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Japan donates US$37.9 million to IOM humanitarian operations for 2011

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The Japanese government has committed a total of US$37.9 million in funding for 2011 to support IOM humanitarian services for migrants, migrant producing regions, host communities, returnees and internally displaced people.

The funded projects, in Afghanistan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan and Tanzania, will also provide technical support to increase government capacity to manage increasingly complex migration flows as well as coping with displacement due to natural disasters.

In Sudan, funds will be used to assist communities in the Southern Kordofan and Abyei Areas through the provision of new or rehabilitated water resources to reinvigorate strained livestock operations. The livelihood assistance also seeks to ease tensions between farming communities and nomadic groups over scarce natural resources in the region, which have led to open conflict between the two groups and displacement.

In Kenya, IOM will initiate a series of conflict mitigation and livelihood activities targeting youth in the northern part of the country aimed at minimizing resource-based conflicts in the region and strengthening the capacity of the pastoralist, local migrant and refugee hosting communities to adapt to the increasing direct and indirect impacts of climate change.

A significant portion of the Japanese funding - roughly 25 per cent - will be used to address migrant vulnerability in the Horn of Africa through a range of activities seeking to improve protection for stranded and intercepted migrants and victims of human trafficking as well as provide support to host communities and immigration authorities in addressing emerging migration challenges.

IOM is responding to a request from the Tanzanian government to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Police Departments in managing the growing mixed flow of migrants, including asylum seekers and children from the Horn of Africa and the humanitarian emergency this is creating. Funding will enhance border management capacity including migrant rescue, screening and referral systems.

Japanese funding will support the ongoing re-integration of Rwandan refugees into their home communities through a comprehensive programme focusing on capacity building of national and local government institutions and direct assistance to returnees and other vulnerable groups in the communities.

In Kyrgyzstan, IOM is implementing vocational training projects for multi-ethnic youth groups as well as providing tolerance education to children. The projects seek to address long-standing tensions between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnic groups in the Ferghana Valley related to a variety of factors including isolation between ethnic groups in the south, high unemployment and limited education and which led to violent conflict in 2010.

Funding will also go towards supporting Tajikistan in establishing a disaster response mechanism. The country is one of the poorest in the world with a rugged and mountainous terrain - over 50% of the country lies above 3000 metres - making it prone to landslides, flooding and extreme weather disasters. IOM projects will provide staff training for a newly created Emergency Operations Centre as well as essential equipment and infrastructure support.

Funding for IOM operations in Afghanistan will support continued reintegration and livelihood assistance to returnees, internally displaced persons, and victims of human trafficking (VoTs). IOM will also provide assistance to the Afghan government and to national NGOs in developing a national referral mechanism for the protection of VoTs.

The largest share of the 2011 Japanese funding for IOM projects will be used to assist approximately 450,000 flood affected individuals in Pakistan. Working together with the government of Pakistan and its National Disaster Management Authority and humanitarian partners, IOM will continue to provide crucial shelter and livelihood assistance to flood victims, as well as to restore basic community infrastructure including health and educational services.

"Japan's contribution of nearly US$ 38 million towards IOM operations this year is a testament to a robust and growing partnership in response to global humanitarian and peace building activities as well as the migration challenges facing Japan including migrant integration, human trafficking and refugee resettlement," IOM Director General William Lacy Swing says.

The funding announcement comes shortly before Director General Swing's third official visit to Japan during which he will meet the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as well as delivering a keynote speech at an international workshop on migrant integration organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sophia University and the City of Shinjuku.

For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo, Tel: + 81-3-3595-0108; Email: iomtokyo@iom.int