The 84th Session of the International Organization for Migration



GENEVA - 4 December 2002 -

Madame Chairperson,

Please allow me, first of all, to congratulate you on your appointment as Chairperson of this Council, as well as all the members elected on the IOM Bureau. Madame Chairperson, it is a pleasure to see you on the podium, in such an important position. I would also like to take this opportunity to address our thanks to the members of the outgoing Bureau for their sustained activity and their contribution to the achievement of new results in the activity of the Organization. Our congratulations and best wishes also go to the new member states of the IOM, as well as to the countries and organizations now coming in as observers.

Madame Chairperson,
Mr. Director General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you already know, since the beginning of this year Romanian citizens have acquired the right to travel freely within the Schengen area of Europe. Clearly, our own efforts to consolidate the position of Romania as a credible and constant partner in the creation of a free and secure Europe are still under way. Romania's efforts in combating illegal immigration and human trafficking, as well as in supporting voluntary repatriation and protecting the rights of migrants, have led to the development of national policies in this field and to the consolidation of international cooperation. We therefore believe this is the right place and time to express our gratitude to the IOM for the determination with which it has joined our efforts throughout this process.

Madame Chairman,

The themes presented to us in the documents in preparation to this session of the IOM Council are both insightful and important for each of our states. They are manifold and enlightening, they supply us with an image of the important role currently played by migration on the international arena. Irrespective of the fields it interacts with - development, human rights, security or the labour market - this phenomenon cuts across issues vital to the definition of the international framework of the 21st century. Both the global importance attached to migration and the restructuring of the international relations system, including the UN reform project, compel us to deeply reflect upon directions to be followed in the identification of best management solutions, to the benefit of all states, of this complex phenomenon. The place of illegal migration in the process of globalization on one hand and the relation of IOM with the UN system on the other hand are two themes in the analysis of one and the same reality defining migration issues as a major issue, complex and uncompromising, to be addressed by our community.

The growth of migration movements has been accompanied in past years by new and diverse patterns and forms of manifestation. The blurring of concepts such as origin, transit and destination state, due to the fact that migration no longer fits the paradigm of population movement on unidirectional routes, with a permanent character, requires our states to develop new, specific capacities in response to these new challenges. International cooperation is an essential element in this field and we expect IOM to continue its efforts in defining a framework and in offering necessary inputs to its development.

Madame Chairperson,

The invitation addressed by Director general of IOM, Mr. Brunson McKinley, to reflect together upon the future of the organization, mainly its relation with the UN, has lead us to a couple of simple questions. Answers to these could turn, in our opinion, into excellent reference points on the way to a consolidated and more efficient activity of the organization:

  • How do we maintain and develop the expertise acquired by the organization?
  • How de we achieve a better coordination of IOM's actions with those of other international organizations (mostly UN specialized agencies)?
  • How do we multiply resources of the organization and put them to better use?

    In search of answers to these questions we must nevertheless keep in mind the importance to maintain - irrespective of the future framework in which the organization may plan to mature - the features that IOM has developed during the course of its existence: flexibility of action, cooperative partnerships with governments and the civil society and the consolidation of strategic alliances with other international organizations. The adjustment of the organization to new challenges brought about by changes in the reality of the migration phenomenon depends on IOM's capacity to continue and expand its activity following these very lines.

    Without forgetting for a moment the practical side of the activity of IOM, we salute here the efforts by the Migration Policy and Research Program (MPRP) whose objective is to clarify migration concepts and identify elements capable of contributing to the consolidation of IOM's identity. MPRP studies are expected to offer a solid background for discussions on the issue of general developments of migration and support the elaboration of theoretic means to tackle the subject.

    Madame Chairperson,

    We have so far launched general assessments and addressed numerous questions giving perhaps few indications in the quest for possible answers. However, we have chosen to do so in the belief that a good question is often worth half the answer. Our intention was also to mark, through these questions, the constructive atmosphere of this new dialogue that we consider to have been opened at a very good time. Under the circumstances, we view the proposal to initiate a process of consultations, on a regular basis, through a series of informal meetings in between the sessions of the IOM Council as a beneficial one. This initiative will allow for members and observers of the Organization to approach developments in the process of consolidation of IOM's identity and the definition of its place on the international scene in a clear and pragmatic manner.

    We would support here the proposal just made by Ambassador Molander, on behalf of the four Nordic States, regarding the opportunity of commissioning a study to look at the relationship between the IOM and the UN, in light of a possible change in the status of IOM. Such a study, evaluating the various dimensions and implications entailed by such a change, would indeed be very useful in our future work.

    Madame Chairperson,

    To conclude, allow me to commend the wise manner by which a systematic solution was identified for the use of exceeds generated from the administrative portion of the budget and which will make the object of a Council resolution. Under these circumstances, we would encourage states in a position to benefit from a reduction of their contribution to consider allocating an equivalent amount of money - as voluntary contribution - to the fund created through the resolution 1035 of November 29, 2000, financing projects to be implemented in developing and in transition members states.

    Thank you for your attention.

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