DAVAO, 21 February 2017 – ASEAN is moving a step closer to the finalisation of the draft ASEAN instrument to implement the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers (Cebu Declaration). At the ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Retreat on 19-20 February in Davao City, Philippines, ten ASEAN Member States worked together in the spirit of ASEAN consensus. They agreed on almost all aspects of the three principal issues of the draft ASEAN instrument.

The retreat signifies a strong joint effort to finalise the draft ASEAN instrument by April 2017 as agreed by the ASEAN Labour Ministers last year. A retreat of ASEAN Senior Labour Officials was planned for mid-March 2017 to fine tune and finalise the pending articles. The finalisation of the ASEAN instrument is one of the main outcome documents expected under the Philippines’ Chairmanship of ASEAN this year, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and the 10th anniversary of the Cebu Declaration.

While the draft ASEAN instrument is being finalised, ASEAN Member States continued to implement the Cebu Declaration since 2007 through various joint projects and activities including the annual ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour that provides a dialogue platform among governments, trade unions, employers’ associations and civil society organisations in the region.