Switzerland, IOM Cambodia Sign Funding Agreement to Develop Regional Program on Skills Development and Safe Migration


Cambodia -  The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and IOM today signed an agreement for an inception phase for a Regional program on poverty reduction through skills development to promote safe and regular migration in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

The inception phase (starting in December 2015 through November 2016) aims at developing a robust conceptual framework for an overall long-term programme focussing on skills development and safe migration.

With growing regional integration, migration is likely to contribute to significant gains through remittances, with positive impacts on additional incomes.

Yet, labour migration in a context of a weak rule of law poses high risks, in particular to female migrant workers. Vulnerabilities of migrant workers result in multiple forms of abuse, exploitation and violence. It is for this reason that the new regional programme strives to maximize the benefits of regulated migration, while fighting the often cumbersome situation of migrant workers.

Tim Enderlin, Regional Director of SDC based in Vientiane, emphasized the importance of the program for promoting inclusive development in the Mekong Region.

“The support to this programme is embedded in the wider engagement of Switzerland in the Mekong Region to promote poverty reduction. By focussing on skills development, the program builds on Switzerland’s experience in this topic in bilateral projects in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, bringing them on a regional level,” he said.

Rahel Boesch, the Director SDC in Cambodia highlighted the specific program approach: “The programme empowers migrant workers to know and claim their rights. At the same time it supports sending and hosting country governments to promote and protect those rights for the benefit for all, the migrant workers and a healthy economy,” he noted. 

Dr Leul Mekonnen, IOM Cambodia’s Chief of Mission said: “During the initial inception phase, IOM will develop a comprehensive programme which aims at alleviating mismatches between the supply and demand sides within national labour markets and among countries in the Mekong sub-region. We will look specifically in sectors with high development potential, thus ultimately enabling access to improved employment opportunities and working conditions for migrants.’’

“This, in turn, will contribute to poverty reduction in countries of origin through safer circular migration flows and skills transfer,” he added.

At the policy level, the program will support upholding of migrant workers’ fundamental rights, in close partnership with governments, civil society stakeholders, UN agencies, research institutes and will feed into the global policy dialogue through established mechanisms including ASEAN, the Bali Process, Colombo Process, and Global Forum on Migration and Development by bringing in practical experiences.

For further information please contact Guenole Oudry at IOM Cambodia, Tel: +855 23 216 532, Email: goudry@iom.int