IOM Participates in the 18th Annual Pacific Immigration Directors’ Conference 28 – 30 July 2015, Apia, Samoa

Posted: 
08/07/15

Vanuatu - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) joined the Heads of Immigration Authorities of countries and territories and partner organisations in the Pacific at the 18th Annual PIDC Meeting in Apia, Samoa from 28 to 30 July 2015. Under the theme of the Conference; “Our Voyage Towards Tomorrow’”, the PIDC examined the interrelated migration and border issues confronting the Pacific region as they considered ways of responding to current and emerging challenges. In opening the Conference, Hon Fonotoe Nuefesili Pierre Lauofo, Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister noted “the migration issues confronting Pacific Island Countries (PIC) are increasing in complexity and scope, especially transnational criminal activities including human trafficking and smuggling, money laundering and the use of PIC by criminal syndicates and individuals as transiting as well as destination countries. The region therefore looks up to the Heads of Immigration to come up with ways to manage these challenges.”

In recognition of the Organization’s work, IOM was invited to make a joint presentation with the Government of Vanuatu on the Migration and Border Capability Improvement Program (MBCIP) implemented by IOM. The project highlighted, inter alia the challenges of the project which was compounded by Cyclone Pam,  change management requirements, and achievements to date which could only be possible through the collaboration and commitment of all partners. On Change Management, the Project Manager, Dr Lesi Korovavala remarked that “change starts in the mind and unless there is a change in mindset, real change will remain elusive”. He encouraged the PIDC to re-examine its approach to regionalism in ways that enable the kind of integration which would enhance their roles, border integrity and cooperation.

In presenting a global overview of IOM’s services and outreach, Joe Appiah, the Chief of Mission for IOM Australia and Coordinator/Advisor for the Pacific underlined that IOM seeks to strengthen relations with countries in the region and “commits to partner with you in the journey ahead and support your efforts at addressing the migration challenges confronting the region through the broad spectrum of services we offer as an Organization”. Engagement with PIDC members will be deepened gradually in the course of the year in ways that is sensitive to Pacific cultures and protocols. Current and emerging issues and challenges confronting PIC clearly require IOM’s continuing engagement and assistance. In the meantime lines of communication are being reinforced and dialogue on migration issues from border management system to climate induced displacements is expected from PIC in the immediate future.

Various participants acknowledged the work of IOM and expressed appreciation for the services the Organization provides. A number of resolutions and decisions were taken aimed at improving migration management and security in the region. One of the resolutions was an encouragement for membership in IOM by countries which have not yet joined in order to access our services and expertise. Finally, a decision was taken to move the headquarters of the PIDC from Suva, Fiji to Apia, Samoa. 

This was a truly Pacific event with its renowned cultural signature and hospitality.