In 2020, the International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) hosted its 20th edition. Since 2001, IDM has provided a multitude of stakeholders worldwide with a platform for timely debates on a full range of migration issues, while retaining strong linkages with other overlapping policy domains.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous challenges to the global health, social, political and economic systems and will have immediate consequences on the attainment of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cognizant of the need for strengthened international commitment and cooperation to respond to these pressing challenges, the IDM convened whole societies, public, private and civic sectors to promote discussions on the implications of the pandemic for migrants, migration and mobility as well as migrants’ role in COVID-19 response and recovery.

The discussions were aimed at supporting global efforts to address the immediate challenges and expected longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the society, migrants and vulnerable populations worldwide, and identify opportunities to shape our responses in line with the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

The recording of the panel discussions is available on IOM's YouTube channel.

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Day One October 15th, 2020

10:00-10:15 Opening Session

  • Opening Remarks by Antonio Vitorino, Director General, IOM (Opening remarks)

10:15-11:15 Panel 1: Safe, coordinated and inclusive human mobility is key to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Moderator: Aissata Kane, Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa,  IOM


  • Malek Deng Dau Deng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, South Sudan (Remarks)
  • Cláudia Pereira, Secretary of State for Integration and Migration, Portugal (Presentation)
  • Stefano Sannino, Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues at the European External Action Service of the European Union (Remarks)
  • Ahmed M Saleheen, Secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Bangladesh (Presentation)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:

11:15-13:00 Panel 2: Protection of vulnerable migrants during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis

Moderator: Yitna Getachew, Head, Migrant Protection and Assistance, IOM


  • Sarah Arriola, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, the Philippines (Presentation)
  • Jean Ayoub, CEO and Secretary General, International Social Service - General Secretariat (Presentation)
  • Nick Grono, CEO Freedom Fund, UK (Remarks)
  • André Silva, Coordinator Migrant Smuggling Unit, INTERPOL (Presentation)
  • Isabela Atanasiu, Legal Officer, DG Migration and Home Affairs, Asylum, European Commission (Presentation)
  • Trang Hong Vu, United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth, Co-founder of STEPFORWARD education, Vietnam (Presentation)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:

13:00-15:00 Break

15:00-17:00 Panel 3: Enhancing migrants’ agency and contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

Moderator: Bettina Etter, Senior Advisor on Global Migration Governance, Switzerland (Remarks)


  • Viorica Dumbraveanu, Minister of Health, Labor, and Social Protection, Moldova (Remarks)
  • Pauline Tamesis, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia (Remarks)
  • Felipe Munoz, Chief of the Migration Unit, Social Sector, Interamerican Development Bank (Presentation)
  • Boubou Camara, Support Pillar Manager- COVID-19, WHO (Remarks)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:


Day Two October 16th, 2020

10:00-12:00 Panel 4: The role of women in the COVID-19 response and recovery

Moderator: Jacqueline Weekers, Director, Migrants Health Department, IOM


  • Maya Morsy, President of National Council for Women in Egypt (Presentation)
  • Zsuzsanna Jakab, Deputy Director General, WHO (Remarks)
  • Christine Loew, Director UN Women Liaison Office in Geneva (Remarks)
  • María Corina Muskus Toro, UN Major Group for Children and Youth, Co-founder, and Director of Venezolanas Globales (Remarks)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:

12:00-13:00 Migrants’ Stories

Communication response to COVID-19: Tackling misinformation, xenophobia and building network of trusted messengers

Speaker: Chylian Azuh, Writer and public speaker, Founder of ‘Female Returnee Forum”, Nigeria (Remarks)

Innovation, digital development and youth leadership in COVID-19 response 

Speakers: Beyleh Daher, Manager of Creative Spaces, Djibouti (Presentation) and Houssein Mohammed, Senior Project Assistant, IOM Djibouti 

13:00-15:00: Break

15:00-16:15 Panel 5: Social cohesion and community resilience: countering discrimination and xenophobia against migrants

Moderator: Leonard Doyle, Spokesperson, Head, Media and Communication, IOM


  • Glen Linder, Director General, International and Intergovernmental Affairs, Canada (Remarks)
  • Ulvi Aliyev, Chief of International Cooperation Department of the State Migration Service, Azerbaijan (Remarks)
  • Robinson Sathekge, Head of Migration Unit, City of Johannesburg, South Africa (Presentation)
  • Monica Trigos Padilla, North America Regional Focal Point and Shaping Narratives Lead of the Migration Group, UN Major Group for Children and Youth (Remarks)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:

16:15-17:45 Panel 6: Applying the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts

Moderator: Maurizio Busatti, Head, Multilateral Processes Division, IOM

Presentation: Cécile Riallant, Head, Migration and Sustainable Development, IOM and David Khoudour, Human Mobility Advisor, UNDP (Presentation)


  • The Honourable Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor of Accra (Remarks)
  • The Honourable Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of Rabat (Remarks)
  • Socorro Flores Liera, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva (Remarks)
  • Rui Macieira, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations in Geneva (Remarks)
  • Christian Wolff, Programme Manager, Migration and Displacement, ACT Alliance (Remarks)

Interventions from the floor submitted to the Secretariat:

17:45-18:00 Closing Session


Event documents