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IOM pledges to consolidate multifaceted engagement with Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, October 10, 2023 (FBC) – he new Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Amy E. Pope said that a multifaceted engagement with Ethiopia is a priority where the country serves as the seat for the African Union.

The director-general, who took office on the first of October 2023, told the media today that the work of the International Organization for Migration really needs to prioritize engaging in Africa where migration is a pressing issue for the continent.

Over 80 percent of migration occurs in the continent and across the continent, she revealed, adding that it is not to Europe or to the Gulf states.

“Throughout my work on issues of migration, it has been clear that the challenges that exist here on the continent are significant. When you look at conflict, poverty, uneven development, and increasingly as we see the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, it is clear that the challenges are enormous,” Pope elaborated.

In this case, engaging with Ethiopia is multifaceted, and the African Union here is the best place to reinforce migration affairs as the country is the seat of this continental organ.

Noting that Ethiopia itself is a mission that has been with the International Organization for Migration since 1995, the organization has been engaging with the Government of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has been hosting quite significant displaced people and refugees, the director-general noted.

“It is one of our largest missions in Africa, faces all facets of the human migration experience…  There are nearly 4.4 million right now who are displaced, whether it is people who are leaving Ethiopia to go, live and work elsewhere.”

Moreover, the director-general indicated that Ethiopia is also serving as transiting for many people who are on their way elsewhere and arriving to remain in Ethiopia.

Therefore, the needs are diverse and possibilities for engagement are tremendous, she stated, adding that “so for me, this (Ethiopia) was a natural place to start the conversation.”

IOM will also engage with the African Union member states not only to build out better ways for migrants to move but also enable better economic integration, which is one of the AU’s strategic goals.

The director-general said that focusing on the impacts of climate on human mobility is her priority.

She figured out that about 7 million people have been displaced as a result of climate change just in the east African region.

“We’ve seen communities displaced by drought most recently, but also flooding. We know that climate will become one of the greatest stabilizers of communities, unless further action is undertaken by communities and by member states and partners,” Pope warned.

For her, this is an area where IOM is well positioned to respond, but it needs to do more in concert with our member states and partners.

The director-general also went on to mention the natural and manmade catastrophic events that have been happening globally, including the horrific flood in Libya and an earthquake in Morocco and Afghanistan just a few weeks ago, as called by ENA.

“You layer one conflict upon disaster to disaster and you see the numbers of people who are being displaced rise astronomically,” Pope said.

Recall that Africa has made more progress than any other continent in developing some of the most progressive legal frameworks around forced displacement.

The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (better known as the Kampala convention), which came into effect in 2012, is considered a landmark for human rights. Over 25 states have ratified the convention which legally binds government to protect the well-being of IDPs.

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