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Statement at IOM Workshop on Moving to Safety

On April 24 and 25 201, close to 250 representatives of states, international organizations, civil society and academia participated at “Moving to Safety: Migration Consequences of Complex Crises,” an International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) 2012 workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Statement delivered by: Ambassador Steffen Kongstad (in his capacity as moderator for the first session)

On April 24 and 25, close to 250 representatives of states, international organizations, civil society and academia participated at “Moving to Safety: Migration Consequences of Complex Crises,” an International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) 2012 workshop organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IDM was established in 2001 to give relevant actors an informal forum to share views and lessons learned on how various forms of migration are managed. This particular workshop sought to enhance synergies between humanitarian and migration perspectives in the search for appropriate responses to the migration consequences of complex crises.

A number of excellent panellists had been summoned to give presentations based on their expertise, among them Costa Rica’s minister of energy, environment and telecommunications Mr. Castro Salazar, the European Commission’s Director General of Home Affairs, and the Permanent Secretary of Zimbabwe’s ministry of Labour and Social Services. The designated speakers and participants from the floor shared their experiences and views regarding immediate as well as long term responses to internal and cross-border displacement that may result from and further complicate crises. Ambassador Steffen Kongstad moderated the first session of the workshop, which looked at immediate responses to internal displacement, a session which provided an overview of preventive measures, emergency and early recovery response tools, protection and assistance strategies, and legal and institutional frameworks which apply to internal displacement.


Below are the key points the Ambassador made to introduce the session:

Global humanitarian needs have grown substantively. Whilst requests and funding within the appeals process have increased over the last ten-year period, we have seen a gap of 30% of unfunded needs almost every year. In other words, the resources available are insufficient to meet the growing demands. It is thus more important than ever to make the international humanitarian system better equipped to meet current and future challenges. Norway is therefore actively engaged in strengthening the coordination, effectiveness and impact of humanitarian response, based on humanitarian principles.

We are faced with more severe and more complex humanitarian emergencies than ever before. Climate change, new settlement patterns such as migration and urbanisation, and the changing nature of crises underline the importance of taking a precautionary approach to prevent humanitarian crises. Priority should therefore be given to risk reduction and preparedness.

Much of the traditional responses to crises have naturally been given to immediate relief and life saving support to affected populations. However, as we have seen many examples of - not only over the last years but as a historical fact - when a complex crisis manifests, it typically generates disorderly and often forced movements of people, either internally or across borders. This exposes affected populations to significant vulnerabilities.

Population movements prompted by crisis events have lasting implications for societies, economies, development, environments, security and governance. These are dimensions that may extend far beyond the scope of the humanitarian systems and response.

Furthermore it is suggested that it is useful and meaningful to complement the humanitarian preparedness, response and recovery frameworks for complex crises by adding a migration management approach. In examining the crisis response, human mobility should be included. In our search for measures aiming to limit the adverse effects of unplanned, often forced migration on individuals and communities, the role of human mobility as a survival or coping mechanism should be taken into consideration.

The question of access to affected populations is particularly vexing in an internal displacement context brought about by complex crises in which national and local authorities lack adequate capacities and resources or may not have full control over the territory.

Different response mechanisms will also have to be employed depending on the patterns of displacement, especially with respect to the nature of settlement and its location.

In line with the overall purpose of the International Dialogue on Migration we are seeking to stimulate an open and informal debate on new challenges and solutions as regards managing the movement of people and providing assistance and protection in crisis situations. I hope our discussions here today can also be a contribution to dig a little deeper and analyse how internal displacement is linked to other forms of mobility, e.g. evidence of IDPs using rural-urban or international migration strategies to seek safety and livelihoods, but also evidence that IDPs can be more vulnerable to smuggling and trafficking.

We have three excellent speakers who will make introductions to various aspects of these challenges. They will all examine how our responses to crises can benefit from including a broader set of tools and enhance synergies between the humanitarian and migration perspectives in responses to crises.