Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative Guidelines Put Theory into Practice
DHAKA: Sharing early implementation stories, the participants at Sunday’s Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative event showed how practical applications of the MICIC Guidelines are already leading to better preparedness in countries with an important migrant presence.
“Migrants are generally invisible in crises. The MICIC Initiative Guidelines are an important step forward for the international community to better assist migrants who have ended up in a crisis situation,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing during the event. “The Initiative is a great example of how a committed group of States can work together with a broad range of partners to build consensus and make progress on an issue of global concern,” he added.
The MICIC initiative was first launched in 2014 to help governments better respond to the needs of migrants affected by natural or manmade crisis. Two years later, in June this year, the initiative launched the “Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster”. Sunday’s MICIC side event at the 9th Global Forum for Migration and Development in Dhaka was the first glance at the practical implementation of the Guidelines as experienced by the panelists.
The implementation examples included training materials for officials in the front line of disaster response of both countries of origin and destination, developed through IOM’s capacity building program funded by the Government of the United States. Tools developed and piloted through this program include a Travel Advice Smartphone App to communicate more effectively with migrants in emergencies, an e-learning platform for consular staff to strengthen their emergency management capacity, and a training course for actors in host countries on integrating migrants in their emergency preparedness, response and recovery work.
“It is very important to strengthen the capacity for peer to peer exchange between consular staff, as the first responders in any crisis,” said panellist Malin Frankenhaeuser, presenting the capacity building program led by ICMPD in support of the implementation of the Guidelines.
Many of the event participants felt that the MICIC Guidelines are a good base to the broader discussion just starting around the Global Compact on Migrants and Refugees. It was stated that continuing the discussion both at the Global Compact but also during many Regional Consultative Processes would allow the participating governments to look deeper into how the Guidelines can help address the vulnerability of migrants more broadly.
The inclusive process led by the MICIC Initiative consulting extensively with all key stakeholders —States, international organizations, private sector actors, civil society, including migrants and diaspora – ensured broad appreciation and support for the Guidelines among relevant stakeholders as highlighted by Mpilo Shange-Buthane representing Amnesty International.
Participants in the event included:
William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, IOM; Rico Fos, Minister, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN in Geneva; Jessica Yutacom, Programs Team Leader, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, USA; Malin Frankenhaeuser, Program Manager for Migration and Development, ICMPD; Mpilo Shange-Buthane, Executive Director, Amnesty International, South Africa. The event was moderated by Michele Klein Solomon, Senior Policy Adviser to the IOM Director General.
In 2014 at the GFMD in Stockholm, the Governments of the Philippines and the United States launched a State-led initiative to address the impact of crises – conflicts and natural disasters – on migrants. The co-chairs were joined by a working group comprising the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia; the European Commission; the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration; the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD); and the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM). IOM serves as the Secretariat for the MICIC initiative.