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The International Organization for Migration (IOM)

During the last decades Italy changed from an emigration country to an immigration one.

Italian migration policy is made of different components, namely the coordination strategy at European level, bilateral cooperation with countries of origin and transit and multilateral in the context of IOM and other agencies (especially UNHCR with regard to refugees).

IOM is an international organization founded in 1951 and it is the leading agency at global level on the issue of migration. Its main objectives are studying migratory phenomena, fostering economic and social development through migration and defending migrants’ rights and dignity. During the last years IOM has been growing significantly, reflecting the more and more crucial role of the topic at global level: the numbers concerning the personnel and the operational budget have triplicated during the last 10 years, Member states have increased from 60 to 156 and there are also 10 observatory States. Its structure is particularly flexible, with more than 460 offices located in more than 100 countries. Its sectors of competence have been expanded and the Council of the Organization has started a regular dialogue on migration policies. Until 2016 IOM was an agency independent from the UN system, with which has always closely collaborated in many areas. Since September 2016, thanks to a specific partnership agreement, IOM has become an agency connected to the UN system and has acquired the denomination “The UN Migration Agency”.

Italy supports and cooperates with the Organization financing its projects in Italy and in third countries. Moreover, many programs concerning health, border control and migrants’ assistance have been activated in our country. Among the several initiatives, Italy remembers the projects Praesidium in collaboration with IOM, UNHCR, the Italian Red Cross and Save the Children. Aim of the project is improving the reception of migrants from Italian authorities in Lampedusa Island and on the costs of Sicily, Puglia and Calabria.

On June 29th2018, IOM Member States elected Antonio Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira Vitorino as new Director General. Vitorino succeeds the American William Lacy Swing, who is leaving IOM after being Director General for two five-years mandates. The new Direction of Vitorino is going to start on October 1st2018.