IOM Humanitarian NGO Consultations

On 13 June 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the support of the NGO consortium of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), hosted the second annual one-day meeting with humanitarian NGO partners on humanitarian action concerning displaced populations and other migrants.

Opening remarks were recorded and presented by William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM.  Ambassador Swing reminded NGOs that: “While refugee status is a central aspect of ensuring protection, we must also acknowledge that other migrants are also owed protections under human rights and other relevant law – they too have immediate needs to be addressed.”[1]

An overview of IOM/NGO humanitarian partnership in 2015-2016 followed. Presentations included an update on IOM’ s Principles for Humanitarian Action (PHA), post World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) outcomes and commitments, Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative Principles, Guidelines and Practices, and a recap and progress towards last years’ agreed action points.

The focus of this year’s Consultation was on three critical issues:

  1. Enhancing cooperation, collaboration and dialogue between IOM and humanitarian NGOs,
  2. The various dimensions of the large scale movements of migration and refugees, and
  3. Changing the public narrative and negative perception of refugees and other migrants[2]

The second issue was addressed by panelists in a session entitled: Lead-up to the UNGA High-Level Meeting on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.  Eva Sandis,  Past Chair, and a current Executive Committee Member of the NGO Committee on Migration, served on the panel. The panelists spoke about taking a more comprehensive look at the various dimensions of the migration and refugee issue, the process and ways to join efforts, and space for civil society, including joint actions, opportunities and challenges. IOM’s coverage of the event includes a photo of the panel: facilitator  Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of  Terre des Hommes International Federation,  Eva, and John K. Bingham, Head of Policy at ICMC, as they  display  bright yellow copies of the “5 Year – 8 Point Plan of Action”[3] that global civil society adopted in 2013 as its agenda for change and collaboration, including with governments.

In closing the Consultations, ICVA’s Executive Director Nan Buzard summarized, “Of all the issues discussed, there is one clear theme running throughout: the power of complementarity:  complementarity in advocacy, in policy development, in emergency response, in partnering with frontline responders and investing in capacity.”[4]

While the final report on the IOM NGO Consultations is not available yet, the agenda from the meeting can be accessed on the ICVA Network website and can be written to for additional information.