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Med migration meeting spawns mechanism for improved communication

Med migration meeting spawns mechanism for improved communication
A meeting last week of UN agencies at the IMO headquarters in London on the subject of migration by sea has led to an agreement for improved inter-agency communication.

The humanitarian crisis of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers suffering and dying in desperate attempts to cross seas was the subject of a meeting between relevant UN agencies. In 2014 it is estimated that 3,500 deaths occurred in 218,000 movements by sea in Europe alone, mostly in the Mediterranean.

An "interim, informal mechanism for enhancing inter-agency communication on the subject" was agreed, although the details are yet to be finalised.

The mechanism is intended to "facilitate operational-level communication between relevant agencies bilaterally and multilaterally and provide a conduit for better informing the Global Migration Group (GMG) on maritime issues."

From the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), executive director, Yuri Fedotov said, “The first two months of 2015 alone have already seen several incidents in various parts of the world. These tragedies represent a major global challenge, requiring the urgent attention of States and international organisations. We need to ensure close inter-agency cooperation between our agencies in line with our respective mandates, and in cooperation with the private sector and civil society.”

Speaking for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Bernd Hemingway said: “Never before have we seen so many crisis situations and emergencies that displace people in huge numbers. There are immense ‘push’ factors which encourage people to move from one country to another. For us, contact with the other agencies, particularly on the maritime side, fills a gap that we are able to close now.”

Craig Mokhiber, from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) added: “There is a broad recognition that this is a multi-dimensional problem that requires multi-dimensional solutions. The beauty of having the entire international system come together and talk about these issues is that you have the expertise, the experience and the perspectives from across the spectrum.”

The International Labour Organization (ILO),United Nations Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), IMO, UNODC, OHCHR, UNDP, and the IOM all took part in the discussions.

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