At the 106th Council Meeting of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which was held in Geneva from 24 to 27 November and which brought together 162 governmental members as well as representatives from United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, ICMC highlighted once again the need for a global response to address the current refugee crisis in Europe.

As the Syrian war is causing the displacement of more than 12 million people, the identification of a concrete plan of action is urgently needed. Such a plan should be built taking into consideration lessons learned and successful joint responses adopted in the past. The Comprehensive Plan of Action adopted within the framework of the 1970s Orderly Departure Program, with which the international community came together to address the flow of Vietnamese refugees in the aftermath of the war, is widely recognized as a successful example. Aimed at preserving the refugees’ asylum rights and preventing fatalities at sea, the Orderly Departure Program allowed to effectively respond to the Vietnamese migration crisis. Many ICMC’s staff members, deployed in Thailand and in the Philippines, also played an active role in the Program’s implementation.

As it had happened on the occasion of the UNHCR High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Protection at Sea held in Geneva in December 2014 and in a recent ICMC publication, ICMC called for the implementation of a new Plan of Action adapted to the current context and addressing protection needs in an efficient way. Such an intervention would actualize the commitment of “facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration”, which was undertaken by 193 governments in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 1970s Comprehensive Plan of Action constitutes proof that multilateral cooperation and international commitments adopted jointly by governments, international organizations and NGOs may provide a successful response to a long-protracted refugee crisis. A similar endeavor is urgently needed and can no longer be deferred.

Watch ICMC’s speech during the IOM Council’s Panel Discussion on Sustainable Development Goals & IOM Migration Governance Framework.

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