Message from IOM Director General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing
Picture a scene at International Aid Headquarters in Erbil Iraq: A family has been waiting for hours in the hot sun. They need some basic information about the “who, when, where” of an aid distribution…but communication has broken down, because the guard is unable to help. He doesn’t know how to engage upward to his superiors to find an answer, nor directly to the needy—and that is how missions fail to meet their goals.
Scenes like this are all too common in the many intractable humanitarian crises found across the globe. Sadly, despite our common commitment to be more accountable to people affected by crises, the very people we are committed to helping, we often fall short.
That’s what the mother and child standing patiently in Erbil are telling us.
In the face of the rise of unprecedented and concurrent humanitarian crises with their heavy toll, IOM sees a key role for humanitarian workers to better engage communities, like the one the family in Erbil come from, with the ultimate aim of saving and protecting lives in a humane and principled manner.
Being an operational and field-based organization IOM also recognizes the fact that the crucial humanitarian work is done at the field level and largely depends on a collaborative effort between States, partners, and the local communities.
‘Inspiring humanity’ is a fitting theme of this year’s World Humanitarian Day, and IOM fully echoes the need for greater engagement from all actors: Political leaders, Intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and communities themselves in ensuring a humane response to those who seek our help.
The current negative rhetoric and narrative concerning migration and mobility issues as a result of grave humanitarian crises needs to be corrected and IOM believes that joint advocacy and programming can contribute to this goal.
Next year the world is redoubling its efforts to global advocacy on humanitarian issues as part of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. IOM has chosen seven key themes which link its humanitarian work and the summit’s thematic areas:
• Humanitarian action and the role of the diaspora
• Assisting mobile populations
• Migrants in crisis
• Humanitarian border management
• Protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA)
• Urbanization and migrants in cities
IOM’s development of its Principles for Humanitarian Action (PHA), Protection Mainstreaming, and Durable Solutions policies are testament to the Organization’s commitment to ensuring that humanitarian principles are integrated into IOM programming and interventions.
Holding the first ever IOM NGO Humanitarian Consultations this past June with the support of the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) was a timely initiative. The frank and open discussion dedicated solely to humanitarian issues with NGO partners allowed for inspiring exchanges and joint solutions for humanitarian programming.