IOM Deputy Director General Outlines Benefits of Global Compact for Migration at High-Level Event in Vienna

Posted: 
09/22/17
Themes: 
Capacity Building, Global Compact, Global Compact on Migration

Vienna – IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson was in Vienna yesterday (21/09), speaking at an event organized by the Austrian Foreign Ministry on the Global Compact for Migration.

The high-level meeting brought together representatives from the Western Balkans as well as several neighbouring EU countries.

Ambassador Thompson remarked on the importance of the discussion to the region, singling out the large-scale migration in 2015. “Large numbers of people arrived at your borders in need and received fast and effective assistance,” she said.

“Among them were vulnerable migrants, including unaccompanied children and victims of trafficking. Many of them did not qualify for international protection, but required and continue to receive assistance.”

Promising delegates IOM’s “full and enduring support,” Ambassador Thompson urged them to work for the successful fruition of the Global Compact for Migration: “We simply cannot and must not fail. We must and we can change the toxic narrative on migration and unlock its ability to fulfil human potential.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Elizabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Director General for Legal and Consular Affairs at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, hosting the event.

“What we share here is the experience of 2015 which triggered the biggest migration flow since the end of the Second World War,” she noted. “We also share what it means not to be properly prepared, so it makes sense to talk about it.”

The meeting took place at the same time as the United Nations General assembly and one year, almost to the day, since IOM joined the United Nations and the UN Declaration on Refugees and Migrants was signed.

Ellen Hansen, Senior Policy Advisor with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees acknowledged this, and spoke of the need for two strong Global Compacts, one each for Migration and Refugees.

She stressed that the compacts would have a positive impact in many areas, notably on national asylum system. In concord with Ambassador Thompson’s earlier sentiments, she noted that the compacts would also expand regular migration pathways, improve human rights of migrants and refugees, help identify victims of trafficking and counter xenophobia.

Apart from representatives from the Western Balkans, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria, the event was also attended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Anti-Corruption Agency and several other Vienna-based organizations.

For further information, please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43660 3776404, Email: jlowry@iom.int

  • From left: Elizabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Director General for Legal and Consular Affairs at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, IOM Deputy Director Ambassador Laura Thompson, Ellen Hansen, Senior Policy Advisor with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM’s office for Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Photo: Joe Lowry / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

  • IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson addresses the high level event hosted by the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna yesterday (21/09). Photo Joe Lowry/UN Migration Agency 2017