The International Organization for Migration is an essential and established international actor in the field of human mobility. IOM supports those on the move and at risk of, or otherwise impacted by, crisis and displacement, developing effective responses to the shifting dynamics of migration. In support of its Member States, IOM is a key source of advice on migration policy and practice. The Organization works in fragile and crisis situations, protecting and developing the resilience of all those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis as well as strengthening capacity within governments to manage mobility and its impacts.
IOM’s crisis response work is guided by the newly launched IOM Strategic Vision: 2019–2023: Setting a course for IOM. It is aligned with IOM’s Migration Governance Framework, and the associated Migration Crisis Operational Framework which elaborates on the mobility dimensions of crisis. The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a key reference document for IOM, offering a framework for setting priorities with those states who have adopted the Compact.
IOM Strategic Vision 2019 – 2023: Setting a Course for IOM
The Strategic Vision represents the Organization’s reflection on its needs and priorities, based on a landscape assessment of what the next decade will bring, articulating how IOM as an organization needs to develop over the next five years in order to meet new and emerging responsibilities. The three pillars of the Strategic Vision set out a series of strategic priorities:
• Resilience: IOM will need to prepare for higher numbers of people moving in and out of situations of vulnerability, stemming from a range of complex drivers, including climate change, instability, poverty and exploitation. IOM will endeavour to take a long-term and holistic approach to emergency response, integrating development objectives and acknowledging changing drivers and vulnerabilities.
• Mobility: The ways in which people move are constantly changing. As migration dynamics evolve, so must the tools that manage movement, whether relating to selection, identification, entry, stay or return. In this regard, IOM will pursue innovative approaches to the design and implementation of systems to manage migration, based on its existing knowledge of what works, where, and for whom, and specific regional and political contexts.
• Governance: IOM is already an important partner for Member States in terms of delivering services to migrants that governments cannot deliver themselves. However, with the adoption of the Global Compact, there is a new opportunity for IOM to support participating governments to build capacity for the governance of migration and the provision of assistance to migrants, and to build stronger cooperation with other United Nations agencies. This requires more strategic partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders and partners, and the development of robust research, analysis and data collection capacities, to support decision-making in an often difficult space.
Complementing the provision of life-saving responses to crises, IOM simultaneously works to address the underlying drivers and longer-term consequences of crises and displacement as well as undertakes pre-emptive preparedness and risk reduction interventions. This approach aligns with IOM’s commitment to strengthen the humanitarian, development and peace nexus, as outlined in IOM’s Strategic Vision and the New Way of Working, maximizing impacts by bringing the diverse elements of IOM’s work together on the ground.
Stemming from the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the Agenda for Humanity sets out five major areas for action and change, the five Core Responsibilities, that are essential to address and reduce humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability. As a signatory to the Grand Bargain, IOM is committed under each of the workstreams and is an active participant in a range of related multi-stakeholder groups. This Platform is an expression of IOM’s commitment in relation to operationalizing the Humanitarian-Development Nexus, financial transparency and accountability, and multi-year planning and financing.
IOM remains committed to the core values and principles that are at the heart of its work, including the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, including upholding human rights for all. Respect for the rights, dignity and well-being of migrants remains paramount.
The UN Migration Network, for which IOM is the coordinator and secretariat, is a gateway to stronger partnership with a broad range of actors, including UN Agencies, civil society, the private sector, local and national government, academia and the media.
IOM is committed to Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC policy on protection and engagement on the Centrality of Protection, as well as to ) improving the effectiveness of principled humanitarian action and to strengthen accountability across the humanitarian system, from the country level – including as a member of humanitarian country teams – to the regional and global levels, as an active participant in IASC-led processes and initiatives. IOM has been designated by the IASC as Camp Coordination and Camp Management cluster lead in crises induced by natural disaster, and is the lead of many other clusters at the country level.
Related IOM Policies, Frameworks and Guidance
In recent years, IOM has developed a number of crisis-relevant policies, frameworks and guidance, built on its global operational experience and aligned to international standards. An addendum to the 2012 Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF), was finalized in 2021, supporting the operationalization of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus and reinforcing IOM’s people centered-approach. IOM is committed to ensuring that the needs and rights of individuals and communities are at the core of its operations, and it is to these populations whom IOM’s humanitarian and other crisis-related work is accountable. IOM's crisis-relevant strategic documents are available from dedicated pages of IOM’s Emergency Manual, which provides up-to-date content and sharing of current guidance with partners and stakeholders. Please visit the Frameworks section of the Emergency Manual to learn more.
The following cross-cutting issues ensure that IOM programming is evidence-based, equitable, accountable and responsible.
Data and Evidence
Data and evidence is the backbone of all crisis response. In line with IOM's Migration Data Strategy, IOM has extensive data collection capacities and further draws on other available data sources, with due respect for privacy and data protection. All sectors of assistance should consider how data should be collected and used to inform responses, capacitate national systems and strengthen partnerships, including through joint assessments, in order to translate data into insight and action across all sectors.
Humanitarian protection principles must be mainstreamed across IOM actions in crisis contexts, including by working to minimize any unintended negative consequences (do no harm) and prioritizing the safety and dignity of the affected individuals and communities; ensuring meaningful access to aid and services without discrimination; (fostering participation and empowerment and holding IOM accountable to affected populations, thus contributing to the respect and fulfilment of rights. Protection mainstreaming includes IOM’s commitments to mainstream GBV prevention and response and ensure disability inclusion, as well as reflecting IOM’s commitments related to Accountability to Affected Populations and Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA).
IOM strongly believes that gender considerations are fundamental to upholding human dignity and the well-being of all migrants,19 in particular in crisis-affected contexts. To this end, IOM promotes the integration of gender sensitive approaches in all its crisis programming20, including through applying a gender equality and women’s participation approach across all stages and sectors of the humanitarian programming cycle; integrating measures to address needs and promote participation of all people of concern in a manner that consistently promotes gender equality as central towards achieving sustainable development; and supporting the principles of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, in particular in relation to women’s active leadership and participation in peacebuilding, community stabilization, disarmament and transitional justice programming.
Disaster Risk and Climate Change
Reducing disaster risk and adapting to climate change are essential to achieving sustainable development in all settings. Across all Sectors of Assistance, potential impacts on fragile environments and the sustainability of interventions must be considered, requiring efforts to mitigate hazards, reduce vulnerability, avoid risk and build resilience to future shocks and stressors.
Law and Policy
IOM supports States to develop and implement policies and related legislative frameworks and governance structures, to promote and adhere to applicable international, regional and national laws, norms and standards across all MCOF sectors of assistance. Work under each sector should understand, adhere to and be guided by the policy and legislative environment. Government legal and policy frameworks and service provision, such as through health and social protection systems, are also central to longer term equitable engagement and inclusion of crisis-affected individuals and communities, and supports States in upholding their responsibility to protect and assist crisis-affected persons residing on their territory.