Towards a Movement Strategy on Migration

Blog on the Global Migration Leadership Group and COD Resolution

Addressing the humanitarian needs of migrants in vulnerable situations and those impacted by migration has been a priority of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) Movement (‘the Movement’) for decades. The commitment and role of the Movement in relation to migration has been repeatedly affirmed through several resolutions and high-level dialogues during past Councils of Delegates (CoD) and International Conferences (IC). The most recent Movement-wide commitments are outlined in the Movement Statement on Migration and our Common Humanity (2019) – CoD; Restoring Family Links: Strategy for the RCRC Movement 2020 – 2025 – CoD; International RCRC Movement policy on addressing mental health and PSS (2019) – CoD; Movement Call for Action on the humanitarian needs of vulnerable migrants (2017); Movement statement on migration: Ensuring Collective Action to Protect and Respond to the Needs and Vulnerabilities of Migrants (2015) – CoD and Migration: Ensuring Access, Dignity, Respect for Diversity and Social Inclusion (2011) – IC.

Aligned with these Movement commitments and in accordance with the IFRC Migration Policy (2009), the IFRC Global Migration Strategy (2018-2022) and IFRC Strategy 2030, National Societies have been scaling up action to respond to increasingly complex migration situations and population movements across the world. They are enhancing assistance and protection for migrants in the context of emergency responses such as those related to the situations in Ukraine, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and surrounding countries. They have been ensuring access to essential services for migrants, including those with an irregular status, during COVID-19 and beyond, addressing the humanitarian impacts of climate related disasters forcing people from their homes, advocating to governments, and building welcoming and inclusive communities.  In many cases, this assistance for migrants has been implemented though 600 Humanitarian Service Points across the world.

At the global level, the Movement partners each engaged in action and advocacy linked to the first ever International Migration Review Forum (IMRF), where States and stakeholders came together to review progress on the objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in May 2022. The GCM identifies the Movement as a key implementing partner[1]and the lead up to the IMRF was an important opportunity for the Movement components to influence States to take action and prioritize humanitarian commitments outlined in the GCM, including around saving lives by scaling up search and rescue operations, establishing coordinated international efforts on missing migrants and ensure access to essential services, climate change and meaningful migrant participation and inclusion.

Our work spans countries, regions and borders, demonstrating our unique role, mandate and unparalleled capacity to meet the humanitarian needs of migrants throughout their journeys and to influence global migration policy discussions at the highest level.

We are at a pivotal time, with 2022 being a critical and exciting year for us to amplify our global influence and strengthen our collective efforts to promote and protect the safety, dignity and rights of migrants, including refugees, by committing to develop a Movement Strategy on Migration.

On 17 June 2022, the RCRC Migration Leadership Group (‘the Group’) will come together for the first time in person to discuss strategic priorities on the Movement’s response to current and future humanitarian challenges linked to migration. Established in 2020, with senior representatives from 25 National Societies, the IFRC and the ICRC, the Group leads and supports the Movement to be future fit in the field of migration and is charged with progressing the Movement Strategy on Migration, developing relevant partnerships and turning our commitments on migration into action. The Group also provides strategic guidance on the work of the RCRC Global Migration Lab, created in 2020 as a resource for the Movement to facilitate evidence-based research concerning humanitarian assistance and protection needs related to the cross-border movement of people.

One week later, during the Council of Delegates (CoD) meeting scheduled for 22-23 June 2022, the Migration Leadership Group will present a resolution entitled ‘Towards a Movement Strategy on Migration’ for adoption. The resolution outlines key issues facing migrants across the world and reinforces the importance of coordinated, strategic and future-focused collaboration across the Movement.

The Resolution recalls existing commitments on migration made by the Movement and recognizes the role of National Societies as crucial local actors working directly with and for affected communities across countries of origin, transit, and destination. The Resolution recognises the ongoing and compounding challenges stemming from disasters, climate change, armed conflict and other situations of violence, and public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, while acknowledging the diverse factors that impact migrants’ needs and vulnerability. It recalls the complementarity between Movement partners to ensure humanitarian assistance and protection for migrants – including asylum seekers, refugees, and those in an irregular situation – and to address and advocate for the needs of migrants in vulnerable situations and those impacted by migration.

The resolution explains the need for and importance of the Movement Strategy on Migration that focuses on the most pressing humanitarian challenges related to migration in line with the Movement’s Fundamental Principles and outlines the following process:

  1. The Migration Leadership Group will oversee the development of a Movement strategy on migration with the support of the Global Migration Task Force, Global Migration Lab, National Societies, and regional migration networks.
  2. The Movement strategy on migration will be informed by migrants’ priorities and lived experience and by the experience and expertise of National Societies across all regions, including but not limited to, those already part of regional migration networks such as APMN, Sahel +, MENA and PERCO, and ensure coordination with Movement’s Restoring Family Links Strategy 2020–2025.
  3. The Migration Leadership Group will submit the finalized Movement Strategy on Migration for adoption at the 2023 Council of Delegates.

The resolution also envisages that all components of the Movement will continue to strengthen the implementation of existing commitments on migration while the Movement Strategy on Migration is under development, including through IFRC Global Strategy on Migration.

If the resolution is adopted at the CoD, the development of the Movement Strategy on Migration will begin. Contributions from across the Movement during the drafting of the resolution have indicated that the process to develop the Movement Strategy on Migration should be inclusive, accessible, and well-resourced. It should respond to collaboration challenges across the Movement to address and prevent humanitarian concern of migrants and people impacted by migration.

Discussions thus far have highlighted the importance of clear and practical guidance and models for how the Movement can work together at the global, regional, national and local levels to respond to the needs of migrants, including refugees, asylum seekers and those in irregular situations. They have also emphasised the need for Movement action that recognizes the varying humanitarian needs, capacities and status of migrants, different subregional contexts, and the importance of ensuring the Movement has dedicated adequate human, financial and technical resources to support local implementation of activities. 

While the consultative steps for developing the Movement Strategy on Migration will be finalised if the resolution is adopted, it is envisaged that the process will include discussions at regional meetings of National Societies during 2022 and 2023, as well as in-depth consultations with all global and regional initiatives supporting Movement-wide coordination and collaboration related to migration. These include, but are not limited to, the Global Migration Task Force (consisting of technical migration leads from 40 National Societies, the IFRC and the ICRC), Regional Migration Networks (such as APMN, Sahel +, MENA and PERCO), IFRC and ICRC regional advisors and coordinators, the RFL Leadership Platform and Implementation Group and IFRC Reference Centres working on migration-related issues such as the RCRC Climate Centre and the Anticipation Hub.

A Movement Strategy on Migration will contribute to strengthening our coherent positioning and coordinated action in favour of migrants in vulnerable situations, capitalizing on the complementarity between different Movement components. It will allow us to enhance our collective advocacy to ensure the safety, dignity and well-being of migrants while strengthening national, regional and global migration programming. Through a Movement Strategy on Migration, we will have a strategic framework that allows us to better anticipate and respond to emerging humanitarian priorities and challenges and to ultimately strengthen our impact on the ground for migrants in vulnerable situations.  

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