News & Events


IOM will participate in a round table organized by the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) in London, on 10 December on the outcomes of and follow up to the UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development which took place on 3-4 October at the UN in New York. The round table will focus on the Declaration adopted by the General Assembly, the Secretary General’s Eight-point Agenda for Action, and the 8 point 5 year plan put forward jointly by Civil Society, discussing whether the emphasis on the issues is right, if there are any missing and what should happen with their implementation.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this discussion and speak about IOM’s strategy and action plan for the coming years,” said Jill Helke, IOM Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships, who will participate in the round table. “Migration is an issue that offers many opportunities but also poses significant challenges for societies and governments. It is more urgent than ever to ensure deeper understanding of the realities, and discuss policies and priorities to maximize the benefits of migration and mitigate its ill effects.”

The round table is part of a series of briefings AFFORD is launching reflecting on the outcome of the high Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, ahead of the Global Forum on Migration and Development to be held in May 2014 in Stockholm and deliberations around the Post 2015 Development agenda. The meeting will be chaired by Baroness Young of Hornsey, EU Sub Committee C External Affairs and will be held at Millbank House, House of Lords. Other participants are the Rt. Hon. Lord Chidgey, Co-Chair Lib-Dem Parliamentary Party Committee on International Affairs, and representatives from DFID, academics, civil society and other experts on migration and development.

On November 12th, St. Mary’s Church in Marlyebone, London will play host to Fashioned For Freedom, an ethical fashion event organised by House of Beth in partnership with IOM to raise money for those directly involved in the prevention, rescue and reintegration of victims of human trafficking. BBC personality Nel Hedayat and Sky Sports presenter Olivia Godfrey will host the event, with brief talks from Ecover UK and Vice Chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation Baroness Butler Sloss.

Ethical designers Ada Zanditon, Belulah London, From Somewhere, Henrietta Ludgate, Goodone, Zoe Boomer, People Tree and ShadowplayNYC have all donated clothes, which will be showcased in the premiere of Tamzin Haughton’s innovative fashion film “Flight”. The clothes will then be auctioned with the proceeds going to IOM and Red Light Campaign. In addition to the auction, there will be underground favourite Digital Farm Animals on the decks, an open wine bar sponsored by Nederburg and Pongracz, and dynamic art installations metamorphosing the Church into a beautiful and creative space.

IOM is finalizing a diaspora mapping exercise of skilled Somali migrants in the UK. The project, the first of its kind, is designed to encourage migrants with technical skills to participate in the development of their home country. The survey focuses on “educated, qualified and trained practitioners in the fields of health, engineering, general technical support, education, law and technology” in the Somali UK diaspora. Somalis have settled in the UK since the mid-19th century, when Somali sailors first arrived in UK port cities. The civil war and instability in Somalia between 1988 and 1991, which continues today, triggered an exodus and there are now between 100,000 and 200,000 people of Somali origin living in the UK. They include a diverse mixture of first generation and British-born students, asylum-seekers, skilled professionals.

The IOM exercise, conducted by consultants from the Shan Cultural Association UK, used a combination of questionnaires and discussions with groups representing the community, the Somali embassy and UK civil servants. The project started with a survey of the Somali UK diaspora to establish their demographic make-up, their distribution in the UK, their skill sets and their relationship with Somalia. It also explored possible obstacles to their involvement in development projects in Somalia. The survey showed that a remarkable 87 per cent of those questioned “would contribute to the development of their country through short-term knowledge and skills transfer.” Together with security concerns, one of the main reasons cited for not getting involved was existing work commitments in the UK.

The finding highlighted the importance of employer involvement in projects like the IOM-UNDP QUESTS-MIDA programme, which encourages Somali technical experts living abroad to undertake short assignments in Somalia that contribute to the country’s development. The Somali UK diaspora map is one of several mapping exercises currently being carried by IOM London. Other governments that have commissioned similar projects include Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Lesotho. The mapping exercises are potentially important for skill-starved developing countries. For example, an estimated 20 per cent of Sierra Leonean physicians and 25 per cent of Sierra Leonean nurses work in the UK.