United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

12 November 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session



        Letter dated 11 November 1996 from the Permanent Representatives
        of Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Pakistan and the Philippines to the
               United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

     In accordance with rule 15 of the rules of procedure of the
General Assembly, we have the honour to request the inclusion in the
agenda of the fifty-first session of the General Assembly of an
additional item entitled "Cooperation between the United Nations and
the International Organization for Migration".

     An explanatory memorandum in support of the above request is
annexed to the present letter, in accordance with rule 20 of the rules
of procedure of the General Assembly.

(Signed)  Anwarul K. CHOWDHURY             (Signed)  Erich VILCHEZ ASHER      
  Permanent Representative of                Permanent Representative of      
  Bangladesh to the United Nations           Nicaragua to the United Nations  

(Signed)  Ahmad KAMAL                      (Signed)  Felipe H. MABILANGAN     
  Permanent Representative of                Permanent Representative of the  
  Pakistan to the United Nations             Philippines to the United Nations


                            Explanatory memorandum

     The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an
intergovernmental organization with 59 member States and 41 observer
States (November 1996).  Established in 1951 outside the United
Nations system, IOM has held observer status in the General Assembly
since 1992 and actively participates in coordination mechanisms
established within the United Nations.  IOM works closely with a
number of United Nations partners, including the Department of
Humanitarian Affairs, the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the
International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.  A cooperation agreement
between the United Nations and IOM was signed at Geneva on 25 June

     The focus of IOM over recent years has expanded to offer
programmes that assist migrants and Governments worldwide.  With its
headquarters at Geneva, IOM has some 1,200 staff members spread over
77 regional and country offices.

     IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly
migration benefits migrants and society.  It acts with its partners in
the international community to assist in meeting the operational
challenges of migration; to advance understanding of migration issues;
to encourage social and economic development through migration; and to
work towards effective respect of the human dignity and well-being of
migrants.  In the context of its Constitution, individuals of concern
to IOM include economic migrants, displaced persons, refugees,
nationals returning to their home country and other individuals in
need of international migration assistance.

     Historically, IOM has emphasized assistance to migrants resettling
permanently in another country.  In recent years, however, the
organization's activities and functions have changed in order to meet
the new and evolving needs and challenges faced by the international

     The conclusions of the International Conference on Population and
Development on issues related to migration have been one of the
important guiding elements in planning the organization's strategic
direction towards the next century.  IOM participates in the working
group on international migration under the Task Force on Basic Social
Services for All of the Administrative Committee on Coordination.

     IOM cooperation with the United Nations on concrete initiatives
has experienced considerable growth over recent years.  Examples of
note include active participation in all global United Nations
conferences, the execution of a four-year research project on
migration dynamics in developing countries funded by UNFPA, the
Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced
Persons and Other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in
the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, organized
together with UNHCR and the Organization for Security and Cooperation
in Europe (OSCE) at Geneva in May 1996, joint operations with UNHCR on
the return and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons, and
cooperation with UNDP on migration issues in post-conflict situations.

     IOM groups its work into four broad categories of programme
activity:  humanitarian migration; migration for development;
technical cooperation; and migration debate, research and information:

     (a) Humanitarian migration:

     (i) Voluntary return migration in safety and dignity is an
         important component of IOM humanitarian migration efforts: 
         assisting displaced populations in post-crisis situations,
         helping unsuccessful asylum-seekers and, increasingly,
         victims of trafficking, in particular women and children, and
         other stranded persons seeking to migrate through irregular
         channels, to go home.  In this field, IOM has complemented
         its operational activities with efforts to promote dialogue
         among sending, receiving and transit countries faced with
         both the harsh realities and the humanitarian dilemmas of
         these increasing irregular flows of migrants, with a view
         towards both cooperative solutions and prevention. 
         Resettlement of migrants, including for family reunion is a
         third important component of IOM traditional humanitarian
         migration activities;

    (ii)       IOM also undertakes large programmes to assist internally
               displaced persons as well as demobilized combatants whose
               transport home and reintegration are essential to the
               transition from conflict to a peaceful civil society. 
               While having been involved in helping the resettlement or
               return of victims of most major forced population
               movements over the past four and a half decades, in more
               recent years IOM has increasingly focused on the
               migration aspects of emergencies;

   (iii)       In post-emergency situations, IOM may provide assistance
               in the following areas:  return and reintegration of
               internally displaced persons, civilian reintegration of
               demobilized combatants in cooperation with United Nations
               military, return of qualified nationals, repatriation of
               refugees in cooperation with UNHCR, tracing and family
               reunification in cooperation with the International
               Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), capacity-building in
               migration-related areas, migration information and job
               referral services, micro projects to facilitate
               reintegration of returnees and local communal governance
               support to alleviate migratory pressures;

    (iv)       The migration assistance IOM provides to the internally
               displaced can cover a wide range of interrelated
               activities, such as arranging transport, evacuations and
               returns; and providing health care as well as temporary
               shelter and other material relief.  IOM also provides
               rapid analysis of migratory flows; develops national
               population information systems; and provides technical
               cooperation to Governments;

     (v) In its cooperation with the United Nations, IOM participates
         in coordinated international humanitarian response and the
         consolidated inter-agency appeals issued by the Department of
         Humanitarian Affairs.  The independent status of IOM,
         however, has occasionally permitted it to operate in areas
         such as Iraq and Kuwait during the Persian Gulf crisis and in
         Chechnya, at a time when the United Nations was unable to
         gain access;

     (b) Migration for development:  For several decades, IOM has
carried out programmes predicated on the concept that migration,
particularly of the highly skilled, can promote economic and social
development.  More recently, however, IOM focuses on the return of
developing country nationals who have acquired skills abroad and who
through their return contribute to national development efforts. 
Significant programmes of the latter type are also under way in
certain post-crisis situations, aimed at strengthening capacity where
qualified manpower has been lost to genocide or war;

     (c) Technical cooperation:  Efforts are related largely to the
effects of the changes in the Commonwealth of Independent States and
in Central and Eastern Europe on both intraregional and interregional
migration flows, but increasingly also on the needs of other countries
facing new types of migration challenges.  IOM focuses on building the
capacity to develop and implement adequate migration policies by
providing expert technical advice and training, arrangements for the
sharing of experiences and hands-on migration management methods among
States and with other international organizations;

     (d) Migration debate, research and information:

     (i) The IOM focus in advancing the migration debate has been to
         encourage interchange at the intergovernmental level, through
         workshops, seminars and conferences on such issues as
         trafficking in migrants, respect for the rights and dignity
         of migrants, migration and the environment, emigration
         dynamics in developing countries, etc.  The latter is the
         subject of a four-year research project supported by UNFPA
         that has particular relevance to both the Programme of Action
         adopted by the International Conference on Population and
         Development and the work of the Commission on Population and
         Development at its 1997 session.  Regional and subregional
         dialogues to this end have recently been held covering sub-
         Saharan Africa, the Arab States, Central America and the
         Caribbean.  Other recent research has focused on trafficking
         in women in particular, reflecting the priorities of the
         Cairo and Beijing Programmes of Action and IOM's own
         increasing emphasis on gender issues related to migration;

    (ii)       Information about the realities and risks of irregular
               migration to intending migrants is an area in which IOM
               has experimented considerably over the past several
               years.  In this context of contributing to prevention of
               irregular migration, however, IOM has also stressed the
               need for receiving States to create immigration
               programmes that more adequately reflect labour demands
               currently being met through clandestine migration, and to
               make these known at the same time that control measures
               to deal with irregular migrants are publicized.  In all
               these endeavours, the positive role migration still
               continues to play for many individuals and sending and
               receiving countries also requires constant underscoring. 
               Finally, in the information field, IOM has created a
               migration home page on the World Wide Web
               (http://www.iom.ch), which is designed to serve both as a
               primary source of information on migration (legislation,
               administrative structures, meetings, publications,
               researchers, etc.) as well as a link to other migration-
               related web sites.

     The established organs of IOM are the Council, the Executive
Committee and the Administration.  The Council, on which each member
State has one representative and one vote, is the highest authority of
IOM and determines its policies.  The Executive Committee, comprising
at least nine member States elected for two-year periods, oversees the
policies, operations and administration of IOM.  The Administration,
comprising a Director General, a Deputy Director General and such
staff as the Council may determine, is responsible for the
administrative and executive functions of IOM, in accordance with the
Constitution and the policies and decisions of the Council and the
Executive Committee.  The Director General is the highest executive
official of IOM and is elected by the Council for a period of five

     The IOM budget is composed of an administrative part, funded by
assessed contributions from all member States according to an agreed
percentage scale and an operational part funded wholly by voluntary
contributions from Governments and multilateral and private sources. 
IOM maintains a limited emergency revolving fund for emergency
assessment use and for initial start-up of emergency operations prior
to actual receipt of external operational funding.


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Date last posted: 28 December 1999 17:35:10
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