Norway is providing NOK 30 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which coordinates United Nations migration activities. Part of the funding will provide support to humanitarian efforts by IOM to inform migrants and other vulnerable groups about Covid-19 infection prevention and to provide them with related health services and clean water.
‘We are providing most of this funding as a core contribution without earmarking, so that IOM itself can define what needs are most pressing,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide. ‘Almost all of IOM’s operations are project funded, but the important organisational work needed by IOM to address new challenges must be funded in other ways. We contribute to that through our core funding.’
At a time when IOM is undergoing an important restructuring, the pandemic poses new organisational challenges to IOM’s activities in more than 100 countries. Norway will provide NOK 20 million in core funding this year, a contribution that will help IOM to build capacity, strengthen key functions and prepare itself for its new role as UN migration coordinator. An additional NOK 10 million in humanitarian aid to Covid-19 response is also forthcoming.
The Covid-19 pandemic is aggravating existing hardships in countries and regions afflicted by humanitarian crisis. Migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons are particularly vulnerable to the virus and will have enhanced need for protection and basic health care.
‘That is why we are also contributing NOK 10 million in humanitarian aid to IOM, enabling it to take part in UN response to direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic. IOM has a substantial presence in hard-to-reach areas and will be able to inform vulnerable migrants, displaced persons and other vulnerable groups about infection prevention measures, health services and access to clean water. IOM also plays an important role in mapping population movements,’ Ms Eriksen Søreide said.
Of the world’s approximately 258 million migrants, more than 164 million are labour migrants. Covid-19 restrictions have led to temporary layoffs and mass terminations in many countries. Labour migrants are among those who are now out of work, and many have lost their financial and social safety net. IOM has responded rapidly, reorganising its staff and developing new aid programmes for member countries and migrants of all categories.
Norway also contributes to IOM programme activities, especially in relation to migrant integration and return and resettlement. This year, financial support will also be given to the UN’s multi-partner migration trust fund with a focus on expanding migration management capacity in transit countries and countries of origin. IOM holds the chairmanship of the fund’s steering committee.