The International Dialogue on Migration 2012 aimed to enhance synergies between humanitarian and migration perspectives in the search for appropriate responses to migration crises. The second workshop in the series focused on the plight of migrants who are caught up in crises in their countries of transit or destination. When countries of destination or transit experience political turmoil, conflict or natural disasters, their migrant populations often have few means to escape and ensure their own safety. Risks and vulnerabilities are exacerbated when migrants are in an irregular situation, or when countries of origin lack the resources, capacity and access to protect and assist their nationals abroad.

Some migrants may be unable or unwilling to leave the crisis zone, while others may be forced to cross borders into neighbouring countries. As a result, repercussions may be felt regionally and beyond. Ultimately, migrants may escape crises by returning or being evacuated to their countries of origin, but challenges do not end there: countries of origin may struggle to receive and reintegrate large numbers of returnees, while the sudden loss of remittances may leave their families and home communities without income. The departure of migrant workers may also leave gaps in the labour markets of countries of destination which may in fact depend on migrant labour for post-crisis recovery and reconstruction.

The overall objective of the workshop was to support States in devising a framework of policies and actions to address the situation of migrants in crisis situations. Consistent with IOM's mandate and Strategy Document (activity 7), the IDM provided 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.


13 September 2012|Day 1

09:00 - 10:00
10:00 - 11:00
Opening Session
  • 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
  • William Lacy Swing, Director General, IOM (Statement)( Presentation)
  • Gervais Appave, Director ad interim, Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships, and Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM (Presentation)
11:00 - 13:00

Session 1

Thinking ahead – Preparedness measures and cooperation mechanisms Moderator

  • Thomas Gurtner, Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Chad, United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative  


  • Angela Pria, Director General, Department of Immigration and Civil Liberties, Ministry of the Interior, Italy (Statement)
  • Amal Senalankadhikara, Chairman, and K.O.D.D. Fernando, Additional General Manager, Bureau of Foreign Employment, Sri Lanka (Presentation)
  • Lee Young-ho, Deputy Director General, Bureau of Overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea (Presentation)
13:00 - 15:00
Afternoon Break
15:00 - 15:45
Case study Moderator
  • Vincent Houver, Chief of Mission, South Sudan, IOM


  • Moussa Mahamat Dago, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, Chad (Statement)
  • Mats Hultgren, Chief, Supply Support Operation Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Presentation)
  • Alan Butterfield, Officer-in-Charge, Civil-Military Coordination Section, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

15:45 - 18:00

Session 2

Immediate response – Assistance and protection to migrants stranded in crises Moderator

  • Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Associate Professor of International Migration and Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown University


  • Hammad Abdullah Dahan, Minister Plenipotentiary, Secretary of the National Committee for Refugees Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yemen, and Zerihun Kebede Wudie, State Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Ethiopia (joint presentation) (Presentation)(Statement)
  • Akihiro Izumi, Official, Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Relief Division, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan (Statement)(Presentation)
  • Chainarong Vasanasomsithi, Director, Office of Public Sector Development, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Ministry of Interior, Thailand (Presentation)
  • Andreas Wigger, Head, Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division, International Committee of the Red Cross (Statement)

14 September 2012|Day 2

10:00 - 12:30
Migrants’ Voice


  • Qasim Sufi, Chief of Mission, Chad, IOM
10:30 - 13:00

Session 3

Sustainable strategies – Addressing long-term consequences for migrants, counties of origin and countries of destination Moderator

  • Neil Buhne, Director, Geneva Liaison Office, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, United Nations Development Programme


  • Eduardo Bonilla Menchaca, Director of Consular Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile (Statement)
  • Bui Quoc Thanh, Deputy Director General, Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viet Nam (Statement) (Presentation)
  • Olabisi Dare, Acting Director for Political Affairs, African Union Commission (Presentation)
  • Honorata O. Victoria, Chairperson, Kanlungan Centre Foundation, Philippines (Presentation)
13:00 - 15:00
Afternoon Break
15:00 - 17:30

Special Session

Protecting and assisting migrants during times of crisis – The way forward Moderator

  • William Lacy Swing, Director General, IOM


  • Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bangladesh (Statement)
  • Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration, Chad (Statement)
  • Joseph Lual Achuil, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, South Sudan (Presentation)
  • Claus Sørensen, Director General, Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, European Commission
  • Abdoulkader Aghali, Deputy Director, Office of the Prime Minister, Niger (Statement)
17:30 - 18:00
Concluding Session
  • IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will present a summary of workshop conclusions. (Presentation)


Related documents 
Event documents