The UN Migration Agency serving Bangladesh for 20 years
Dhaka – “Migration is a fundamental driver of development in Bangladesh. To reap the benefits of this mobility, we need to ensure the process is safe and orderly and that migrants are supported throughout their journey. IOM has been a good partner to the government of Bangladesh in working towards fairer treatment of migrant workers.” The Honourable Foreign Minister underscored at an event yesterday, hosted by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) marking 20 years of partnership and cooperation with the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Reflected in numbers, the contribution of migration can be seen through remittances, which made up 7.24% of the country’s’ GDP in 2016-2017, amounting to about US$ 12.79 billion. During that year, a million-people left Bangladesh through regular migration channels looking for their fortunes abroad, 30% more than the previous year, which again had grown by 30%.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, over the past 20 years has worked in Bangladesh towards ensuring better protection and services for all those who are dreaming of migrating abroad or have already done so. This includes working towards countering human trafficking, supporting the government in strengthening migration governance policies, improve migration prone communities understanding of the risks and benefits of irregular versus safe migration and providing reintegration support to returning migrants who return to the country destitute. IOM is also running a full-fledged humanitarian assistance project in Cox’s Bazar supporting the Rohingya refugees stranded there.
Over the years of engagement with the Government, IOM has witnessed increasing ownership of migration related issues by its counterparts, be it the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry Foreign Affairs. This has manifested in the government implementing migrant focused skills development policies, mainstreaming migration into its national development strategies, and supporting regional processes such as the Colombo process. The Government has also taken a leadership role in the Global Compact on Migration which is likely to shape the global debate on Migration for years to come, setting the agenda for areas in need of improvement for managing migration flows in a responsible way.
Looking ahead IOM is excited to engage the Government and its civil society counterparts in the country to further enhance migrant resilience in areas such as climate change and urban development, skills development and upgradation of the qualification standards, ethical recruitment and holistically looking into the overall approach in creating a well governed migration management system.
As one of the coordinators of the Rohingya response, IOM established an Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in 2016 which works with authorities to create a comprehensive approach to the emergency response in sectors such as shelter and essential non-food items; water, sanitation and hygiene, health, safety, dignity and human rights, education; and nutrition, etc. IOM also provides direct assistance to create safe spaces for women in the settlements and offer counselling and support services to survivors.
IOM Bangladesh Chief, Sarat Dash, said “We are dedicated to supporting the Government of Bangladesh in demystifying complex migration issues such as the Rohingya refugee crisis. Also, our primary goal remains in creating a safe and orderly migration space as well as to help the nation build a skilled workforce to avail the maximum opportunity through overseas employment.”
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