Cablegate: 98th Iom Council - General Debate and Resolutions


DE RUEHGV #1265/01 3571109
R 231109Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 120258
B. GENEVA 1021

1. (SBU) Summary: IOM Director General William Swing
presided over the organization's Ninety-Eighth Council
meeting November 23-26, which focused on a number of
institutional issues, including budget and structural reform
initiatives. Member States agreed to a 1.5 percent increase
in IOM's 2010 Administrative Budget to 39,388,000 Swiss
francs (approx USD 38.6 million); adopted the 2010
Operational Budget of USD 650.6 million; and agreed to resume
consultations on budget reform. After much debate and
extended informal consultations Member States adopted a
resolution authorizing IOM's administration to begin
implementing the recommendations of the Director General's
ad-hoc structure review team (SRT). The Council agenda also
included two sessions of the International Dialogue on
Migration (IDM) on the thematic issues of Human Rights and
Migration and Global and Regional Migration Dialogues, as
well as an Administration presentation on IOM's approach to
irregular migration and mixed flows. Member States elected
the Executive Committee for 2010-2011; and appointed the
Comptroller and Auditor General of India as external auditor
for the period of 2010-2012. End Summary.

Election of Officers

2. (U) The Council elected by acclamation the following
officers who will serve as the Bureau for all IOM governing
body meetings until the IOM Council in December 2010:

-- Chairman: Ambassador (Mr.) Shinichi KITAJIMA, Japan;
-- Fist Vice-Chair: Ambassador (Mr.) Idriss JAZAIRY, Algeria;

-- Second Vice-Chair: Ambassador (Mr.) Christian STROHAL,
-- Rapporteur: (Ms.) Adriana MENDOZA, Colombia.

New Observer

3. (U) The Council approved the application of the European
Youth Forum (YFJ) to be an IOM Observer.

Director General Statement

4. (U) Director General (DG) William Swing in his annual
report to the Council highlighted the wide range of
programmatic activities IOM undertakes around the globe,
provided an overview of the organization's accomplishments in
2009, and noted areas the organization will continue to work
on in 2010. He emphasized, as he does in almost all
presentations to member states, his ongoing commitment to
"member state ownership of the organization," including
regular and close consultation on all aspects on
institutional governance, enhancing partnerships with UN
agencies, and improving staff development. He noted 2009 was
the 25th anniversary of initiation of an earlier internal
reform process that included a move to the current
Headquarters building, a new leadership structure, and a
review of IOM's Constitution, changes that helped to prepare
IOM for a period of exponential growth and a broadening and
deepening of its activities around the world. Looking ahead,
Swing observed that, in addition to the current structural
and budget reform initiatives, the organization needed to
enhance oversight and monitoring; improve gender equity
within the organization; reevaluate the viability and
sustainability of some IOM country offices; and improve
internal communication.

Member Statements

5. (U) Member States, while broadly supportive of the
current strategic direction of the organization, addressed a
number of common themes in the general debate. These
include: broad support for the proposed structural reform;
support for the human rights of migrants; the need to review
IOM's budget structure; the impact of the current global
economic crisis on migration flows; and the importance of
continued close partnership between IOM and UNHCR, and
between IOM and the regional consultative processes on
migration. Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union,
noted EU support for the structural review team
recommendations, but urged IOM to also focus on effective
oversight mechanisms and to ensure IOM capacity in the
Mediterranean corresponds to the unique needs in the region.
Sweden also briefed IOM members on several regional
developments as the EU moves to create a coherent, common
migration policy among all 27 members. Ecuador, speaking on
behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries
(GRULAC), thanked IOM for existing programs in the region,
but noted their concern that few new IOM activities were
initiated in 2009. Ecuador also expressed the GRULAC
position that states must reduce the development gap to
address the root causes of migration and the impact of
environmental changes and natural disasters. Sudan, speaking
on behalf of the Africa group, touched on the importance of
the linkages of migration and development, hinting that they
would like to see more of a focus on this issue in the
upcoming discussion of IOM Strategy. The Africa group agreed
with the objectives of the SRT report, but requested more
time to study its specific recommendations. Sudan also
regretted the insufficient IOM resources dedicated to Africa
projects given the serious and complex migration challenges
the continent faces.

6. (U) PRM Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Margaret
Pollack heading the U.S. delegation, welcomed new IOM Deputy
Director General (DDG) Laura Thompson, expressed appreciation
for the work of IOM administration and staff as they
simultaneously tackle budget and structural reforms, and the
administration's willingness to strengthen IOM's personnel
structures. She urged the Administration to continue to
consult with Member States as it pursues these reforms.

IOM Governance and Resolutions

7. (U) IOM Structural Review: IOM circulated a draft
resolution on the structure review based upon Member State
feedback during the Standing Committee on Programs and
Finance (Ref B). Most member states strongly supported the
resolution, which would authorize the IOM administration to
proceed with the structural adjustments in consultation with
member states and within the limits of available resources.
The Africa group initially objected to the resolution over
concerns regarding the number and placement of regional
offices. However, after extensive informal consultations led
by DDG Thompson the group agreed to a revised text that
endorsed the SRT report but dropped specific reference to the
eventual number of regional offices once the reform process
is complete. The Council passed the revised resolution by
consensus. IOM staff later noted that, surprisingly, the
language of final resolution was stronger than the initial

8. (U) Program and Budget for 2010: The Council adopted the
2010 Program and Budget providing for a 1.5 percent increase
in the Administrative Budget to 39,388,000 Swiss francs
(approx. USD 38.6 million). (Note: The USG 2010 assessment
will be 9,247,251 Swiss francs, or approx. USD 9.1 million).
The Program and Budget resolution also includes a provision
calling on the DG and Member States to resume consultations
on budget reform "with a view to finding solutions to address
funding of the core structure."

9. (SBU) A group of countries led by Canada and supported by
Japan, France, Germany and the UK, initially lobbied for zero
nominal growth (ZNG) in the 2010 budget. (Note: The USG
supported IOM's Scenario I proposal for a 2.55 percent
increase.). Wishing to avoid the last minute negotiations
which dominated lst year's Council session, Member States
compromsed on the 1.5 percent proposal early in the week.
Although the IOM administration did not receive te full 2.55
percent requested, they were pleasedthat Member States
agreed to reengage on broaderbudget reform, and that member
states were willig to move away from a strict ZNG position.

10. U) Reports: The Council adopted resolutions acceptng
the Reports on the Ninety-sixth Council the Ninety-seventh
(Special) Session of the Council, and the Hundred and Sixth
Session of the Executive Committee.

11. (U) Appointment of an External Auditor for the period
2010-2012: At the proposal of the Council Chair and with the
agreement of the five candidates, MemberStates held an
initial straw poll to gauge suppot for each candidate.
Following the straw poll, ember states held a second secret
ballot among te two remaining candidates, Ghana and India
In the formal vote, India received 59 votes to Ghana's 43
votes. Three Member States abstained. Ghana graciously
expressed their appreciation to all Member States and pledged

their full support to India in this position.

12. (U) Arrears: IOM Administration reported that nine
states had made payments since the November Standing
Committee on Programs and Finance: Argentina,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, Iran, Libya, Namibia,
Paraguay, and the Republic of Korea. Twelve Member States
are adhering to their repayment plans, leaving only eleven
member states still subject to Article 4 of IOM's
Constitution, meaning having outstanding arrearages for more
than two years. Approximately USD 7.6 million in assessed
contributions remain unpaid. DG Swing noted his efforts to
work closely with countries in arrears to try to help them
come current in their payments, and urged those Member States
who haven't negotiated a repayment plan to do so.

13. (U) Members states elected the 2010-2011 Executive
Committee by acclamation. The new committee will have
thirty-three members, a reduction of two members from
2008-2009. The new ExCom members are Angola, Bangladesh,
Bolivia, Congo, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Germany,
Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kenya,
Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Philippines,
Republic of Korea, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan,
Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United Republic of
Tanzania, and the United States.

14. (U) Irregular Migration and Mixed Flows: IOM provided an
overview of its strategy which focuses on both short and
long-term needs of migrants. IOM noted that all efforts are
based on the human rights of migrants, and that their
activities can include direct assistance to migrants; helping
states to develop policy and legislation; training officials;
dissemination information; and coordinating partnerships
between states. Member States generally supported the IOM
strategy and thanked IOM for its work.

International Dialogue on Migration

15. (U) Human Rights of Migrants: The human rights of
migrants were a recurring theme throughout the Council and
the main topic of a keynote video address by Liberian
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Many Member States also
raised this issue in their statements during the general
debate and it was touched upon in IOM's presentation on
irregular migration and mixed migratory flows. It was also
the theme of the first International Dialogue on Migration
(IDM) plenary discussion. Interventions ranged from those
encouraging Member States to respect the human rights of
migrants to interventions that sought a more expansive
definition of human rights, either by including economic and
social rights or by referring to a 'universal' principle of
non-discrimination. USDEL noted that this was not a term we
have heard used before. Kyung-wa Kang from the Office of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights supported the universality
of this principle, but could not cite any agreement which
clearly establishes it as an accepted principle.

16. (U) Highlights of Global and Regional Migration
Dialogues: In the second IDM plenary session, the Greek
Permanent Representative briefed IOM members on the recent
4th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) held in
Athens November 4-5. He reported the Forum had been
successful in laying out concrete steps member states can
take to promote better coherence between migration and
development policies and how migration can contribute to
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Mexico's
Undersecretary for Population, Migration, and Religious
Affairs described his government's plans for the fifth GFMD
scheduled for November 2010. Mexico is considering possible
themes for its GFMD chairmanship that would emphasize "shared
responsibility" of destination and origin countries in
dealing with the challenges of migration and the need to
protect the human rights of migrants regardless of
documentary status. He described the steps Mexico is taking
to incorporate human rights concerns into its own migration
policies, including mainstreaming the principle of
non-discrimination into its migration policies and procedures
and establishing protections for unaccompanied minors.
Thailand's Permanent Representative and South Africa's Deputy
Minister of Home Affairs described their governments'
individual experiences heading regional migration dialogues
in their respective regions. They emphasized the fact that
discussing sensitive subjects of migration in smaller group
settings such as RCPs often leads to more effective
cooperation among regional actors. Finally, Sweden's State
Secretary for Migration and Asylum Policy described her
government's leadership under the rubric of its current EU
Presidency to advance common EU-wide policies and standards
on migration and asylum policies and common approaches to
counter-trafficking. These policies are part of a five-year
Freedom, Security, and Justice work plan known as the
Stockholm Program that was adopted at the December 10-11 EU

Global Migration Group

17. (U) Global Migration Group: Director General William
Swing, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, UN
Under-Secretary General for UN-DESA, and UNITAR Executive
Director Carlos Lopes participated in a panel discussing the
accomplishments of the Global Migration Group over the past
year. The GMG has established an annual work-plan to ensure
continuity between chairs, met on a more regular basis, and
participated in the Global Forum on Migration and Development
to increase its visibility.

2010 Meetings of IOM Governing Bodies

18. (U) The Council approved the following schedule of
meetings for 2010:

-- 6th Standing Committee on Programs and Finance (SCPF): May
-- 107th Executive Committee: June 28;
-- 7th SCPF: November 2-3;
-- 99th (Special) Council Meeting: June 28
-- 100th Council Meeting: November 29-December 2.

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