The UN General Assembly on Tuesday, unanimously adopted a resolution approving an agreement to make the International Organisation for Migration part of the UN as a related organisation, underlining a closer legal and working relationship between them is needed “more than ever”.
“Migration is at the heart of the new global political landscape and its social and economic dynamics. At a time of rowing levels of migration within and across borders, a closer legal and working relationship between the United Nations and IOM is needed more than ever,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement welcoming the Assembly’s decision on Monday IOM, which assisted an estimated 20 million migrants in 2015, is an intergovernmental organisation with more than 9,500 staff and 450 offices worldwide.
Founded in the wake of the World War II to resettle refugees from Europe, the organisation celebrates its 65th anniversary in December of this year.
Highlighting that the approval of the agreement by the governing bodies of both organisations marks a “major milestone in the long-standing and close relationship” between the UN and IOM, the Secretary-General said, adding that the relationship agreement not only formalises this partnership, but also sets out an even closer cooperation between the two organisations while preserving the mandates and responsibilities of other UN organisations and subsidiary organs and agencies in the field of migration.
“The Secretary-General trusts that the relationship agreement will contribute to a more effective global response to the challenges posed by large and sudden population movements. It will help to strengthen the support provided by the United Nations system to Member States in implementing the migration-related elements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the statement said.
“The United Nations and the International Organisation for Migration, recognising the need to work jointly to achieve mutual objectives, and with a view to facilitating the effective exercise of their responsibilities, agree to cooperate closely within their respective mandates and to consult on matters of mutual interest and concern,” said the adopted resolution.
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said the Assembly’s decision to approve the agreement shows the growing strength of the relationship between IOM and the UN. Through the agreement, the UN recognises IOM as an “indispensable actor in the field of human mobility”, IOM said, adding that this includes protection of migrants and displaced people in migration-affected communities, as well as in areas of refugee resettlement and voluntary returns, and incorporates migration in country development plans.
The action paves the way for the agreement to be signed by Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and Swing at the UN Summit for refugees and migrants in September. IOM was granted Permanent Observer status to the UN General Assembly in 1992, and a cooperation agreement between IOM and the UN was signed in 1996.