Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) met virtually today (13/10) to advance their strategic partnership.
“Managing migration requires global solutions and responsibility-sharing. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum recalls the importance of comprehensive and tailor-made partnerships, which must be at the heart of the EU external migration policy. Strengthened cooperation is key to ensuring that migration takes place through safe and regular channels, for the benefit of all. IOM is a key partner in that context,” said Stefano Sannino, Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Political Affairs of the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Added IOM Director General, António Vitorino: “The sound governance of migration relies on international partnerships, comprehensive policy and operational excellence. We are committed to continued cooperation with the EU and partner states in a strategic alliance of shared values. Together, we can realize the opportunities of human mobility and address common challenges with the commitment to leave no one behind.”
Discussions focused on developments in migration policy, including the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the European Commission on 23 September, the implementation of migration policies on the ground, including through migration partnerships and humanitarian work, and the way forward for EU-IOM strategic cooperation.
In July 2012, the EU and IOM established a Strategic Cooperation Framework to enhance collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues. This built on both partners’ shared interest in bringing the benefits of well-managed international migration to migrants and to society. Today’s meeting, the seventh of its kind since the launch of the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework, was one of the high-level discussions that advance cooperation between the two organisations on these issues.
The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Political Affairs of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Stefano Sannino on behalf of the European Union. Director-General António Vitorino and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson represented the IOM. Other senior representatives from the European Commission included Paraskevi Michou, Director-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), Maciej Popowski, Acting Director-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), and Johannes Luchner, Deputy Director-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME).
Together, the EU and its Member States are the largest contributors to IOM’s budget. Between 2015 and 2019, the European Commission and the IOM worked together all over the world through 535 projects with an approximate value of EUR 1.88 billion. The flagship EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, launched in December 2016 with the support of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, and implemented in Africa with the engagement of partner countries, is an example of a multi-region, comprehensive programme that has yielded significant and tangible results.
Since the launch of the Joint Initiative, more than 84,000 migrants have been protected and assisted in returning to their home countries, 97,000 returning migrants have been granted post-arrival reception and reintegration assistance, and more than 25,000 migrants in distress have been assisted through search and rescue operations carried out by IOM in the Sahara desert.
Furthermore, with EU support, IOM has provided humanitarian assistance in 34 countries since 2017.