Statement at IOM's 101st Council Session

Statement made at IOMs 101st Council Session

27. - 30. November 2012

Mr Chair,

Let me first welcome the new members and observers. We live in a time when people are increasingly on the move, for a variety of reasons. It is against this backdrop that IOM has an important role in assisting migrants and member states.

The IOMs constitution has a provision on how the organization should be a forum for states and organisations to exchange views and experiences, promote cooperation and coordination of efforts on international migration issues. To fulfil this role, it is of outmost importance HOW the IOM relates to its members, among them, states affected by large-scale migration.  The IOM must ensure that its processes are timely, transparent and inclusive towards all member states.

The Director General has made a comprehensive report and presentation to the Council. Let me first say that Norway appreciates the work done on human resource reform, budget reform and structural reform. I would like to underline the importance Norway attaches to one of the outstanding goals mentioned by the Director General, namely gender. IOM has made positive strides to institutionalize and mainstream gender into its planning and action. A clear gender policy that underpins every aspect of the organisations work is fundamental for success. We are encouraged by the work done and are confident that the Director General and his staff will continue to have this high on the agenda.

IOM is needed as an efficient partner in crisis situations that leads to migration.  The Emergency Fund established by IOM could be a vital instrument to assure that the organisation is able to act quickly and accordingly when crisis occur. We recognize the need for this mechanism in order to fill a gap in humanitarian emergency operations; and would support it, depending on it having a wide range of partners contributing.

The use of funds as a financing mechanism is very much in line with Norwegian humanitarian policy focusing on emergency funds and less on earmarked contributions.

Norway was instrumental in establishing the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and has been among the largest donors since its establishment in 2006. As of 15 November this year, IOM had received 43,6 million dollars from the UN funds this year, of which half from the CERF. This made the organisation the sixth largest receiver of allocations from the UN-funds. This again shows the importance of IOM in humanitarian crisis situations.

The recent five years evaluation of CERF underlined the importance of speeding up the disbursement of CERF funds through the agencies to actual implementation on the ground, particularly when the CERF funds are channelled to NGOs. We know that IOM has taken certain steps to reduce the administrative procedures and would like to know how IOM can make disbursement of CERF funds even more efficient and effective, also when working through NGOs.

Mr. Chair,

The relationship between climate change and migration is complex and does not lend itself easily to safe predictions, be it within or across borders, forced or voluntary. It requires further research and increased attention.  

For this reason Norway and Switzerland have, together with Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines, initiated a process of consultation and research called the Nansen Initiative. Its aim is to build a sound knowledge base on cross-border displacement in the context of natural disasters, and to begin building a better understanding and consensus on key principles and elements regarding the protection of persons affected. . We welcome IOMs involvement in this process.

IOM is the main operational partner for Norway in relation to assisted voluntary return, both on the general program and the country specific programs. It is crucial that IOM operates in a way that ensures assisted voluntary return taking place in an orderly manner, and in consultation with the authorities in the receiving countries. There is need for even closer cooperation in regard to return and reintegration of refugees, given the often limited local networks IOM has in the receiving countries - networks that are important for the reintegration of returnees in their local communities. This is an issue that should be further explored.    

Mr Chair,

We support IOM in further strengthening its cooperation with members and relevant UN agencies. We underline our partnership with the IOM and its members, and look forward to working with you in preparation for the High Level dialogue 2013.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.