Building on the 2020 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, in 2021 IOM’s approach encompasses life-saving assistance and response to humanitarian needs, initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on migrants and societies, as well as support to recovery and resilience integrating longer-term sustainable development planning.
Inform response and recovery efforts by tracking the impact of COVID-19 on human mobility and strengthen evidence-based decision-making through data
Evidence-based information and data are essential elements required to inform the response and recovery efforts of the UN System and governments.
Evidence-based information and data are essential elements required to inform the response and recovery efforts of the UN System and governments. IOM will contribute to reaching this objective and will:
- Monitor and assess the situation and needs of migrants, displaced populations, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other crisis affected populations inside and outside camps or camp-like settings impacted by COVID-19, ensuring their needs are taken into account in the overall response.
- Enhance relevant data collection tools and methods to support partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO), health authorities, and clusters/sectors and inter-cluster/ inter-sector coordination mechanisms, facilitating better data exchange and having evidence-based response and assistance.
IOM will promote knowledge of the impact of COVID-19 in the following activity areas:
- Monitor, analyze, and report on international travel restrictions, changes in immigration and visa procedures, labour mobility and visa related measures, and public health related mobility measures being imposed by/and on countries globally.
- Enhance country level mobility restrictions mapping for points of entry and in-country locations with restrictive measures in place, and report on different points assessed.
IOM will continue to track the impact of COVID-19 on human mobility and promote collection of information in the following ways:
- Conduct surveys, assessment and studies on the impact of COVID-19 on population and societies in different contexts, particularly on the situation of migrants, displaced populations and other vulnerable groups in critical policy areas to leverage human mobility for transition and inclusive and sustainable recovery, including through disaggregated data.
- Strengthen migration data gathering systems to ensure continuity of data collection, enhancement of analysis and forecasting capacities of governments and other partners for COVID-19 recovery.
Mitigate the longer-term socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, contribute to restarting human mobility and empower societies for self-reliance
IOM will focus its interventions under this objective to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on migrants, displaced persons and communities, promote social cohesion by using conflict sensitive approaches and empower societies to recover better. In doing so, IOM will also promote more durable approaches to address the barriers to solutions for the displaced as well as safe and regular migration, considering the important role of migrants in socioeconomic recovery.
IOM will support the strengthening of international mobility systems and labour migration partnerships and will:
- Include public health considerations into Integrated and Coordinated Border Management approaches, training and tools and humanitarian border management programming in support of safe and inclusive cross-border human mobility; support to regularization procedures with appropriate public health measures.
- Enhance access to regular migration pathways impacted by COVID-19 by adapting processing capacities and providing resources to ensure timely support for all migrant groups; address misinformation and vulnerabilities exacerbated by the pandemic, including those related to immigration and visa systems. Support the post-pandemic recovery of global mobility through the accelerated digitalization of admission and stay procedures, with a focus on inclusive solutions and assistance for migrants in vulnerable situations.
- Support skills-based labour mobility schemes and cooperation, addressing gaps revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic with a particular focus on workers in essential sectors; strengthen linkages between pre- and post-arrival migrant orientation and training services; advocacy and support with the development of long-term policy solutions and cooperation mechanisms for labour migration and skills mobility arrangements for socio-economic recovery, ensuring respect for international human and labour rights standards and the principles of ethical recruitment.
In order to achieve long-term recovery and contribute to sustainable development and strengthen the resilience of affected populations, IOM will focus its interventions to:
- Facilitate cross-border trade through capacity development, upgrade of border infrastructure and support to cross- border traders to maintain essential flow of people and goods at borders; engage the private sector and other relevant stakeholders to promote ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers throughout recovery efforts; promote the health and well-being of migrant workers during recruitment and migration, including through access to social protection and rights protection.
- Support diaspora engagement and mobilization for recovery, in cooperation with governments and other partners; support entrepreneurship and youth empowerment through mentorship and donations; support policies to keep remittances flowing and ensure migrants’ access to financial and digital services.
- Provide policy support and capacity development to national/ local governments to ensure migrants are part of recovery planning and implementation, including policy solutions for upskilling and reskilling of migrants and promotion of multi- stakeholder engagement on inclusive recovery policies.
- Support (re)integration and social cohesion to diverse communities to recover from COVID-19 and connect returnees with local economies, while addressing their social and psychosocial needs, at individual, community and structural level.
- Support micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to rapidly resume operations and generate job opportunities, combined with access to education and skills development to adapt to local contexts and needs and promote durable solutions and community stabilization in nascent industries responding to the COVID-19 response.
IOM will also promote more durable approaches to address the barriers to solutions for the displaced in the following ways:
- Strengthen the relationship between local governments and communities to contribute to mitigating the likelihood of rising tensions or conflict related to COVID-19.
- Build trust among communities and local stakeholders through communication, messaging and reconciliation platforms for COVID-19 interventions in areas where local governments, especially health services, lack the necessary trust by the local population to be effective.
- Counter rumors and misinformation associated with the virus, as well as negative sentiments against vulnerable groups.
- Strengthen trust and participation in border communities to strengthen preparedness and response capacities.
IOM will contribute to mitigating the impact of the virus with particular focus on the most vulnerable through the provision of life-saving essential health-care services, such as routine immunization, and by strengthening health systems, including enhancing the integration of health and border management systems to prevent, detect and respond to COVID-19 (and other public health threats) at points of entry. Further, IOM will support vaccination efforts and advocate for migrant inclusion – regardless of legal status – in vaccine planning and roll-out, including in humanitarian settings.
IOM will address health threats in the following ways:
- Enhance existing disease surveillance systems, including community event-based surveillance, particularly among border communities, points of entry, migrant dense areas and displacement sites. IOM will also support national and local authorities to conduct participatory mapping exercises to identify high-risk transmission mobility corridors and areas.
- Promote risk communication and community engagement activities ensuring that mobility is properly considered in public health and hygiene messaging and that migrants and mobile communities have access to timely, context-specific and correct information through communication with communities, cross-border community-level awareness raising and feedback along mobility corridors, points of entry, displacement sites, fragile communities, and among existing migrant and mobile population networks.
- Ensure continuity of essential health care, including COVID-19 case management and mental health care, through the provision of life-saving primary health services, the procurement of critical medicines and medical supplies and the improvement of infrastructure, particularly in locations with existing humanitarian needs.
- Procure personal protective equipment and other infection prevention and control critical items for health and clinical settings.
- Support enhanced national diagnostics capacity for detection of COVID-19, such as through the provision of trainings, and operational support for packaging and transfer of laboratory samples, including both national and cross-border support.
- Assist national and local authorities at priority points of entry (POE) – through active surveillance, including health screenings, referrals, data collection, capacity development for health and immigration/border officials, and improvement of border infrastructure (including WASH infrastructure).
- Contribute to the UN’s First Line of Defence framework to support UN personnel and their dependents through monitoring and treatment of COVID-19 patients, primary care for non-COVID-19 patients, testing and referral for higherlevel care, including hospitalization and medical evacuation when needed as well as COVID-19 vaccinations.
IOM will support vaccination efforts and will:
- Assist the vaccine supply chain management through procurement and provision of dry storage, cold chain equipment and transportation.
- Support the direct implementation of vaccine delivery through mass vaccination campaigns and routine vaccination, including roll-out of systems to report adverse effects, support to health worker incentives, refresher trainings, and rental of vehicles and other transport costs.
- Conduct social mobilization activities, including community dialogue, feedback mechanisms, production of IEC materials and campaigns to raise awareness on COVID-19 vaccines and combat hesitancy in communities of concern, in coordination with health partners and government officials.
- Enhance vaccination data management and quality through use of digital data collection tools, and support for collecting, inputting and analyzing the data.
- Monitor access to vaccines for migrants – regardless of legal status - and other vulnerable populations in order to advocate for inclusion in national vaccination planning and implementation.
IOM will advocate for migrant inclusion in the following fields:
- Support the recovery and strengthening of resilient health systems, with the aim to move from the provision of essential services, including mental health and psychosocial support, to comprehensive health services through the improvement of infrastructure, increase of health capacity and development of policy and pilot schemes that ensure an inclusive health system recovery.
- Strengthen health workforce mobility and engagement of the diaspora for human resources for health, including via telemedicine, health worker training/retraining, virtual consultations and transfer of knowledge.
Ensure continuation of essential services, mitigate risks and protect displaced persons, mobile populations and host communities
IOM will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on crisis-affected populations and alleviate the pressure on social protection systems by providing life-saving humanitarian support and protection assistance for migrants and displaced populations, as well as host communities, and addressing the risks of people on the move.
In order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on affected populations IOM will:
- Assess the demographics of crisis-affected populations, map available services and upgrade reception areas, migrant transit centers, displacement sites and camp-like settings to reduce transmission of the disease. This includes the decongestion of sites and improvement to the partitioning in crowded environments, the establishment/improvement of quarantine isolation centers in sites and establishment of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services for crisis-affected populations.
- Provide adequate infection prevention and control (IPC) supplies and services, including hygiene items and other personal protective equipment (PPE), to displaced populations to prevent or limit transmission of the disease. IOM will also contribute to the replenishment of non-food items (NFI) common pipeline mechanisms.
- Mainstream COVID-19 measures in mitigation, prevention and preparedness planning, including community-based disaster risk management to protect displacement-affected and at-risk communities that are impacted by COVID-19 and simultaneously vulnerable to other disasters and the negative impacts of climate change.
IOM will reach this objective through the following activities:
- Ensure the continuation and provision of essential services and life-saving assistance to displaced populations, migrants, including stranded migrants and people in mixed flows, and other vulnerable populations, such as crisis affected populations and victims of human rights violations, in locations with compounding pre-COVID-19 humanitarian needs. Interventions will ensure sound communications, feedback and awareness mechanisms about availability of services. In line with humanitarian programming, activities include, but are not limited to, improvements to WASH facilities in line with COVID-19 measures, shelter support, inclusive of rental subsidies for those at risk in areas of high transmission, site improvements, care and maintenance interventions in displacement sites and crowded urban locations, distribution of food and NFI and other humanitarian assistance needed.
- Strengthen site-level coordination and management structures with service providers on site, including through remote modalities in case of reduced access, as well as sustaining community engagement and participation in sites through two-way communications mechanisms.
- Provide access to income-generating opportunities and safety-net cash assistance, including multi-purpose cash-based interventions to displaced populations affected by the impact of the crisis in displacement sites and areas of high mobility to support early recovery and stabilization. IOM will also support affected households with agricultural input activities, including support to critical market systems for seeds, tools, staple crops, livestock, among others, to support rural and isolated populations in need.
IOM will fulfill this objective with the following activities:
- Ensure the continuity of critical protection mechanisms and responses, including cross-border and community-based, to provide urgent protection services, or referrals to appropriate services to those most in need. Direct assistance will include alternative care, family tracing and reunification, case management, return assistance, service provision to persons affected by gender-based violence, and mitigation of risks exacerbated by the COVID-19 measures by enhancing capacities, providing direct assistance and working towards decreasing protection risks.
- Provision of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) self-help tools and services for vulnerable migrants, displaced populations and affected communities, as well as deployment of psychosocial mobile teams linguistically and culturally capable of serving vulnerable populations, including displaced persons, and other forms of remote support including online training.
- Enhance the capacity of government institutions, partners, and national and local responders to strengthen their protection knowledge and skills to assist affected populations in the context of COVID-19, including on protection mainstreaming, psychological first aid, GBV, consular assistance, law enforcement action against traffickers and smugglers, alternative and innovative solutions, and advocacy for prioritization of criteria across national frameworks guaranteeing effective participation of migrants and displaced populations with special consideration for the most vulnerable groups.
- Develop comprehensive protection-focused information, education and communication (IEC) materials and guidance on vulnerabilities and protection needs, including but not limited to, community-based care, establishment of peer support systems and self-care routines, virtual counselling and psychological first aid, human trafficking, and alternatives to detention in the context of COVD-19.
- Promote social cohesion and efforts against discrimination, marginalization and xenophobia, including anti-discrimination/ anti-xenophobia campaigns and community-based programming, to promote peaceful coexistence and dialogue between migrants, displaced populations and host communities.
The map used here is for illustration purposes only. Names and boundaries do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by IOM.
Figures are as of 31 December 2023. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.