Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.
With 165 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.
IOM became a related organisation of the UN, to strengthen the cooperation and enhance their ability to fulfil their respective mandates in the interest of migrants and Member States. Through the Agreement the UN recognized IOM as an indispensable actor in the field of human mobility. This includes protection of migrants and displaced people in migration-affected communities, as well as in areas of refugee resettlement and voluntary returns, and incorporates migration in country development plans.
This paved the way for the Agreement to be signed by the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and IOM Director General William Lacy Swing at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016. The Summit brought together UN Member States to address large movements of refugees and migrants for more humane and coordinated approach. The Summit came at a time when global perceptions of migrants have grown negative and are increasingly informed by xenophobia. It addressed the challenge of global migration as a reality to be managed rather than as a problem to be solved.