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5 Dec 2015 | Uncategorized

ICIMOD Becomes an Observer in the IOM Council

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ICIMOD became an Observer in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council during its 106th Session, which was held in Geneva from 24–27 November 2015. On the occasion, Dr Golam Rasul, ICIMOD Livelihoods Theme Leader, made a statement to the IOM Council on behalf of ICIMOD (see https://www.icimod.org/?q=20329). Dr Rasul said that, “Even though migration and remittances have significant scope to enhance adaptive capacity and reduce vulnerabilities, they have not received due attention in development and adaptation policies in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and, as a result, their potential for building adaptive capacity, reducing vulnerability, and supporting development has not been fully realized”.

The Hindu Kush Himalayas are one of the most dynamic and complex mountain ranges in the world. The region is highly climate sensitive, environmentally fragile, and socioeconomically vulnerable. Despite considerable economic growth in some of the Himalayan countries, mountain communities remain on the periphery of development. The impacts of environmental shocks and stresses, like floods, droughts, and unseasonal rain, further add to existing development and adaptation challenges. Environmental hazards, along with low economic opportunities, growing connectivity, and rising aspirations, contribute to migration. Migration, especially for work, has become an increasingly important component of rural livelihood strategies. Today, an estimated 105 million people are working in a country other than their country of birth. Around 15% of the world’s labour migrants come from Himalayan countries. Migration is not only an important source of livelihoods and an adaptation option, but is also becoming an integral part of rural and national economies. Remittances contribute significantly to GDP, foreign currency earnings, and macroeconomic stability. In Nepal, for example, remittances make up over a quarter of GDP.

ICIMOD and IOM are working together to support governments and other stakeholders to better harness the potential of migration to maximize benefits, reduce vulnerabilities, enhance adaptive capacity, and facilitate adaptation. The role of labour migration and remittances needs to be explored as part of the national agenda for adaptation, sustainable development, and livelihood diversification, as well as in the context of gender issues across all of these agendas. Since 2014, the joint efforts of ICIMOD and IOM have been focused on research, policy analysis, stakeholder engagement, and capacity enhancement. We have been able to mobilize governments and other stakeholders – especially national planning commissions, ministries, and civil society – in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan and other countries in the region. Together, we look forward to strengthen our partnership and continuing to explore issues of concern to migrants from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.

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