The International Dialogue on Migration 2012 aimed to integrate humanitarian and migration perspectives in the search for appropriate responses to the migration consequences of complex crises. This first workshop in the series posited that the migration dimensions of crises have been insufficiently addressed, both in theory and in practice. Instead of ad hoc reactions, more systematic approaches are needed on the part of national institutions and the international community to manage the human mobility aspects of crisis situations. Drivers of forced migratory movements vary, but challenges are particularly acute where poverty, political instability, weak governance, environmental degradation and natural disasters combine.

Forced migration in response to an extreme situation is common, yet regularly overwhelms national and international capacities. Furthermore, the patterns of movement are in themselves far from straightforward: initially temporary displacement may become protracted; internal movements spill across borders; and crises and displacement situations give rise to other forms of migration such as search for work, migration to cities, irregular and mixed movements, trafficking and smuggling.

The key objectives of the workshop were to gain a better understanding of the variety of migratory patterns that can result from complex crises; to examine the usefulness of migration policy tools in addressing crises; and to raise awareness of the role of mobility in overcoming crises, specifically the predicament of "trapped" populations, unable to move.

Consistent with IOM's mandate and Strategy Document (activity 7), the IDM provides a forum for IOM Member and Observer States, as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other partners, to share experiences and perspectives on migration matters with a view to identifying practical solutions and fostering greater cooperation.



24 April 2012|Day 1

9:00 - 10:00
Opening Session
10:00 - 11:00
Welcome Remarks
  • Christian Strohal, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Office and specialized institutions in Geneva, Chair of the IOM Council (Statement)
  • Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, IOM (Statement)

Setting the Scene

Complex crises are often accompanied by diverse forms of predominantly forced population movement. The premise of this workshop is that forced migration – whether in the form of internal or cross-border displacement – deserves analysis from both humanitarian and migration management perspectives. The scene-setting presentation will introduce the concept of "migration crisis" and discuss the patterns of human mobility that are generated by different types of crises.

Furthermore, in light of the changing nature of crises, approaches based on clear-cut categories of affected populations have revealed certain limitations, suggesting the need to explore alternatives. As the presentation will illustrate, policymakers and practitioners have a cycle of actions at their disposal in addressing forced migration as an evolving process, ranging from prevention, transition and recovery to durable solutions. Nevertheless, more efforts and innovation are needed to apply existing migration policy tools to crisis situations.

  • Md. Shahidul Haque, Director, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships, and Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM (Presentation)
11:00 – 13:00

Session 1

Internal Displacement: Immediate Response

The first day focuses on internal displacement, dedicating the first session to an overview of preventive measures, emergency and early recovery response tools, protection and assistance strategies, and legal and institutional frameworks which apply to internal displacement.

The question of access to affected populations is particularly vexing in an internal displacement context brought about by complex crises in which national and local authorities lack adequate capacities and resources or may not have full control over the territory.

Different response mechanisms will also have to be employed depending on the patterns of displacement, especially with respect to the nature of settlement (in host families or camps) and its location (in rural or urban areas).


  • Steffen Kongstad, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva


  • Franklin Pedro Condori Challco, Director General, Directorate General for Prevention and Reconstruction, Vice-Ministry of Civil Defence, Bolivia (Presentation)
  • Kate Halff, Head, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Norwegian Refugee Council (Statement)
  • Roger Zetter, Professor Emeritus in Refugee Studies, UK Refugee Studies Centre, Department of International Development, University of Oxford (Presentation)

General Discussion

13:00 – 15:00
Afternoon Break
15:00 – 15:30
Migrant's Voice


  • Karoline Popp, Associate Migration Policy Officer, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships
  • Patrice Quesada, Transition and Recovery Officer, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM
15:30 – 17:00

Session 2

Internal Displacement: Long-Term Measures and Cooperation Mechanisms

In recognition of the fact that internal displacement situations are often not easily resolved and may pose longer-term challenges, in this session participants and presenters are encouraged to analyse the available options to address internal displacement within a migration management framework.

Migration consequences go beyond the initial displacement: for instance, ongoing crises and a lack of solutions to displacement might prompt secondary movements or increased rural-urban migration. In any circumstance, prolonged displacement situations will involve a variety of repercussions for places of origin, transit and destination.

Discussions will touch on issues surrounding tracking, monitoring and collecting data on displacement situations as they evolve. The session will also be an opportunity to present effective practices in providing services to and meeting the various economic, social, health and psychosocial needs of displaced populations and the larger community. Lastly, the session will serve to discuss return, reintegration, peacebuilding, land and property issues, and durable solutions to end displacement.


  • Rudolf Muller, Chief, Emergency Services Branch, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


  • Paula Gaviria Betancur, Director, Special Administrative Unit for Reparations and Comprehensive Attention to Victims, Colombia (Presentation)
  • Clement Belizaire, Director, Department for Return and Relocation, Unit for Housing and Public Buildings Reconstruction, Haiti (Presentation)
  • Renos Papadopoulos, Director, Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees, Centre of Psychoanalytical Studies, University of Essex (Presentation)

General Discussion

17:00 – 18:00
IOM's Experience and Programming

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and extract lessons from IOM’s long-standing experience in managing the migration consequences of complex crises, and to reflect on IOM’s role in humanitarian response and beyond.


  • Md. Shahidul Haque, Director, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships, IOM


  • Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM
  • Laurence Hart, Head, Migrant Assistance Division, Department of Migration Management, IOM (Statement)
  • Nuno Nunes, Global Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster Coordinator, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM

End of Day 1

25 April 2012|Day 2

10:00 – 13:00

Special Session

Reflections on Migration Crises

This special session will provide a space to reflect more broadly on the concept of "migration crises" from the perspective of a variety of countries and regions. In particular, it seeks to explore innovative policy solutions, practical approaches and cooperation strategies to address large-scale, complex population movements as a result of crises.

Some of the most pertinent aspects here relate to possible complementarities between migration and humanitarian approaches in addressing migration crises, both in the immediate response phase and in the longer term. By bearing in mind both internal and cross-border scenarios, the session aims to create a bridge between the first and the second day of the workshop.


  • Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, IOM


  • Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM
  • René Castro Salazar, Minister for Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications, Costa Rica (Presentation)
  • Lancester Museka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Services, Zimbabwe (Statement) (Presentation)
  • Stefano Manservisi, Director General, Directorate General Home Affairs, European Commission
  • Catherine Wiesner, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration, United States of America (Statement)
  • Camilo Gudmalin, Assistant Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippines (Presentation)

General Discussion

13:00 – 15:00
Afternoon Break
15:00 – 17:00

Session 3

Cross-Border Displacement

This session addresses responses to cross-border displacement in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and in the longer term. As such, it will touch on implications for protection, assistance, human security and human rights of affected persons. Discussions will consider existing legal frameworks, policies and practices and any gaps that need to be tackled in meeting the differentiated protection and assistance needs of populations displaced across international borders.

Furthermore, participants are invited to evaluate how migration management frameworks and policies (for example, temporary protection, non-removal, integration, family reunification, temporary labour migration, return or readmission) can be applied in a displacement context.

While State responses to cross-border displacement are clearly embedded in the international legal framework, the session would also aim to compare and learn from different national and regional approaches in handling cross-border displacement. An important theme here is the impact of cross-border displacement on pre-existing migration patterns as well as implications for development.


  • Tom Hockley, Head, Regional Office Support and Inter-Agency Coordination Unit, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction


  • Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM
  • Feda Gharaibeh, Director, Iraq Coordination Unit, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan (Presentation)
  • Paulo Sergio de Almeida, Chairperson, National Council for Immigration, Brazil (Presentation)
  • Berlan Alan, Head, Migration Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey (Statement)
  • Wei-Meng Lim-Kabaa, Head, Resettlement Services, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Statement)
  • Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, Red Cross Society, Kenya (Presentation)

General Discussion

17:00 – 18:00

Concluding Session

Migration Governance Approaches to Migration Crises Moderator

  • Gervais Appave, Special Policy Advisor, IOM

Following the discussions on the policy and operational options to confront the migration consequences of complex crises, particularly how to integrate humanitarian and migration policy responses, this session aims to summarize and conclude the discussions by encouraging participants to jointly deliberate the following questions:

  • How can the notion of "migration crises" be practically useful in addressing crises in which the movement of people is a significant dimension?
  • In what ways does human mobility heighten or lesson vulnerability? How can States and the international community better prevent and prepare for forced migration and protect migrants, while supporting mobility for the benefit of crisis-affected populations?
  • What are the specific roles and responsibilities of States and the international community in addressing the migration consequences of complex crises?
  • How can migration management frameworks support response to crises, both immediately and in the longer term?
  • What lessons drawn from responses to internal displacement can be transferred to cross-border forced migration, and vice versa?
  • What are the main differences when responding to crises in different contexts, such as natural disasters or conflicts, urban or rural displacement?
Related documents
Event documents