7 October 2016
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing travelled to Kyiv on 6-7 October to meet high level Ukrainian officials. His visit marked the 20th anniversary of the IOM Mission in Ukraine – currently the biggest IOM mission in Europe.
“We are looking forward to further fostering cooperation with our Ukrainian counterparts. Our common goal is to maximize migration-related opportunities and minimize the challenges inherent in migratory movements,” said Ambassador Swing at a meeting with Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Hennadii Zubko.
Deputy PM Zubko welcomed expanded cooperation with IOM and thanked Swing for IOM’s “active engagement in countering human trafficking and assisting internally displaced persons in Ukraine, helping with the evacuation of Ukrainian nationals from Syria and other hot spots, and providing capacity building support for migration-related government bodies.”
DG Swing also met the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Migration Service, State Border Guard Service, Ministry of Social Policy, Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs, as well as Members of Parliament, UN Country Team and diplomatic corps. He also met with internally displaced families who have received livelihood support from IOM.
Speaking to students at Ukraine’s Taras Shevchenko National University, he told his young audience: “Migration is as old as humankind. It is the world’s oldest poverty reduction strategy and is a key to a world in tune with itself. As we face the continuation of simultaneous, unprecedented and complex emergencies, the international community needs to tackle the root causes actively and promote commonly shared values and interests. Turning migration challenges into opportunities for all requires good migration governance; a broad, durable consensus among a wide constituency; coherent, coordinated policies among partners.”
During the visit he also presented awards to the winners of the National Youth Video Festival PLURAL+ UKRAINE and attended a concert that brought together musicians with migration backgrounds – Vadim Neselovskyi and Laura Marti – to play music of selected composers, who themselves have a migration story to tell.
During its 20 years of work in Ukraine, IOM has assisted about half a million people. This figure includes over 110,000 internally displaced persons and members of communities affected by the conflict in the Donbas; over 12,000 victims of human trafficking provided with rehabilitation and reintegration support; 220,000 migrants who have received health assessment services; and over 68,000 refugees whom IOM has helped to resettle to the United States.
IOM has helped Ukraine to develop some 50 pieces of legislation, including the State Migration Policy Concept, the Law on Border Control, and the Law on Countering Trafficking in Human Beings.