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“The integral role migrants play in sustainable development cannot be underestimated”
IOM Director-General Swing addresses UN
IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing, made a dramatic call for Member States at the UN Sustainable Development Summit “to address the causes and consequences of migration in a way that promotes dignified, orderly, and safe migration for the benefit of all.”
Concerted and coherent international partnerships are imperative to achieving this. IOM, as the leading migration agency, will help ensure in partnership with governments, the UN system and civil society, that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s migration targets are achieved, making migration humane and dignified.
Rather than giving voice to negative perceptions of migrants, the international community must challenge anti-migrant sentiments and focus on promoting the positive benefits migration provides to both countries of origin and destination, as described in the 2030 Agenda. Sustainable development can only be achieved with the inclusion of all vulnerable groups. The integral role migrants play in sustainable development cannot be underestimated; migrants must not be left behind.
IOM is committed to assisting governments in meeting these ambitious commitments and as such is developing a Migration Governance Index (MGI) that will help build the capacity of governments to create successful migration policy frameworks and strategies. As the international community seeks to monitor the new Agenda, IOM is in a unique position to gather migration data from its individual Member States, and stands ready to help.
“This Summit should go down in history as a great triumph for humanity. It is now up to the international community as a whole to ensure over the next fifteen years that we achieve these global goals, making the world a better place for all, including migrants,” said Ambassador Swing.
‘Surprising Europe’: The Real Stories Behind Migration to Europe
Diplomatic representatives participated in a Round Table meeting in The Hague organized by IOM in the context of the project ‘Surprising Europe’, a cross-media project to inform potential migrants on the risks and challenges of migrating to Europe. The event offered a platform for discussing effective methods to inform potential migrants about the dangerous journeys to Europe.
Through a documentary, a TV series and community events, ‘Surprising Europe’ shows the real experiences of African migrants in Europe. All reporters are migrants with first-hand experience of coming to Europe, and the series shows the dark and light sides to this serious issue. The 9 part TV-series was broadcast worldwide on Al Jazeera English and on Dutch television.
The project was initiated by Mr. Ssuuna Golooba and production company Witfilm. It was supported by Al-Jazeera, the European Return Fund and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
IOM supported the project by facilitating screenings and debates in countries of origin. At these events the local community, policy makers, media representatives, and other stakeholders are invited to share their opinions, experience, and expertise on the topic. The aim is to share realistic information about the challenges and opportunities connected to migration to Europe.
IOM NL Continues to Train Staff in Civil-Military Exercises
Emergency operations represent IOM’s most visible work around the globe. In order to introduce IOM staff in the Netherlands to real emergency work, six staff members participated in a one-week civil-military exercise. The exercise required full immersion of approximately 2,300 participants into a fictional emergency scenario with many governmental and non-governmental organizations.
This staff training exercise is a repetition of previous IOM NL engagements in joint civil-military exercises.
The role of the IOM staff members was to address issues associated with internally displaced persons (IDPs), such as establishing IDP shelters, provision of supplies, staffing and security, and media relations.
The IOM staff members were given a platform to explore not only IOM’s mandate in emergencies, but also to develop personal and professional skills in a fast-paced, realistic and dynamic setting with limited resources.
Feedback from participants showed a high degree of satisfaction - all found the exercises demanding and extremely useful.
IOM Netherlands Offering New Family Reunification Services
IOM has expanded and improved its family reunification assistance service. From 1 September IOM offers a new flexible service consisting of a pre-departure consultation service which can be combined with travel assistance. This service helps family members collect information concerning travel, travel documents and procedures.
Additionally, IOM offers the traditional flight booking service, accommodation arrangements, assistance with medical cases, social and medical escorts, dedicated services for minors and personal assistance during all travel phases.
With its network of over 480 offices in more than 150 countries, IOM the Netherlands has provided Family Reunification assistance to more than 13.000 individuals since 1995.
For more information, see our website: http://www.iom-nederland.nl/en/resettlement-to-the-netherlands/family-reunification.
Preparing for Valetta - IOM on the Panel in Amsterdam
On 11 and 12 November, the EU and African countries meet in Valletta (Malta) to develop a joint plan for the current migration flows. In preparation for this summit Dutch magazine Vice Versa this month hosts an online discussion (www.viceversaonline.nl), concluding with a live debate on October 30 in Amsterdam in which IOM participates.
The current debate in the media and politics about migration mainly deals with how to reduce the number of migrants. In addition, the tone of the debate is getting tougher. Also there seems to be a lack of attention to the root causes of illegal migration, sustainable approaches and constructive solutions.
The aim of the debate is to create an ‘out of the box’ dialogue, including legal and safe routes for migrants and refugees, the preconditions for a sustainable approach to root causes of migration and the Netherlands' role in this context.
IOM NL Identifying Children at Risk in Frontex Operation VEGA
Between 26 August and 5 October IOM the Netherlands participated in the second phase of the Joint Operation VEGA Children 2015, organized by Frontex, the agency coordinating European border management. The operation took place at nine EU airports. Teams including border guards, experts from international organizations and non-governmental organizations worked together to help identify children who may be victims of trafficking. Two IOM the Netherlands staff participated in the operation, working from Lisbon and Warsaw airport, to observe, advise and assist airport border guard authorities.
During the exercise, the teams helped identify children on the move who are at risk and referred them to welfare and child protection agencies according to operational procedures based on a handbook developed by Frontex. The handbook is the result of years of cooperation between Frontex, border guards, non-governmental agencies and international organizations such as UNHCR and IOM to create a set of guidelines for border guards to help assist children at risk.
More information on the Frontex website.