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New UN migration chief harps on private sector partnership to curb migration

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Photo: Amy Pope, incoming IOM boss

New UN migration chief harps on private sector partnership to curb migration

Ms Amy Pope, the incoming head of the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM), says UN migration agency is looking to the private sector to build partnerships to manage migration.

According to her, she has talked to companies like Microsoft to see how they can build partnerships to manage migration.

She, therefore, solicited for wider cooperation with the private sector to improve the management of migration.

Pope, who beat her predecessor, Antonio Vitorino, in a tense election last month to head the organization, said there was a need to ease strain on asylum systems in Western countries, which she described as “completely overwhelmed.”

“I want to go to the private sector being a major part of how we deliver around the world,” Pope told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s not just about doing good. It’s really about building a partnership for sustainability.”

She added that such cooperation projects could create alternatives, especially for economic migrants who might otherwise use the asylum system to move around the world.

Pope, who worked as a White House adviser and whose candidacy was backed by US President Joe Biden, personally, will become the 11th head of the IOM.

All but two of them to date have been American nationals.

Her comments come several months after a report published by the Algorithmic Fairness for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (AFAR) Project stated that new relationships between the public and private sectors could be highly effective in developing, sustaining and implementing new technologies for migration effectively.

Pope, who will formally take office as IOM Director-General in October, cited talks with Microsoft about projects in Africa as an example of increased private sector investment in migration work.

Currently, only about $15 million of the IOM’s total budget of $2.5 billion comes from the private sector, according to Pope.

Pope said that creating more “climate sustainable solutions” for migration would also be among her priorities.

However, she noted that she does not currently support the idea of giving those fleeing the effects of climate change refugee status.

A record number of people — more than 100 million — are currently displaced around the world. The world’s deadliest migration route is from North Africa to Europe via the central Mediterranean Sea, where hundreds have drowned this year alone.

Pope described the issue as a “symptom” of what is happening in many places — saying that desperation is pushing people to pursue increasingly dangerous journeys to seek better lives elsewhere.

“My hope, my intent is that collectively, we can raise that perspective to 30,000 feet,” she said.

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