This report is the ninth in the World Migration Report series. Since 2000, IOM has been producing world migration reports to contribute to increased understanding of migration throughout the world. Indeed, it is one of IOM’s key contributions, and it has taken on heightened importance in an era of ‘post-truth’ politics, ‘information overload’ and ‘fake news’. The chance for evidence and knowledge to help explain migration and how it is changing seems to be diminishing at a time when, more broadly throughout the world, facts and expertise seemed to have increasingly taken a back seat to opinion and politics.

IOM is now the United Nations’ migration agency. Even though our Organization has worked in close partnership with the United Nations since our inception, this recognition and the responsibilities that it embodies have made us reflect deeply on all aspects of our work, as we undertake the transitions necessary to fully assume our new role. We have an obligation to demystify the ‘world’ of migration for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, students and the general public. It is our intention to promote a balanced understanding of migration’s complexities, present relevant data and information in an accessible way, explain salient, complex and emerging issues and share over 65 years of our diverse experience across the world.

The World Migration Report 2018 -- the first since IOM assumed its role as the United Nations Migration Agency -- seeks to achieve this goal. We have refined and reinvigorated the series to prioritize its longer-term contribution to fostering a better and more balanced understanding of migration and migrants. We have strengthened our collaborative partnerships with scholars and applied researchers because we want to draw benefit from their varied expertise and knowledge. We made these changes to increase the World Migration Report’s utility and enhance its contribution to the interconnected areas of migration policy, practice and research that has a strong evidence base.

The report also acknowledges IOM’s continuing emphasis on migrants’ rights and to paying closer attention to those migrants most in need of assistance. This has not come about since joining the UN but has involved sustained effort over recent years and decades, particularly (but not only) in the areas in which IOM works to provide humanitarian assistance to people who have been displaced, including by weather events, conflict and persecution, or to those who have become stranded. IOM provides assistance, support and services to those migrants who are in need, rather than those who have the capacity and means to navigate migration processes themselves. Likewise, IOM remains committed to supporting Member States in developing regions which can most benefit from technical support to enhance their capacity to manage migration, such as through statistical data collection, reporting and analysis, the development of border management and immigration policies and practices, and the practical integration of migrants in communities.

In this era of heightened interest and growing activity affecting migration and migrants, we hope this 2018 edition of the World Migration Report, IOM’s flagship publication, is a close companion and a useful reference. We hope it helps you to make better sense of this challenging and dynamic topic as you endeavour to carry out actions and interventions that serve to improve the situation of migrants and the societies in which we all live.