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IOM sets out five-year strategy

5 February 20240 comments

The United Nations’ migration agency IOM has recently released its five year strategic plan as global migration reaches record levels.

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) says the plan is aimed at delivering on the promise of safe, orderly, and regular migration while supporting the world’s most vulnerable.

It will guide the agency’s activities through 2028 and was developed after extensive internal consultations, including with migrants themselves, and with member states, partners and other United Nations agencies.

“The evidence is overwhelming that migration benefits communities around the globe, yet climate change, conflict and growing inequality are making the migration landscape more complex and challenging,” said IOM’s Director General Amy Pope said.

Speaking at the plan’s launch event in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, Ms Pope said: “This plan is designed to meet those challenges so migration can be a full and powerful force for development, prosperity and progress.”

The strategic plan sets out three overarching goals. They are: saving lives and protecting people on the move, a core function of IOM’s broad and global humanitarian work; driving solutions to displacement, with IOM combining its data and expertise to proactively address crises before they get wider and more expensive, and; facilitating pathways for regular migration, which will help migration become safer and more orderly and dismantle the incentives for smuggling, trafficking, exploitation, and abuse.

The plan emphasises reducing the risks and impacts of climate change, which evidence shows is now the top driver of migration.

It also aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, because migration is integral to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The launch of the plan was staged in Chad, a nation facing many of the complex migration trends IOM is attempting to address.

Conflict in neighbouring Sudan has displaced more than seven million people, many of whom have fled to Chad. This displacement, magnified by the effects of climate change and entrenched poverty, is a significant humanitarian crisis that needs much greater global attention.

The plan focuses on applying innovative thinking and technology to help migrants, their families, communities, and societies flourish.

“There is not a corner of the globe that is not touched by, or is in some way invested in, the issue of migration,” Ms Pope said.

“This new Strategic Plan enables IOM to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow while enabling us to continue to do what we do best: help people in need,” she said.

Ms Pope became head of IOM late last year. At the time, she set out an agenda for her five year term that that focused on climate, more regular pathways for migrants and partnerships, particularly with the private sector.

“I am starting with climate. We know already that there are millions of people displaced each year as a result of climate impacts, and we know that hundreds of millions more live in extremely climate vulnerable communities,” said Ms Pope, a former US bureaucrat.

“My goal is to ensure that we, as an organisation, are well positioned to not only respond to climate disasters but to start to anticipate and work with communities to adapt to what is coming. That is an underdeveloped line of work, but it will be increasingly important when we look at what factors are displacing communities,” she said.