In 2021 IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) second session was held on 14 and 15 October on the topic Leveraging Migration for a Resilient and Sustainable Post-pandemic Recovery: Opportunities and Challenges.

The session focused on the state of global mobility in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic efforts, in particular the contribution of migrants as key agents of a resilient and sustainable socioeconomic recovery. The dialogue’s main aim was to improve the knowledge of the impacts of global shocks on migration and development, and identify lessons learned and recommendations to improve migrant support in the future. The session allowed government representatives, members of the diaspora, academic experts, representatives of the private sector, and international and civil society organizations to exchange views and share experiences and examples of effective practices to advance efforts to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration, and strengthen migrant-inclusive public health systems, with the ultimate aim of advancing the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Day 1, October 14th, 2021

Global mobility as a driver for equality, inclusive recovery from COVID-19 and accelerated action on the 2030 Agenda

10:00-10:30 Opening session

  • António Vitorino, IOM Director General
  • Anuradha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Gavi


Panel 1: The impact of COVID-19 on mobility: migration triggers, government response, and the future of border management in the post-pandemic era

This panel will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on cross-border human mobility. For a second year, instability prevails, and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants has led to adapted travel restrictions and continued disruptions to global mobility. The management of borders throughout the pandemic has highlighted some of the existing shortcomings within national immigration systems, including their lack of resilience. States had to develop conditional entry requirements and continuously modify immigration procedures to adapt to shifting health imperatives. Most recently, the use of digital health certificates and their impact for people on the move constitute one of the main challenges to address. Simultaneously, health-related measures under development need comprehensive safeguards and data privacy standards to ensure inclusive access to regular migration pathways while avoiding widening the global mobility divide. The current obstacles surrounding human mobility can be expected to alter migration management in the long- term, serving as a critical turning point in relation to health and global mobility. The panel will also discuss the available data and analysis how the pandemic has reshaped border management and human mobility, how effective are travel measures in curbing the spread of the pandemic and what are some of the observed ramifications for migrants. The panel will seek to show the importance of rethinking approaches to data on human mobility and the necessity for international coordination of travel requirements and measures.

Moderator: Amy Pope, Deputy Director General for Management and Reform, Presenter: Nuno Nunes, Global Displacement Tracking Matrix Coordinator, presentation on rethinking of approaches to data on human mobility and the findings of IOM’s and MPI report on impact of COVID-19 on global mobility


  • Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers' Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines
  • Jessica Bither, Senior Expert Migration, Global Issues, Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH
  • Member State high-level representative (tbc)
  • Henrik Nielsen, Director in charge of International and Horizontal Affairs, DG Home, European Commission
  • Dr. Ninglan Wang, Unit head, Points of Entry and Border Health Unit, Country Readiness Strengthening Department, WHO (tbc)


13:00-15:00 Lunch Break


Panel 2: Advancing socio-economic rights and access to services in the COVID-19 era and beyond

This panel will emphasize inclusion and equity as the key to preparedness and response to COVID-19, and to the way forward. It would therefore focus on advancing migrants’ access to health care (according to right to health), in line with universal health coverage principles, and with a view to achieving SDG3. It will highlight the role of diaspora health professionals and migrant workers as important first respondents, and the need to include migrants in the post-COVID and recovery efforts. It will bring perspectives on access to housing, employment support, civic integration/language and digitalization of integration services, including social benefits during COVID and the challenges to ensure efforts to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision. Moreover, ensuring that the rights of people on the move are “portable”, or transferable across borders (internal and international), is a critical policy area for recovering better. This panel discussion will also aim at looking into practices for protecting migrant workers across supply chains/ethical recruitment as well as at empowering local and regional governments who are at the forefront of delivering policy and providing access to services. This is particularly the case in urban settings where 90 per cent of all reported COVID-19 cases in urban areas and urban areas are where the majority of migrants and displaced persons settle. This aligns with IOM’s commitment to empower local levels of government as part of its institutional strategy on Migration and Sustainable development and links to SDG 11 on sustainable urban development that IOM works to ensure is inclusive as well as with the UN Task Force on the future of cities.


Moderator: Ugochi Daniels, Deputy Director General for Operations,

IOM Speakers:

  • Dr. Basem Al-Dahamsheh, Governor, Director of Nationality, Foreign Affairs and Investment, Ministry of Interior, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (tbc)
  • Bola Bardet, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Susu
  • Jeremy Robbins, Chief Executive Officer, New American Economy
  • Local authority representative (tbc)




Panel 3: Crisis response in times of COVID-19

Border closures and/or travel restrictions and lockdowns introduced by many governments since March 2020, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, have severely affected movements across borders, migrants themselves, as well as communities in countries of origin. Migrants have largely been overlooked in the preparedness and response planning for COVID-19, in particular in crisis settings where the social systems are fragile or nonexistent. In several countries, migrants have not been able to access basic services that allow them to meet the most pressing needs, further exacerbating their vulnerabilities throughout the pandemic. For countries affected by crisis (such as Afghanistan, Venezuela, Lebanon, etc.), the pandemic exacerbated the challenges to delivery of humanitarian assistance and confounded the situation of displaced populations, migrants in vulnerable situations and affected host communities. Moreover, migrants lost their jobs and income, which resulted in an increased of pre- existing basic needs, as well as loss of remittances for their families in the countries of origin. In their attempt to return home, many migrants were stranded in transiting or host countries, increasing the possibility of more limited (or no) access to health care and social support, loss of livelihoods, their uncertain regular status, stigmatization and xenophobia, the risk of detention in already overcrowded detention facilities, heightened risk of mental health challenges, exposure to violence and abuse, including Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA), trafficking in persons and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This panel will emphasize crisis response measures and humanitarian inter-agency planning that include lessons learned and preparedness interventions, as well as adjustments to the mode of delivery of humanitarian assistance during the pandemic.

Moderator: Jeffrey Labovitz, Director, Department of Emergencies,

IOM Speakers:

  • Md. Mohsin, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Bangladesh (tbc)
  • Ceyda Dumlupinar Guntay, Deputy Programme Coordinator at Turkish Red Crescent, Migration Services Department (tbc)
  • Diego Beltrand, IOM DG’s Special Envoy to the Regional Response for Venezuela
  • Christian Mulamba, Country Director, International Medical Corps (IMC), Central African Republic



Day 2, October 15th, 2021

Migrants -- Actors of Change for resilient and Sustainable Post-Pandemic Recovery


Panel 1: The role of migrants in post -COVID-19 recovery and the achievement of SDGs

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of well-governed migration for prosperous and healthy societies, while demonstrating the negative impact of reduced human mobility on sustainable development. Extraordinary mobility restrictions enforced around the world to control the transmission of COVID-19 have had immediate and potentially long-term impacts on the attainment of many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our ability to develop responses that mitigate the negative impacts and protect people on the move and their communities, and harness the positive power of migration for recovering better, as called for in the UN Framework for responding to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, depends on a good understanding of the effects of the pandemic on human mobility and development. This panel will discuss the key role of migrants and diaspora in the recovery from COVID-19 and achievement of the 2030 Agenda by presenting their direct experience and perspective on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their work.

Moderator: Monica Goracci, Director, Department of Migration Management,

IOM Speakers:

  • Caroline Caporossi, Founder, Association for the Integration of Women and Youth Forum
  • Amina Hersi Moghe, Founder of the Atiak Sugar Project, Uganda
  • Peter Kwok, Chairman and Founder of the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals 



Panel 2: Addressing the challenges faced by migrant youth during the pandemic and empower youth to facilitate sustainable recovery

This panel discussion will align with the Our Common Agenda launched by the United Nations Secretary General in September and it will focus on three key aspects of ongoing youth work, including COVID-19 recovery, upskilling/reskilling to meet the needs of post-pandemic economic development green and digital economy, and improving educational outcomes. The education sector exemplifies why we must recover better, and swiftly, from the pandemic: to minimize inequalities, to empower migrants and to keep educational systems running effectively. To do this, and in line with GCM Objective 15 on basic services and 18 on skills development, as well as SDG 4 on education, we must build on technological advances, foster virtual student mobility to counter physical restrictions for continued global advancement of research and knowledge sharing, invest in skilling and re-skilling migrants and returnees to increase their access to decent work, in accordance with SDG Targets 4.3 and 4.4, advocate for flexible school environments adapted to the needs of vulnerable migrants, in accordance with SDG Target 4.5. Another important aspect that this panel will consider is student mobility and youth in relation to COVID-19. There are several factors for this: COVID-19 mobility restrictions have led to massive losses of student mobility; COVID-19’s impacts on education compound migrants’ vulnerabilities and exacerbate inequalities (as demonstrated in the previous panel), and migrants and people on the move still remain excluded from the human rights to education. Migration can be an education win-win- win for migrants, communities of origin and destination, however digitalization poses a unique opportunity for migrant-inclusive education, but there are key risks. The COVID pandemic gave a boost to automation in certain sectors while at the same time created new jobs in other sectors requiring new skill sets. This requires a rethinking of re- and upskilling of migrants and targeted employment support for migrant youth. Linking employment to education, skilling and reskilling migrants can foster access to decent work. This panel will provide an opportunity to present relevant perspectives and best practices on these issues.

Moderator: Wen Li, Director, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships,

IOM Speakers:

  • Rasika Jayasuriya, Policy and Program Specialist,  Global Migration and Displacement, UNICEF
  • Sagyntai uulu Arstanbek, Coordinator of the Project “Training Centers at Mountain Pastures”,  Kyrgyzstan
  • Minh Nguyen, Asia-Pacific Regional Lead for the Migration Youth and Children Platform, United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth



Panel 3: Harnessing the potential of migrant women for a sustainable socioeconomic recovery

This panel will look into the role of migrant women as major promoters and contributors towards socioeconomic development and will try to address some of the barriers to achieving their role. Women are undervalued but crucial development actors through their domestic work: 8.4 million (73.4%) of migrant domestic workers are women or adolescent girls. Women sent about half of global remittances in 2016, even though they tend to earn less than men. Migrant women are more likely to be in the labour force (64%) than non- migrant women. The pandemic particularly impacted migrant women, some 3/4 of whom work in informal sectors vulnerable to the pandemic's socio-economic impact without strong legal protections. We need to address the barriers they face to enhance their own development and contributions to development (less access to social protection, sexual and gender based violence, work exploitation and the double burden of being in informal work and bearing the brunt of care/parental duties). This panel will invite relevant representatives to exchange perspectives and best practices for empowering migrant women in advancing sustainable development and COVID-19 recovery.

Moderator: Laurent de Boeck, Chief of IOM Mission Egypt


  • Diana Echeverria, Director of Human Mobility and Attention to Migrants, El Salvador
  • Fridah Ntarangwi, Founder & Managing Director of Zidicircle (tbc)
  • Dina Nuryati,   Coordinator for Research and International Relations, Indonesian, Migrant Workers Union (SBMI)



Lunch break


Panel 4: Empowering migrants and transnational communities as development actors: financial inclusion, remittances and beyond

As during other challenging times and crises, the COVID19 pandemic has once again demonstrated the ability of transnational communities to quickly adjust to the situation and mobilize their support and resources to assist those most vulnerable or left behind. Indeed, despite wide-spread anticipations of a radical drop of remittances in 2020 due to the economic crises linked to the pandemic – predicted to 20 percent by the World Bank in April 2020, migrant remittances once again demonstrated their resilience and continued providing an important buffet against falling into extreme poverty, loss of livelihoods and inability to afford treatment against the disease and save lives. The importance to keep remittance flowing became high on the agendas of governments and partners, such as within the Swiss-UK Call to Action launched in May 2020 and the multistakeholder initiative the Remittance Community Task Force that developed a blueprint for action. IOM has been an active participant in all these initiatives, as it recognizes the importance of working further on addressing pertaining challenges related to migrant remittances, given their critical role in securing livelihoods and well- being in so many households and communities – as stressed in Objective 20 of the GCM. At the same time, IOM continued working with partners on advocating for a more comprehensive approach towards migrant contributions to development which goes far beyond remittances and encompasses also such areas as diaspora investment and philanthropy, tourism and transnational networks, migrant entrepreneurship and trade – all these aspects mentioned in the GCM Objective 19. Despite the increasing focus of policy makers to the topic of migrant remittances and broader contributions reinforced by COVID19 pandemic, governments across the world have not been very active when reporting on the progress in achieving objectives 19 and 20 in their voluntary reviews.

This panel will convene global leaders and experts on migrants contributions to development, in particular remittance transfers and other forms of contributions to once again draw the attention to the importance of supporting migrants and diaspora communities in their contributions though assistance with financial inclusion, enhancement of financial market infrastructure to help reduce transaction costs and digitalization, improving ways to capture data on migrants contributions to help define policy responses, as well as create broader enabling diaspora engagement policy and regulative frameworks. By taking stock from the lessons learnt in terms of engaging with transnational communities during COVID-19, the panel will also review the progress made since the last IOM convened Diaspora Ministerial from 2013 as well as pave some way for coordination and initiatives looking ahead to 2022 and the forthcoming International Migration Forum Review. Moving forward, it becomes crucial to offer a forward looking and practice oriented discussion of the topic of migrant remittances, financial inclusion and broader diaspora engagement and discuss how this important part of the migration and development agenda, specifically GCM Objective 19 and 20, could be best reflected in 2022 and beyond.


Moderator: Marina Manke, Head, Labour Mobility and Human Development,

IOM Speakers:

  • Remittances and financial inclusion of migrants and diaspora communities lessons learnt during COVID19 response
    • Veronica Studsgaard, Founder and Chief Executve Officer, IAMTN
  • Contributions and Counting – migrants’ support to countries of origin and destination beyond remittances.
    • Leon Isaacs, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DMA Global
  • Diasporas as partners during response to pandemic and beyond – what can governments do?
    • Gerardo Pérez, Director of Diaspora and Development, El Salvador
    • Abdifatah Diriye Ahmed, Director of the Somali National Institute of Health



Panel 5: The road to IMRF – looking forward to the next IDM

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) has integrated a quadrennial global review to advance its implementation. The first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) is to take place in the first half of 2022 as set in the modalities resolution (RES/73/326). Many countries have advanced in integrating GCM into their national planning despite the significant challenges and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as discussed in the last IDM session; many stakeholders have been actively involved at the national, regional and global level; and the reviews of the GCM at the regional level have taken place. As we approach the IMRF, member states as well as a wide range of stakeholders are starting to prepare their inputs, and the UN Network on Migration, with IOM as the Coordinator and Secretariat, supporting the preparations. The following months will be critical for a successful outcome of the IMRF. With the Member States having requested for the IDM to contribute to the IMRF, this panel will look at how the next IDM session that will take place in February 2022 could do so.

Framing questions:

  • What are IOM member states experiences with reporting on GCM implementation?
  • What are recommendations from member states looking ahead (e.g. how to track progress, address challenges, how to link with existing frameworks such as the Agenda 2030?)
  • How can IOM support member states, e.g. in developing national implementation plans, to prepare for the IMRF through consultations, national reports, and various regional and cross-regional cooperation processes?

Moderator: Antonio Vitorino, Director General, IOM

• Sanjay Bhattacharya,  Vice Minister,  Consular, Passport, Visas  and Overseas Indian Affairs, India

•  José Luis Pardo Cuerdo, Ambassador, Special Envoy for Migration Affairs, Spain

•  Christine O'Dwyer, Deputy Head of Division, GLOBAL.GI.4 Migration and Human Security, European External Action Service



Closing session

Event Documents and Videos