68th Session of the UN General Assembly: Strengthening the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the United Nations, including Special Economic Assistance

Published Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Lea Matheson, Deputy Permanent Observer to the United Nations

Thank you Madame Chair / Mr. President, Our full statement will be made available through PaperSmart.

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The International Organization for Migration, as an organization dedicated to addressing the challenges of migration, including forced migration, continues to provide essential life-saving assistance to displaced populations across the globe. By working in close coordination with governments, the United Nations, NGOs and other partners, IOM is able to assist those most in need. Mr. President, I would like to take up three points that merit our attention.

First, when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance, affected populations must be at the center of our response. We must take care not to become overburdened by processes and systems, and thereby lose sight of our shared objective: to help people in need. Our humanitarian assistance efforts should always endeavour to be needs-driven rather than mandate-driven. Maintaining focus on the wellbeing of people on the move is of utmost importance to IOM. Humanitarian assistance should be guided by a people-centered approach that facilitates the engagement of affected communities and institutions in the process.

Second, when providing humanitarian assistance during crises which result in complex and often large scale migration flows and mobility patterns, our response must take into account the specific needs of migrants, whether they are refugees, IDPs, or economic migrants. Recent emergencies have demonstrated the vulnerable situations of people crossing borders as well as of those who are stranded or unable to leave. Particularly vulnerable amongst these are women, children, people with disabilities and indigenous peoples, who merit special attention in times of crises. Forced migration puts people in extremely exposed situations and already vulnerable groups experience heightened risks.

Third, collaboration should be a fundamental aspect of humanitarian action. Due to the multifaceted character of migration, strong and consistent partnerships can help deliver effective and innovative responses in line with humanitarian principles. The increasing complexity surrounding humanitarian policy and action reinforces the importance of leveraging the expertise of different actors in order to meet the protection, assistance, and recovery needs of affected populations. Therefore in order to increase the resiliency of populations, it is of utmost importance to IOM that humanitarian and development action are linked. Actors involved in both fields must work together to ensure a smooth transition from relief to development, and to realize preparedness for both sides.

To conclude, Mr. President, IOM would like to reiterate the significance of a people-centered approach and enabling all partners to work together. While we are all involved in providing emergency humanitarian assistance, we should continue to contribute to long-term development solutions. Finally, IOM fully supports the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit at the country, regional and global levels with the overall objective of a more effective and efficient humanitarian system.

Thank you.