Thank you Mr Chairman,
Director-General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates
We welcome the opportunity to take the floor at this 106th session of the IOM Council and we join others in welcoming the countries who have just become members of the organisation and I would like to congratulate you, Chair, on your election as well.
At the outset, I would like to extend our appreciation to the Director-General for his continued strong leadership of the Organisation. The clear direction he has set is reflected in the hard work and dedication shown by IOM staff, many of whom are working in difficult and dangerous places. The UK enjoys a close and fruitful cooperation with the IOM in the successful delivery of a range of migration-related projects. We work together on these in many locations and are especially grateful to IOM colleagues for their contribution, in particular the assistance and protection they provide to vulnerable migrants, regardless of their status.
I would in particular like to express my Government’s sincere thanks for IOM’s assistance to the UK’s Syrian refugee resettlement programme. We especially appreciated the way the organisation was able to mobilize quickly in helping us to meet the initial resettlement target of 1000 refugees by this Christmas and we count on IOM helping us to reach our longer term target of resettling 20,000 refugees in due course.
This has been a particularly challenging year for humanitarian response, with the effects of various crises having had an impact on nearly every country. The IOM has played a major part in responding to the situations in North Africa and Syria, amongst others, and we look to the organisation to continue its role as a leading global provider of safe migration solutions for all. The leadership the IOM took in scaling up its efforts in response to these emergencies is to be commended.
The huge increase we have seen this year in migratory flows across the Mediterranean is obviously a major concern and an issue that we need to continually address together. We believe that one of the only sustainable means of addressing the problem is to dissuade migrants from making perilous journeys in the first place, which means taking concrete action in countries of origin and transit that creates safe, stable and prosperous environments in affected regions. In this regard, we are pleased to see that IOM will be a major partner in taking forward actions from the recent Valletta Summit, and look we forward to working together on the implementation of this agenda.
The UK welcomes IOM’s continued progress in implementing the Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF), as well as the development of IOM’s Principles for Humanitarian Action in providing further clarity on how projects are conducted. We would also like to acknowledge IOM’s continued commitment in its role as the Global Cluster Lead for the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster (CCCM). The IOM’s efforts to address gender concerns, both through its own policies –for example, IOM’s new Gender and Equality Policy - and as a member of the UK’s ‘Call to Action to Protect Women and Girls in Emergencies’, is an example to all other organisations.
The UK is also supporting IOM’s valuable work to collect statistical information on migration factors, particularly from the Displacement Tracking Matrix, and we look forward to seeing the analytical output of this work. As the DG highlighted in his statement, this work will be vital in enabling us to understand better migrant flows and to plan and prepare our response in a more coherent and robust manner. We encourage IOM to continue its efforts and work in cooperation with other organisations with expertise in this area.
Whilst acknowledging that there are many good initiatives underway, the UK would also like to see continued progress in IOM’s focus on results and improving monitoring and evaluation, so that lessons learned can systematically inform the design of new projects and IOM’s overall strategic direction.
In the multilateral arena, we value the active and useful contribution which the IOM made to the post-2015 framework for development and were pleased to see that human mobility and migration is addressed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We believe the IOM will be an important partner in transforming the commitments into concrete actions and we welcome IOM’s engagement in the upcoming preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit for a more effective and efficient humanitarian system, particularly in relation to forced displacement.
We would also like to take this opportunity to say we look forward to working closely with the Director-General as he embarks on conversations with the UN Deputy Secretary-General to look at improving the relationship between the UN and the IOM. We hope that any conversations will ensure that IOM’s most valued assets are kept in place, namely its flexibility, independence and its ability to respond rapidly quickly when working in the field.
We appreciate this opportunity to take part in discussions of the current and future challenges faced by the Organisation and its members. I would like to conclude by again thanking IOM staff around the world for their continued commitment to the organisation and for their efforts to provide safe and humane migration to all, in often demanding and dangerous conditions.