DG's Statements and Speeches
01 Oct 2018

Message of Director General António Vitorino to IOM Staff

“Today it is my first day in office as your new director general and I want you all to know how fortunate I feel to be joining the IOM family, roughly 11,000 men and women, the majority of whom are scattered around the globe.

With this brief message, let me, first and foremost praise the remarkable work of my predecessor Bill Swing. He has consolidated IOM reputation as a principled, accountable, transparent organization with an enviable track record of efficiency and effectiveness.

Thank you, Bill.

Let me also be very direct with you in this first message to tell you what especially appeals about IOM in my view, is its commitment to be simultaneously at the service of migrants and of our member states alike.

Thanks to IOM membership of the UN family, we are also I believe, reaching an inflection point in the life of our organization.

We are about to see, hopefully, the Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration being endorsed in Marrakech in December. And Secretary General of United Nations has asked IOM to play a coordinating and supporting role of the newly-created UN migration network, therefore, being in charge of supporting member states in the implementation of the objectives of the global compact.

I believe that IOM is fortunate with the fact that these new tasks largely align to our work that we already develop daily. And, the advantages of IOM, that you know so well, its flexibility, its effectiveness, its decentralized nature and being a cost-effective organization make IOM prepared to this new challenge and to adapt, change and grow.

Of course, there will also need to be very clear on one point: we stick to our very nature. We are an organization very much close to migrants, especially those who are more vulnerable and those who are in need of humanitarian assistance. And, we will stick to our very nature, to our DNA, being capable to respond to the requests of our member states, being flexible in providing tailor-made solutions and being effective in contributing to the management of migratory flows, linking together countries of origin, of transit and of destination.

Above all I think that these new tasks correspond to the recognition of the unique role that IOM plays as a proximity organization to the migrants that we serve in particular, and our key roles to guarantee their human rights, their human dignity, their wellbeing, irrespective of their legal status.

Therefore, IOM’s new role in the UN system and in the implementation of the Global Compact should not be seen as a job just for the headquarters or for the central departments. Not at all. It is a task which involves the entire organization and doing that, we will do it in an inclusive way, from the smallest missions to my office in headquarters, including the country and the regional offices.

We will also deepen our partnership with UN agencies and other stakeholders from the civil society at the local, at the regional and global level.

And, of course, for that purpose some organizational and funding adjustments will have to be made in due course.

I’m fully aware that today in different parts of the world, the political landscape on migration is overheated.

But the paradox is that at the same time as there are signs of retrenchment, that’s the moment where the global compact is adopted.

That’s the moment where the UN Migration Network is created and therefore those two instruments, fully aligned with the sustainable development goals, will be the leverage to put migration in the international agenda, and to guarantee its advancement worldwide.

Therefore, I must say to you very frankly, I believe that there has never been a more exciting or challenging time to work in the field of migration.

I’m counting with the professionalism, commitment and full engagement of all who work in IOM.

Our future success depends as much on the service of the countless men and women of IOM, as it does on the leadership.

I know for my personal experience that you, the staff of IOM, whether in headquarters or in the field are totally committed to the values of our constitution and to our unique mission.

As we take on these new challenges I am counting on all of you.

Thank you.