April 23, 2019

IOM Netherlands and its partners celebrate fruitful cooperation on migration

By Guido Lanfranchi.

On February 7th, 2019, the International Organization for Migration – Netherlands office organized its annual New Year’s Reception. The Chief of Mission, Mr. Antonio Polosa, thanked the organization’s many partners for their precious collaboration towards fulfilling the mandate of IOM: “to promote the management of migration for the benefit of all.”

“We live in a world on the move. Numerically, there are more people migrating in this beginning of 21st century than at any other time in recorded history worldwide.” These were the words that Mr. Antonio Polosa, Chief of Mission at IOM Netherlands, decided to use in his introductory remarks at the organization’s New Year’s Reception. These words underlined the relevance and the complexity of the migration phenomenon, which cannot be addressed by single countries or organizations alone, but rather must be tackled through international cooperation.

Mr. Antonio Polosa, welcome the Charge d´affaires of Algeria, Mr. Amokrane Mourad.

Hence the relevance of the yearly Reception, which gathers the numerous partners collaborating with IOM in its difficult work. As in 2018, the New Year’s Reception took place in the Carlton Ambassador Hotel in The Hague. More than a hundred guests gradually arrived at the location, warmly welcomed at the entrance of the reception room by IOM Chief of Mission Mr. Polosa. Soon, the room was full of Ambassadors, diplomats and Dutch officials, who mingled with the numerous IOM officials in the room.

The Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Archbishop Aldo Cavalli.

Mr. Polosa kicked off the formal part of the reception with his introductory speech. He recalled some of the crucial recent developments in the field of migration worldwide, such as the approval of the Global Compacts on refugees and on migration, and listed some of the main achievements of IOM Netherlands.

In 2018 alone, the office provided assistance to more than 7,000 migrants, focusing specifically on voluntary returns, labor market integration, family reunification, as well as collaboration with diaspora communities.

Mr. Polosa praised the role of the whole IOM team in achieving these precious results. Yet, he also noted that “IOM can only do its work in close cooperation with its partners,” and thus warmly thanked all the partners present in the room for their positive cooperation.

Following the Chief of Mission’s speech, the Head of the Migration and Development Group at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Nathalie Lintvelt, took the floor. In her speech, she outlined some of the main Dutch governmental initiatives on migration, including the Integrated Agenda on Migration and the National Action Plan of Human Trafficking, and proudly underlined the Netherlands’ role as a major contributor to IOM core funding.

The Head of the Migration and Development Group at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Nathalie Lintvelt.

Ms. Lintvelt praised IOM for its “expertise, extensive field presence and operational flexibility,” which allow the organization to provide support to both governments and migrants. In particular, she highlighted the key role of IOM in a number of fields, including but not limited to voluntary returns and data collection, and praised the worldwide cooperation between IOM and the Netherlands in raising awareness on the risks of irregular migration.

After the end of the keynote speeches, the attention of the guests was moved from the stage to the opposite side of the reception room, where delicious food from Brazil, India and Ghana was ready to be tasted. The guests kept mingling, enjoying the different dishes kindly offered by IOM and discussing about several migration issues, as well as a number of other topics.

The upcoming year will be another key year for migration. As Mr. Polosa noted, the United Nations is set to undergo a complex reform process, and IOM too is looking at reviewing its internal mechanisms. Under the new IOM leadership of DG Antonio Vitorino these reform processes are expected to lead towards even greater effectiveness in performing the core task of IOM: “to promote the management of migration for the benefit of all, while also advocating for safe, regular and dignified migration paths and keep saving lives of those in need.”

Photography by Roy Strik for Diplomat Magazine.

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