The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNICEF signed a new Strategic Collaboration Framework solidifying the organizations’ united commitment to protecting the rights of migrant children.
In 2006, UNICEF and IOM signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining the main areas of cooperation between the two agencies in humanitarian settings. The well-established operational relationship responding to the pressing issues facing migrant children around the world has been further strengthened since that time.
“Strengthening our relationship, UNICEF and IOM will continue to enhance the capacities of a large spectrum of actors, including Civil Society and governmental authorities, to assist these children according to their rights and needs,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.
“Around the world, migrant children are facing alarming levels of xenophobia, the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and limited access to essential services,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “The growing partnership between UNICEF and IOM will improve our ability to reach these children with the services, support, and protection they need to make the most of their lives.”
Signed at UNICEF House in New York prior to a multi-stakeholder dialogue organized as part of the International Migration Review Forum, the new Framework brings greater predictability and responsiveness to the partnership by establishing priorities that target the security and wellness of migrants children.
This agreement provides an institutional framework to enhance and reinforce cooperation deeply rooted in and driven by the experience of the partnership in the field.
Key priorities outlined in the Framework include:
- Capacity building for institutions and actors in charge of direct assistance;
- Data collection and dissemination to identify protection risks and vulnerability patterns among migrant and returnee children;
- Strengthening the capacity of child-sensitive health and educational services and ensuring these services are inclusively available to all children in national systems;
- Increasing cooperation between humanitarian actors and their initiatives to aid migrant children;
- Strengthening child and social protection systems through return and reintegration programs, case management, and inclusive child protection procedures for all children;
- Influencing policies and systems from the local to international level, incentivizing cooperation between relevant humanitarian and development institutions, and supporting national government agencies.
UNICEF and IOM are currently working to address pressing global challenges and appeal to other humanitarian organizations and their partners to establish similar collaborative frameworks to ensure the safety and livelihood of migrant children.