Who we are
WHO WE AREThe International Organization for Migration (IOM) is part of the United Nations System as the leading inter-governmental organization promoting since 1951 humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all, with 175 member states and a presence in 171 countries.
Our WorkAs the leading inter-governmental organization promoting since 1951 humane and orderly migration, IOM plays a key role to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through different areas of intervention that connect both humanitarian assistance and sustainable development.
- Where we work
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- 2030 Agenda
Asia and the Pacific
Over the past decades, more than 7 billion people have been impacted by disasters in the Asia-Pacific region, with 2 million lives lost. The region confronts conflict-related challenges stemming from geopolitical tensions, historical disputes and marginalization, creating humanitarian crises and protracted displacement.
The inadequate response capacity of national and local systems to crises and displacement, including at borders, can impede safe movement, shelter-seeking, and eventual return to normality. Labour migration dominates international migration in the Asia-Pacific, with 63 per cent of working-age migrants being labour migrants. Demographic shifts, income disparities and limited domestic opportunities influence migration dynamics, notably in medium- and low-skilled sectors. Multiple vulnerabilities of migrant and displaced populations necessitate proactive responses to trafficking in persons, violence and exploitation.
Central America, North America and the Caribbean
The migration landscape in the region is intricate and diverse. Most States are migrant sending, receiving and transit countries. Many also receive returned migrants. In the past year the number of irregular migrants crossing the perilous Darién area has more than doubled, reaching an all-time high of over 500,000 migrants in 2023 alone.
These flows pose substantial protection risks for vulnerable migrants and require a comprehensive regional response that addresses the risks and needs of migrants, local communities and governments at all stages of migration. Migration and displacement drivers include income asymmetries, lack of employment and opportunities, limited access to basic services, social violence, disasters, climate change and political conflicts. In Haiti, violence has resulted in record numbers of internally displaced people. These situations call for increased and improved preparedness efforts and conflict-sensitive programming to support governments and communities as they deal with complex migration and displacement situations.
East Africa and the Horn of Africa
Migration has brought about remarkable positive contributions to the region, including the transfer of skills, knowledge and remittances, and the creation of diverse and vibrant communities. However, the migratory landscape is one of continuously shifting challenges, dynamics, and needs.
Drivers such as unresolved conflicts, drought and socioeconomic difficulties fuel high levels of internal displacement and cross-border movements, and exacerbate risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Sudan has impacted the stability of the whole region, pushing millions of Sudanese and third-country nationals to flee within and outside the country. While needs have increased in recent years, traditional funding sources have become scarcer and their requirements more stringent. Declining assistance could lead to heightened protection risks and vulnerabilities; push migrants to continue unsafe journeys or return spontaneously along dangerous migration routes; and aggravate tensions with host communities, potentially leading to stigma, discrimination and xenophobia. Communities affected by climate change may be forced to search for humanitarian protection and assistance or alternative livelihoods, and competition over scarce resources may exacerbate tensions and give rise to localized conflicts. More can be achieved through the collaboration of humanitarian and development actors with the participation of affected populations. There has been growing collaboration and exchange between stakeholders to promote migrant protection, strengthen response mechanisms, facilitate cross-border collaboration and dialogue on labour migration governance and regional integration, and advance a common position on human mobility in the context of climate change.
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area, the European Union and NATO* is a dynamic region that has seen increased arrivals of migrants and refugees from Africa and Asia via the Mediterranean routes. Irregular migration continues to exacerbate protection risks for migrants and challenge national migration and border management policies.
The European Union currently hosts 4 million temporary protection holders from Ukraine and will continue to assist them in 2024. The year 2024 will be marked by the final adoption of the European Union Migration and Asylum Pact and a focus on implementing the new rules. The mid-term review of the European Union Multiannual Financial Framework 2021–2027 will have a significant impact on the Union and its Member States’ ability to address mobility and migration issues, as well as on IOM’s programming capacities.
Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa region has some of the world’s most complex migratory flows, with migration corridors between Africa, the Middle East, Western Asia and Europe.
It also has a great diversity of States, ranging from high-income countries with the world’s highest ratios of migrants in their population that attract people from all over the world, to low-income countries that are most affected by climate change, conflicts and protracted crises. Political instability and economic uncertainty have a major impact on mobility. High youth unemployment persists as a social concern, requiring urgent investment to foster job creation and skills development. Harnessing the potential of migration is therefore particularly critical in the regional context.
South America is a region of emigration and high intraregional mobility, with 79 per cent of migrant stock coming from within the region (UN DESA, 2020; R4V, 2023). While Venezuelans are the largest group, migration flows are dynamic and continue to diversify, incorporating other nationalities from the region and beyond.
The region is affected by new internal displacements – 2.6 million in 2022 – caused largely by disasters and conflict. Colombia hosts the world’s third-largest IDP population (IDMC, 2023). While most international migration takes place through regular channels, movements of highly vulnerable migrants have been increasing drastically and are expected to continue to rise considerably in 2024, highlighting the need for regional, comprehensive and data-driven solutions to enhance their protection.
South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
The region features diverse economic, environmental, demographic, political, social and migratory contexts and trends. Notwithstanding, subregional migration dynamics connect the region and are characterized by similar challenges and opportunities.
These include demographic shifts, skills and labour gaps, environmental issues and climate change, emergencies, ongoing and protracted conflicts, irregular migration, human trafficking, unaccompanied and separated children, stranded migrants, inadequate access to health care, and return and reintegration. Opportunities exist for leveraging the potential of migration for well-being and development, including mainstreaming migration and development policies, labour mobility, diaspora engagement, the use of remittances for sustainable development, facilitating cross-border mobility through optimized border management and visa policies, and green investment.
With an estimated population of 363.2 million people, Southern Africa hosts 7.6 million international migrants residing or transiting in the region’s economic pillars and politically stable countries. Migration in Southern Africa is mixed in nature, driven by complex factors, and traverses multiple intra/interregional routes.
Southern Africa’s regional integration agenda has unique potential to shape migration dynamics. Conflicts and natural hazards continue to displace populations in the region, with nearly 7 million internally displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone as of late 2023.
West and Central Africa
Migration in West and Central Africa is mostly intraregional. As of 2022, there were 9.8 million migrants in the region, most travelling for economic reasons. In the Sahel, where temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average and rainfall is becoming more unpredictable, the impact on coastal States is becoming more visible, with an increase in cross-border movements. IOM efforts will be essential in humanitarian assistance, as well as resilience and peace programming.
In 2024, IOM will continue to work through whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches at community, national, regional and international levels to achieve its mandate. Looking ahead to the regional Global Compact for Migration reviews, the UN Regional Migration Network will facilitate collaboration among 9 Global Compact champion countries and 16 country networks. IOM will also strengthen research efforts by assessing movements at flow monitoring points with a whole-of-route interregional approach. The promotion of DTM and initiatives such as Migration Observatories will reinforce evidence-based policymaking and integration of migration data into national systems.