A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at a virtual ceremony on Monday.
The MoU aims to strengthen the cooperation between IMPACS and IOM in areas of mutual interest. This includes areas such as management of migration for development, development of migration standards and policies in the region aimed at protection-at-sea, processing irregular migrants, counter-trafficking in human beings as well as contingency planning and emergency responses in the event of large-scale forced displacements.
During his remarks, Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS, Lt. Col. Michael Jones, explained that the formalization of the two (2) agencies’ relations is a significant step in deepening their ties as they move to address issues of border management, and counter-trafficking of human beings. He noted that CARICOM IMPACS and IOM have already been working to enhance the capacities of regional governments in tackling these areas.
“We are very honoured to have partnered with the IOM over the years to execute programmes, such as training on human mobility during natural disasters, and training on the reception and reintegration of forced returnees,” said Lt. Col. Jones.
He further explained that IMPACS has also worked with IOM and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to implement the Caribbean Migration Consultations (CMC). The CMC is a forum that aims to coordinate and promote information exchange among CARICOM Members States, in addition to developing common policies to assist in comprehensive migration governance in the region.
IOM is currently working with IMPACS to implement two activities to support migration management. These activities include an analysis of capacities and needs to assess health issues at points of entry in the Caribbean, and a legislative gap analysis and road map for policy change on the counter-smuggling of migrants in the region. Both activities are implemented by IOM under the Western Hemisphere Program (WHP), which is generously financed by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
The IMPACS Executive Director affirmed that this collaboration would benefit CARICOM Member States by enhancing capacity-building initiatives in migration, harmonizing policies, and procedures, and accessing global tools to address irregular migration in the region.
Meanwhile, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, Michele Klein Solomon, in her address, emphasized that working with CARICOM in the region is critical to facilitate the effective management of migration and transnational organized crimes at all levels.
“Transnational organised crime and the way it manifests in the region require collaborative efforts across countries and the expertise of dedicated specialists like CARICOM IMPACS,” said Klein Solomon.