The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has reaffirmed its support to the Fijian Government in meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals; objectives of the Global Compact on Migration; and Fiji’s development priorities in the area of migration.
This was conveyed at a courtesy call yesterday on the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh Jitendra Karan, from Mr. Solomon Kantha the recently appointed Chief of Mission for International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Fiji.
At the courtesy call, discussions focused on strengthening the strategic areas of collaboration and new engagements that IOM will pursue with the Fijian Government.
Whilst congratulating Mr Kantha on his new role, PS Karan conveyed the Fijian Government’s continued support to IOM. PS Karan commended IOM on its work in the areas of climate change adaptation; building resilience; post disaster rehabilitation and recovery; and in engaging with diaspora communities in promoting Fiji’s national interest.
He added that the Fijian Government looks forward to working closely with Mr Kantha to enhance partnership for greater regional prosperity. Mr Kantha said that IOM aims to strengthen support in thematic areas of: (1) migration and climate change (2) migration and health (3) migration and development (4) counter-trafficking and migrant protection, and (5) emergency preparedness and response.
He said that IOM in one of its projects funded by the European Union is working with a local NGO to raise awareness on human trafficking and build the capacity of key institutions in Fiji to identify cases of trafficking and assist victims.
“One of IOM’s projects is supporting communities affected by TC Harold. IOM Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) project is supporting displaced communities and have so far provided shelters to 464 households in Vatulele Island and Tailevu Province”.
“In terms of new programme areas – IOM will provide support for capacity building of the immigration services for the Department of Immigration in Fiji.
This will include an assessment of their needs in areas that IOM can support to enhance Fiji’s border management capacity particularly at a time when countries are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and are aspiring to safely re-open their borders”.
“IOM with its partners is also implementing a multi-country project – the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security project funded by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security that covers Fiji and 12 other Pacific Island Countries.
The project will facilitate dialogue between those countries to share experiences, learn from best practices and challenges, and develop a framework to deal with climate change issues and adaptation,” Mr Kantha said.
He said that with the renewed commitment of partnership, IOM will support Fiji’s efforts for socio-economic recovery through the promotion of strategies to improve the wellbeing of labour migrants. Before assuming his new role, Mr Kantha was the former Papua New Guinea Chief Migration Officer and Political Science Lecturer at University of Papua New Guinea.
Fiji became an IOM member state in 2013, and IOM and the Government of Fiji signed a Cooperation Agreement in 2015. IOM established an office in Suva, Fiji in 2016 to work with the Government of Fiji and governments of nearby Pacific Island countries on issues relating to migration.
Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.