma/Myanmar: Ms. Thet Thet Aung, Future Light Centre (FLC)
- Cambodia: Ms. Pok Panhavichetr, Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center (CWCC)
- China: Ms. Han Jialing, Migrant Workers’ Education and Action Research Centre (MWEAC)
- Lao PDR: Vacant Seat
- Thailand: Mr. Brahm Press, MAP Foundation
- Vietnam: Ms. Duong Thi Viet Anh, Centre For Development and Integration (CDI)
- Ms. Reiko Harima, on behalf of the MMN Secretariat (ex-officio member)
At the GC, MMN thanked the outgoing Steering Committee–Mr. Brahm Press (re-elected), Ms. Trang Thu Hoang, Mrs. Chhan Sokunthea, Ms. Han Jialing (re-elected), Ms. Oulavanh Sinsamphanh, and Mr. Htoo Chit–for its work in strengthening the network.