International Organizations: International Organization for Migration

Mission: IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society. To support this, they act to assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management, advance understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration, and uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.

What They Do: IOM is comprised of 116 members and 25 observers. They assist governments and civil society through a variety of migrant management activities. These include:
–    rapid humanitarian responses to sudden migration flows
–    post-emergency return and reintegration programs
–    assistance to migrants on their way to new homes and lives
–    facilitation of labor migration
–    assisted voluntary return for irregular migrants
–    recruitment of highly qualified nationals for return to their countries of origin
–    aid to migrants in distress
–    training and capacity-building of officials
–    measures to counter trafficking in persons
–    migration medical and public health programs
–    mass information and education on migration
–    research related to migration management and other services for migrants.

IOM is highly decentralized and service-oriented. There are currently 16 Missions with Regional functions serving as resource centers and seven Special Liaison Missions. There are 280 field locations and 1400 active projects with more than 5000 operational staff.

Who They Collaborate With: While not part of the United Nations system, IOM maintains close working relations with UN bodies and operational agencies. IOM has as partners a wide range of international and non-governmental organizations.

Funding: Member states contribute yearly. International and non-governmental organizations also contribute financially. The current operating budget is approximately 1.1 billion USD.

History: It was established in 1951 as an intergovernmental organization to resettle European displaced persons, refugees and migrants. 1 million migrants were assisted in the first 10 years of its existence. It slowly began to assist wider circles of migrants that were residing farther from Europe and eventually grew to view themselves as the international organization that they were functioning as. The name was changed to the Intergovernmental Committee on Migration in 1980 and then became the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 1989 upon the amendment and ratification of the 1953 Constitution.

As of 2003, 12 million migrants have been directly assisted.

Points of Interest: IOM overhead rate is one of the lowest among international organizations. Up to 2005, IOM’s indirect costs were charged to all projects through an overhead charge of 12% on staff and office costs (approximately 5% on total costs). As of 2006, the IOM Administration starts a phased conversion to an overhead rate of 5% on total costs.

University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center of Excellence in DMHA; ICRC

Contact Information

Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 118
Honolulu, HI 96822