Summit on Refugees and Migrants Opens as IOM Joins United Nations

20 September 2016

United Nations, New York - The UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, which took place on Monday (19/09) in New York, created a singular opportunity for the global community to forge a greater consensus on managing the world’s movements of migrants and refugees. This mega-trend of the 21st Century now represents unprecedented human mobility, with one of every seven people worldwide living or working somewhere other than their place of birth.

“We are gathered here today for an historic Summit – the first ever to assemble Heads of State from around the world to address the question of refugees and migrants,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in his opening remarks to the Summit at the UN General Assembly.

With representatives of nearly two hundred nation states looking on, DG Swing and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed a document formally linking IOM to the UN. It established IOM as a “related organization” of the UN, giving the UN for the first time, an explicit migration mandate.

The signing signalled the culmination of a process that began in June 2016 when IOM Member States unanimously endorsed the process to join the UN. DG Swing noted that the decision reflected a growing recognition of the importance of migration and the need to better link human mobility with related policy agendas, including in the humanitarian, development, human rights, climate change and peace and security domains.