In 2005, the Humanitarian Reform Process got underway with the Cluster Approach that includes nine thematic clusters/areas of work and cluster leads being agreed to by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Principles. IOM has played a substantial role in the Cluster Approach assisting in the start-up of many of the clusters and has played a role in developing the cluster strategies.

IOM is the lead of the Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster for Natural Disasters in which it co-chairs with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). IOM also actively participates in the Logistics, Early Recovery, Health, Emergency Shelter and Protection Clusters.

At the field level, IOM has also taken active roles in the clusters both as partners and leads. IOM has taken a lead role in Pakistan (Emergency Shelter), Colombia (Early Recovery with the UN Development Programme), Timor-Leste (CCCM), Ethiopia (CCCM and Protection with the UN Children’s Fund) as well as playing active role in Uganda, Indonesia (Yogyakarta) and Mozambique.

  • Camp Coordination and Camp Management
  • Shelter
  • Health
  • Protection
  • Early Recovery
  • Logistics
  • Camp Coordination and Camp Management

    Based on the work and lessons learned in 2006 and early 2007 IOM has developed a revised concept to fulfil its obligations and responsibilities to carry out its role as the as co-cluster lead within the cluster approach. There are two complimentary over-all objectives for IOM that directly support the cluster objectives:

    1. To carry out its role in the CCCM Secretariat and
    2. To develop operational preparedness.

    Overall this is to improve effective and predictable response in the CCCM Cluster. The proposed activities build on and support the over-all objectives of the Cluster and the larger humanitarian approach.   

    More about CCCM

  • Shelter

    The Global Emergency Shelter Cluster (ESC)’s objectives are to increase emergency shelter capacity to be an effective and predictable partner to ensure the immediate needs of those displaced are addressed. IOM is contributing to the cluster by being an active partner with significant experience in successful on-the-ground shelter operations.

    There are two overall objectives for IOM. The first is to carry out its role in supporting the collaborative nature of the cluster and the second is to increase operational preparedness. This will improve effective and predictable response in emergency shelter responses.

    In line with the first objective, IOM is participating on the consultation team integrated by UNHCR/IFRC/UNHABITAT/IOM. The team’s action is aimed to

    • Improve cluster services;
    • Increase participation;
    • Improve the quality of information provided;
    • Provide better technical support;
    • Provide better support to strategy formation.

    IOM is also increasing its operational preparedness by participating and providing trainings at global level. 

    More about Shelter

  • Health

    The Health Cluster's objectives are:

    • To provide health leadership in emergency and crisis preparedness, response and recovery
    • To prevent and reduce emergency-related morbidity and mortality
    • To ensure evidence-based actions, gap filling and sound coordination
    • To enhance accountability, predictability and effectiveness of humanitarian health actions

    As an active member of the global health cluster, the IOM Medical Unit (MHD) is involved in many aspects of the health cluster objectives given its leading role in health and migration. Part of these health aspects is the work IOM undertakes within the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Task Force on HIV/AIDS in Emergencies. HIV/AIDS is a cross-cutting issue that has implications across many clusters particularly Health, Shelter, and Camp Coordination and Camp Management.

    More about Migration Health

  • Protection

    The provision of protection in emergency response situations has been consistently identified as a major gap in need of addressing. These gaps require a more operational focus of protection and a clear understanding by operational colleagues in the field how to implement using a "protection lens".

    In line with IOM's Protection Strategy in Emergency, IOM is increasing staff's awareness and an understanding of "operationalizing" protection. The two objectives include:

    • The development of guidelines and policies as well as the integration of lessons learned in humanitarian responses to internally displaced populations
    • To build capacity to increase the number of deployable staff trained in protection

    Additionally, building on IOM's expertise in land and property rights, IOM is a key partner in the establishment of appropriate mechanisms for addressing land and property rights issues. Such mechanisms are crucial for a durable reconstruction following conflict or the occurrence of a natural disaster. Important gaps in this area, however, remain. They include:

    Absence of systematic lessons learnt efforts

    • Limited awareness and knowledge of land and property rights issues amongst key emergency response staff
    • Lack of a common land and property rights needs assessment tool

    More about Protection

  • Early Recovery

    Successful transition from crisis to development requires comprehensive programmatic responses to support the restoration of capacity of the communities and national structure to generate self-sustaining mechanism and stabilise human security.

    Population movements, whether in times of emergencies, disasters, crisis or peace, whether to escape persecution or poverty, affect socio-economic growth, employment and security in both positive and negative ways.

    The complexity of these events highlights the need for enhanced IOM contribution to the Early Recovery Cluster actively as a partner with large experience and on-the-ground successful operations. IOM activities are directly contributing to the achievement of the objectives by the Cluster Working Group on Early Recovery’s strategic framework.

    Main objectives for IOM are:

    • To carry out its role in supporting the development of early recovery tools and methodologies at global collaborative cluster work
    • To support the increase of early recovery operational preparedness and capacities and enhance local NGO and civil protection network partnerships

    Overall, this will improve effective and predictable integrated response to population movements (migrants, returnees, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable mobile populations) in early recovery responses to the crisis environments.

  • Logistics

    With a view to improving IOM surge capacity, predictability, speed and effectiveness within the IASC partnership, IOM has identified the need for IOM to improve its preparedness and response and to facilitate efficient and timely inter-agency interoperability through the pooling of resources. This includes major lessons learned from the earthquake and tsunami in Aceh in 2004, the Pakistan earthquake in October 2005 and from the ongoing activities in the Philippines, typhoons devastation and the flooding in Aceh Indonesia.

    In emergencies, IOM has been required to provide logistics services to the humanitarian community in collaboration with the logistics cluster.

    IOM intends to address its urgent global logistical needs to strengthen its operational preparedness as a logistics service provider in collaboration with the logistics cluster lead agency (the World Food Programme).


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