Addressing and highlighting the positive contribution of migrants, as well as promoting their rights and potential, is a global challenge. And IOM is just one of many organisations operating in the field. International organizations, NGOs, businesses and other private sector entities, either individually, or in partnership, all make important contributions to this essential cause.

Agencies and institutions

IOM works with a wide range of global institutions. We are currently chair of the Global Migration Group, which brings together IOM and 15 agencies of the United Nations.


NGOs and civil society

Today over 1,600 global Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) work with IOM to develop an activate a broad range of projects including: research, awareness-raising, advocacy, training and national capacity enhancement, migrant assistance, including health-care provision and other forms of service delivery in humanitarian, early recovery and developments settings.

Our partnerships are fundamental to enabling us to deliver the work we do and provide migrants the best support possible.

Private sector

Work is a key reason why people migrate. IOM aims to forms strategic partnerships with private sector employers, ranging from information exchange on best practices to direct financial support of selected projects.


The Global Migration Group (GMG) is an inter-agency group bringing together heads of agencies to promote the wider application of all relevant international and regional instruments and norms relating to migration, and to encourage the adoption of more coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approaches to the issue of international migration. The GMG is particularly concerned with improving the overall effectiveness of its members and other stakeholders in capitalizing upon the opportunities and responding to the challenges presented by international migration.

GMG Members

  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
  • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • UN Regional Commissions (ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA)


Italy has long been one of the gateway countries for migrants entering Europe from Africa.  Un-monitored this flow presented many problems ranging from trafficking and violence, to migrants with health problems and unaccompanied minors.

In 2006 the Italian Government decided to establish a permanent presence in the reception centre of Lampedusa, a small island in the Mediterranean and a key landing point for these African migrants. Three Organizations, IOM, UNHCR and the Italian Red Cross (Save the Children joined the project in 2008) collaborated to provide the essential support and services at the centre.

It’s role was provide migrants with humanitarian assistance and general legal orientation, as well as providing access to asylum procedures and other European and Italian protection measures and mechanisms. Each agency provides specific legal assistance based on different roles and competences.

IOM specific role includes:

  • Legal counseling to migrants on consequences of irregular entry (joint information sessions to adults with UNHCR);
  • Identification of vulnerable groups such as victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors (in cooperation with Save the Children);
  • Counseling on family reunification, if feasible;
  • Referral of specific cases (victims of trafficking or other, if applicable) to competent authorities (police and judicial authority);
  • Monitoring of reception centre conditions and general migrant’s treatment;

Given the successful experience of the multiagency approach, the Praesidium project was extended to other landing points in Sicily and during the following years also to other Regions of the South of Italy. 


Having suffered a serious drought in 2011, Somalia was witnessing an increase in social unrest, in particular, violence towards women. 

In response to the growing problem, IOM initiated a series of projects, supporting existing health care providers, to provide emergency health services to drought affected internally displaced persons (IDPs), with particular focus on psychosocial support and protection with a focus on trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV).  In addition, community members are recruited for training as psychosocial counselors and peer counselors to reach other vulnerable IDPs through information sessions.

Many of the GBV cases are reported to occur at night, when IDP settlements are plunged in darkness.

In response to this, IOM is partnering with global Japanese company, Panasonic, to distribute solar lanterns to the most vulnerable.

“Our community did not have light before, now our nights have become days. “

Fadumo Mohamed, an internally displaced person from Koosar IDP Settlement in Burao, Somaliland

In response to this initiative, a partnership has been formed between IOM, University of Tokyo (Japan) and University of Nairobi (Kenya) to conduct a baseline and post-intervention study in Garowe, that will examine the frequency of sexual and gender-based (SGBV) cases and the effectiveness of solar lanterns as a means of protection for vulnerable IDPs.

To raise wider awareness against the impact of GBV, IOM alongside its partners also support social mobilization through campaigns and events like the ‘16 Days of Activism’.

The event reached over 16,000 IDPs in Galkayo, Puntland. The community-led GBV awareness activities were coordinated by one of IOM’s partners, the Galkayo Education Center for Peace and Development (GECPD), a local NGO, which was founded by Mama Hawa Aden Mohamed, the winner of the 2012 Nansen Refugee Award.

“In Somalia, solar lanterns have great potential to protect women and children in internally displaced person (IDP) settlements against sexual assault. Panasonic has granted funding to IOM to conduct a study on assessing the links between solar lanterns and a reduction in sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). It will also seek to highlight other positive results of lanterns in the settlements. The study will be released in December 2013.” 

  • IOM reached more than 600,000 displaced people
  • More than 1,400 solar lanterns were distributed among settlements


South Africa is no exception to the growing worldwide phenomenon of xenophobia towards migrant populations, with a common belief that most foreigners stay in South Africa irregularly and that whatever they have has been acquired through illegal means.

In May 2008, this tension led to widespread anti-immigrant violence leaving 62 people dead and about 100,000 displaced.  

In response to the problems in affected townships, IOM facilitated a number of cultural diversity workshops to build the capability of local NGOs to encourage social cohesion. Through its project on Strengthening Communities of Diversity and Peace, implemented since April 2011, IOM has trained “Peace Monitors” in six provinces of South Africa on topics such as: cultural diversity awareness, negotiation skills, identifying early signs of potential conflict and resolution strategies. The peace monitors often act as mediators, quelling tensions during times of conflict.

To further heighten awareness on the plight of migrants, as well as promote migrant integration, IOM has backed the production of a film titled Man on Ground, tackling identity, fear, xenophobia and reconciliation. Man on Ground was launched in May 2012, coinciding with the commemoration of the 2008 violence. 


Maple Leaf Foods are a global food processing company based in Canada. With a shortage of local skilled candidates, the company needed to look elsewhere to recruit the labour it needed to meet production demand increases at its meat processing factories in Alberta and Manitoba.

The business identified that the essential skills could be found amongst workers in Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras.  In order to facilitating the safe and legal labour migration from these markets to Canada,  Maple Leaf and IOM and signed bilateral agreements concerning IOM’s assistance in in this process to work in the “Manitoba, which is mainly agricultural and not densely populated, is facing a shortage of workers, so international recruitment is essential to helping us find qualified candidates.” Susan Yaeger-Szoke, Head of International Recruitment for Maple Leaf.

Candidates are hired for a period of two years under the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  Maple Leaf nominates those wishing to stay in Canada, once approved, permanent residence status is awarded and can bring his or her spouse and minor children to Canada IOM’s role is to assist in the identification of potential workers, the documentation, and with their preparation and travel to Canada. 

More about IOM and the Global Migration Group

One mechanism for IOM’s collaboration with the UN system is the Global Migration Group (GMG), an inter-agency group, meeting at both the working level as well as at the level of heads of agencies. The GMG aims to promote the wider application of all relevant international and regional instruments and norms relating to migration, and the provision of more coherent and stronger leadership to improve the overall effectiveness of the international community’s and United Nation’s policy and operational response to the opportunities and challenges presented by international migration.

The GMG grew out of an existing inter-agency group, the Geneva Migration Group, which was established in April 2003 by the heads of IOM, ILO, OHCHR, UNCTAD, UNHCR and UNODC. In early 2006 membership in the Geneva Migration Group was expanded to include UNDESA, UNDP, UNFPA and the World Bank. The Geneva Migration Group’s Terms of Reference were updated, and it was renamed the “Global Migration Group”. In November 2007 the GMG admitted a further four members – UNESCO, UNICEF, the United Nations Regional Commissions and UNITAR. In 2010, WHO and UN Women were admitted as members, bringing the total GMG membership to 16 agencies.

Briefing of United Nations Member States on the activities of the Global Migration Group. (© IOM 2007. Photo: Anke Strauss)

IOM served as Chair of the GMG from July to December 2013, prior to which IOM had served as Chair from January to June 2007. The International Labour Organization (ILO) assumed the chairmanship of the GMG on 1 January 2014 for a full year, following a GMG internal review. For a list of previous Chairs

Working Groups

The GMG has three long-term working groups and two time-bound task forces, including:

  • Working Group on Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies, co-chaired by IOM and UNDP
  • Working Group on Data and Research, co-chaired by IOM and UNDESA
  • Working Group on Migration, Human Rights and Gender, co-chaired by OHCHR, UN Women and UNICEF
  • Task Force on Capacity Development, co-convened by IOM and UNITAR
  • Task Force on Migration and Decent Work, co-convened by ILO and IOM

GMG at the IOM Council

IOM invited the GMG to interact with its Member States on the occasion of the IOM Council in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013.


The current GMG Chair can be contacted at

More about IOM and the Global Migration Group

IOM-CSO Partnerships: Advancing Migration for the Benefit of All

IOM and civil society organizations (CSOs) cooperate on a broad range of migration issues at global, regional, national and local levels. IOM is committed to sustained and mutually beneficial interaction with CSOs that builds on synergies in policy and operational areas of migration for the benefit of all. CSOs often have strong ties to the communities in which they work, an aspect which complements and enhances the impact of IOM efforts in the field of migration. Where CSOs are national or local in nature, IOM-CSO cooperation can contribute to the local ownership and sustainability of IOM programming.


Improving the Environmental Health Conditions of the People of Somalia

IOM and its partners work together to improve the health conditions of vulnerable migrants and host communities in Somalia.

A Drama of Hope in Viet Nam

A dance performance called “Inviting Myself to Hope” is staged by a group of migrants in attempt to tell authentic stories from their own lives as survivors of domestic violence.

Publication: Mexico – Public Policies Benefiting Migrants

Grupos Beta and Programa Paisano, both examples of successful partnerships with government and civil society, promote the protection of migrant communities in Mexico.

More about IOM and the Global Migration Group

Private Sector

The private sector has a significant and valuable role to play in realizing the positive benefits of migration and in minimizing its costs. While the management of cross-border population flow is an intrinsic feature of state sovereignty, many aspects of migration are also of interest to other stakeholders. The multidimensional nature of migration makes the involvement of the private sector an essential component of a coherent and comprehensive approach.

IOM seeks to forge partnerships with private sector actors focused on areas and subjects of mutual interest and shared values with full respect for each other’s resources, expertise, knowledge, and skills. Successful partnerships can involve information exchanges on best practices, in-kind support, and direct financial support of projects. Agreed goals and processes for monitoring, evaluating and publicizing partnerships are important elements of such partnerships.


AmeriCares, an international humanitarian aid organization that restores health and saves lives by delivering medicines and supplies to people in need worldwide, has been working with IOM since 2005. The two organizations first came together to help survivors of the December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia by providing medical care in the immediate aftermath. In the years since, AmeriCares and IOM have partnered to help improve health care, health education, and mental health services as well as provided livelihood support for affected communities in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

When a deadly cyclone ravaged Myanmar in 2008, the two organizations joined forces to equip mobile clinics and bring health care providers to survivors in the hardest hit areas. AmeriCares provided boat ambulances to transport patients in remote regions as well as medical equipment for clinics IOM set up to replace health care facilities damaged beyond use. When a deadly cholera outbreak struck Zimbabwe in early 2009, AmeriCares and IOM partnered once again to bring pain relievers, antibiotics and other critically needed medicines to children and adults suffering from cholera infections.

“In the aftermath of natural disasters and other emergencies we work with IOM to help us meet the immediate health care needs of those most impacted,” said AmeriCares Vice President of Emergency of Response Christoph Gorder. “Our complementary strengths have proved highly effective in delivering medical aid quickly and efficiently.”

Association of Corporate Travel Executives

ACTE ( is a not-for-profit association representing the global business travel industry through its executive education, international advocacy efforts, and independent industry research. As part of its education platform, ACTE provides education on how the industry can incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles into its own respective business mission.

ACTE’s CSR activities have ranged from providing education on how to make the industry carbon low to combating the trafficking of women and children. IOM has partnered with ACTE to raise awareness on this issue through speaking engagements at ACTE’s Asia Pacific and European global education conferences. The partnership with IOM is the first partnership that ACTE has forged with an international organization and ACTE is committed in continuing to integrate this issue into its education programs. “ACTE believes that partnering with an organization such as IOM is critical to its ability to provide education to the corporate travel industry on the issue of trafficking and feels confident that with IOM’s help the industry can help combat this human rights abuse.” ACTE has representation in Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States. ACTE’s members represent the €200 billion business travel industry.

The King Baudouin Foundation

The King Baudouin Foundation and IOM Serbia teamed to enhance the protection and assistance to victims of trafficking and strengthen regional cooperation by institutionalizing temporary residence permits (TRP).

Legalizing the status of foreign victims of trafficking through temporary residence permits is a precondition for assistance to victims and motivates them to come forward and seek protection. Without a TRP in place, the uncertainty of victims’ status and potential for immediate deportation add to the anxiety of victims who have often already been traumatized by their experience. The setting up of temporary residence permit mechanisms throughout Southeast Europe removes the prospect of immediate deportation of victims and considerably diminishes the risks of their re-entering trafficking networks.

“With its systematic approach, the TRP project has proved to have a strong impact on the victim protection system as a whole while fostering real partnerships between governments, national NGOs and victims themselves,” said Fabrice de Kerchove, Project Manager of the King Baudouin Foundation. “These are some of the reasons why the Foundation was so keen to support the current capacity-building scheme that has been developed by the IOM as a logical follow-up of the TRP initial project.”


The cyclone, which struck Myanmar on May 2nd 2008, devastated five of the country’s 17 states and divisions, with the worst damage concentrated in the Irrawaddy delta. Estimates of the dead and missing ranged between 60,000 – 100,000, with a further 1.5 million severely affected or displaced by the storm.

Chevron responded immediately with a donation of USD 400,000 to IOM’s Emergency response. “Chevron’s contribution represents our commitment to the people of Myanmar,” said Jim Blackwell, president, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration & Production. “This direct aid is intended to help relieve the suffering of those in the hardest hit areas.”

IOM focused Chevron’s contribution on providing shelter, water purification systems, and emergency medical assistance to those in need.

Chevron contributed USD 850,000 in 2004 – 2005 to the IOM Angola’s Community Revitalization Programme. The Programme was designed to economically stabilize communities, facilitate the return and reintegration of refugees, and institute micro-finance projects. The CRP achieved this by augmenting local human capacity to realize greater economic constancy and improved living conditions for disadvantaged communities in the country, thereby supporting on-going efforts to cement peace, security and stability. “We have enjoyed working with IOM and are impressed with its support for returnees in Angola,” stated Dennis Flemming, Project Director for the Angola Partnership Initiative.

Concern Galnaftogas

In December 2007, “Concern Galnaftogas” signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IOM Ukraine to combat human trafficking and promote legal and safe migration of Ukrainian citizens through an information campaign in Western Ukraine. Galnaftogas will sponsor counter-trafficking billboards at 12 OKKO gas stations.

“In order to effectively counter such a phenomenon as trafficking in human beings it is imperative that we track the most recent tendencies of this complex problem. Here, information plays a critical role. We need to acknowledge the driving factors behind the rash steps embarked upon by some of our fellow citizens. Fundamental change must occur in the attitude of Ukrainians in regards to their country, labour, laws, earning money, and to life in general,” emphasized Mr. Yuriy Kuchabskiy, Chairman of Galnaftogas.

Saatchi & Saatchi

Saatchi & Saatchi joined forces with IOM’s Southern Africa Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP) to create a hard-hitting message aimed at raising awareness of human traffickers operating on the continent. The TV ad conveyed the chilling duplicity of human traffickers and was broadcast throughout Southern Africa. Saatchi & Saatchi’s Johannesburg Creative Director, Liam Wielopolski, says an enormous amount of corporate goodwill drove the advertisement’s development and expanded the scale of its play: “Production house Fresh-Eye Productions, SABC and ETV were brought on board, making significant in-kind contributions to support the cause. We were all touched by the work being done by IOM and the difference they make to women who are trapped in appalling conditions.”

 IOM/Saatchi & Saatchi Win Award

American International Group, Inc.

Following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, American International Group, Inc. Disaster Relief Fund contributed to an innovative disaster preparedness programme. IOM Pakistan used the USD 1 million donation to establish ten support hubs and to professionally train and equip rapid response teams to operate in remote areas. The project focused on capacity building for provincial governments and civil society in order to improve their ability to monitor and quickly respond to earthquakes, as well as other emergencies.

Activities also included dissemination of information to the population, monitoring of critical areas, and establishing emergency communication links to the outside world. “IOM has been a valuable partner for the AIG Disaster Relief Fund. The humanitarian and recovery assistance that IOM provided in the wake of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan has been tremendous, and we are proud to support them,” said Ned Cloonan, President of the AIG Disaster Relief Fund.

Dow Chemical

Dow Chemical, through its charitable foundation, the Dow Chemical Foundation, financed a substantial IOM Pakistan project in 2007 to assist the earthquake-affected inhabitants and help promote social and economic recovery. This funding provided for the manufacture, transport and installation of two pre-fabricated school units for 600 primary school children. Once permanent structures are constructed, these units will be dismantled and moved to another area. Dow also provided modular housing units in tsunami affected areas with IOM Indonesia in 2005. The project promoted social and economic recovery on the island of Nias by providing displaced persons with appropriate temporary shelters as the first step towards recovery.

Standard Chartered Bank

IOM Indonesia and Standard Chartered Bank developed a project with the District Health Office in Aceh Barat in 2005 to revitalize community health infrastructure and build capacity in tsunami affected areas in Indonesia. The contribution paid for construction and equipping of one district health training facility and a dormitory building, and supported ten professional training sessions.


UBS funded an IOM Indonesia trafficking prevention programme in 2006 that included an information campaign, provision of livelihood support, infrastructure and training for 500 vulnerable women/heads of household, and strengthening individual capacity for impoverished and tsunami disaster affected families. The project complemented another IOM programme financed by UBS, a care-home facility and non-formal education centre on the tsunami-affected island of Nias, for orphans and abandoned or otherwise vulnerable children from impoverished families who are at risk of being trafficked.

David Boyd-Thomas noted: “UBS has been pleased to partner with IOM Indonesia on two different projects in Tsunami-effected areas of the country. We have been impressed by the professionalism, diligence, and speed with which IOM has been able to undertake projects. In particular, their logistics capability under less than ideal circumstances has proven to really make a difference for the lives of many thousands of Indonesians who are setting out to re-establish themselves and their communities after the horrific terror of 26 December 2004.”


An agreement signed in May 2007 between Carrefour and IOM Colombia paves the way for the sale of products made by vulnerable populations in the French retailer’s 35 stores in Colombia. The alliance will strengthen income generating projects that benefit some 1,500 people and will contribute to their socio-economic stabilization. Products covered under the agreement include items for home decor, office supplies, handicrafts and clothing made by Afro-Colombians and indigenous populations as well as displaced persons, victims of human trafficking and minors demobilized from the illegal armed groups.

“For Carrefour, marketing these products is a priority because our company wants to help vulnerable communities in Colombia,” explains Ximena Botero, Carrefour Colombia Director of Marketing and External Communications.

José Angel Oropeza, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia, adds: “Carrefour customers who buy these products in the supermarkets know that they are helping these vulnerable populations and that their purchases provide an opportunity for peace and life.” “Paz y Vida” or peace and life, is the advertising slogan used to identify the products manufactured for the IOM/Carrefour social marketing campaign.


Starbucks, Empresas de Nariño Ltda. an international coffee trading enterprise and part of the Carcafe Group, the Dutch Government, and IOM Colombia signed an agreement in 2006 to implement the Sustainable Development Programme for Nariño Coffee Growing Families. This helped displaced, vulnerable and host communities in Colombia by providing them with access to education, International Organization for Migration – Private Sector Collaboration food security and other activities to improve the quality of life and reduce forced migration. Additionally, water tanks were installed in homes and schools and seven coffee commercialization associations were created to sell coffee to Empresas de Nariño.

Media GO

Media GO is providing extensive assistance to IOM Budapest’s counter-trafficking programme through media advice and financial discounts. Szilard Béres, President of MediaGo Holding notes, “People working in the media have extensive means at hand to shape public opinion. We at MediaGo Holding think that this not only entails opportunities but includes great responsibility as well. We are happy to participate in IOM’s counter trafficking campaigns, knowing that they may change many people’s lives. High profile campaigns are very impressive and socially useful. My team and I are convinced that long-term cooperation can do much in the long run. This is why we support IOM’s mandate and mission with all our heart, will and professionalism in order to make a better world for everyone.”

Maple Leaf Foods of Canada

IOM and Maple Leaf Foods of Canada have signed bilateral agreements concerning IOM’s assistance in facilitating safe and legal Colombian labour migration to Canada for Maple Leaf. For the facilitation of Honduran and Mauritian labour migration for the company, IOM and Maple Leaf have signed trilateral agreements including the respective Governments.

“Over the next few years we will be working with IOM to bring more foreign workers to Maple Leaf from these and other countries,” explains Susan Boeve, Head of International Recruitment for Maple Leaf. “Manitoba, which is mainly agricultural and not densely populated, is facing a shortage of workers, so international recruitment is essential to helping us find qualified candidates.”

The selected candidates are hired for a period of two years under the temporary foreign worker programme. IOM assists in the identification of potential workers, the documentation, and in their preparation and travel to Canada. At the end of the two years, Maple Leaf nominates those wishing to stay in Canada to the Provincial Nominee Programme. Once approved, the migrant is awarded permanent residence status and can bring his or her spouse and minor children to Canada.

Maple Leaf Foods is a Canadian-based food processing company with 23,000 employees across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia, and operates more than 100 facilities.

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