Belgium, IOM Seek Solutions to Migration and Refugee Crisis

Missing Migrants, Refugee and Asylum Issues

Belgium - Recent tragic events have demonstrated the importance of integration in our multi-ethnic, mobile world. Today, alongside the Belgian Development Cooperation, IOM is holding a high-level panel discussion on “Exploring sustainable solutions to a pressing migration and refugee crisis.” The event is taking place at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels from 3.30 - 5.30 pm.

Today, worldwide displacement is at the highest level ever recorded, with 60 million people forcibly displaced. As a result of complex and long term crises in Somalia, Eritrea, Mali, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, forcibly displaced people are spending longer periods in exile, averaging 17 years. In this context of protracted crisis and growing migration and refugee flows, there is an urgent need to think about the long term responses to guarantee a livelihood for and better integration of displaced people.

To be able to respond to the growing protection and integration needs of vulnerable populations, one needs to better understand the trends in mobility and mixed migration and to further combine protection, development and mobility tools with existing policy resources to create a more sustainable and dynamic response to forced displacement.

The Brussels event will allow for a discussion to assess current response mechanisms and identify practical approaches in order to better address the needs and vulnerabilities of long-term displacement.

Speakers will include Alexander De Croo, Belgian Vice-Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, and Frank De Wispelaere, Acting Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.

The panel, including a Q&A from the audience, will address how to contribute to delivering long-term responses; what role the private sector, civil society, origin and hosting countries can play; and how we can support neighbouring host countries to ensure the protection and long-term integration of displaced people? The panel will be composed of high level representatives from IOM, UNHCR, the European Commission (DG ECHO), FEDASIL and the private sector.

“Migration is not a problem or an issue to be solved, but a human phenomenon to be managed. Turning the migration challenge into opportunity requires good migration governance, a broad, durable consensus among a wide constituency, and coherent coordinated policies among partners,” said Ambassador Swing.

The outreach event will follow bilateral discussions between Belgium and IOM aimed on the priorities of the upcoming Belgian presidency of the IOM Council, EU migration matters and migration governance as a whole. Belgium is not only a founding member of IOM, but is also active in IOM governance, international migration debates and initiatives. It also contributes generously to IOM funding.

For further information please contact the IOM Belgium & Luxembourg. Géraldine d’Hoop, Tel: +32 476 850 892, +32 287 74 12, Email: or Alpha Barry, Tel: +32 287 74 14, +32 489 574 332, Email: