The Director General of the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM), William Lacy Swing, on Monday signed an agreement yesterday with China’s Ministry of Commerce for USD 1 million of multi-sector assistance to support IOM efforts to help internally displaced persons, vulnerable communities and returnees in Somalia.
Ambassador Swing, who was in Beijing on 14-15 May to take part in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, warmly welcomed the contribution – China’s first to IOM’s humanitarian work since it became the 165th member of IOM in June 2016.
“This contribution towards IOM’s humanitarian programmes is another milestone in bilateral relations between IOM and China,” Ambassador Swing told guests at the signing of the agreement, which was hosted by the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, Yu Jianhua. “It shows China’s commitment to international cooperation that improves the lives and well-being of vulnerable migrants and displaced people worldwide.”
The IOM project, which will reach over 15,000 people, will support the UN and the Government of Somalia-backed 2017 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan. It will also provide lifesaving aid to vulnerable populations in areas affected by the ongoing drought and displacement.
The Belt and Road Forum, which was attended by representatives from over 100 countries, was the largest meeting to date to promote the colossal Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China has committed USD 124 billion to the scheme.
Ambassador Swing, speaking at an event on the theme of Trade and Sustainable Development, described labour migration as an essential element in co-building the ‘Belt and Road Community’.
“Facilitation of movement of capital, goods and services has been of enormous benefit to the global community,” he noted. “However, the missing piece of the globalization network, freer flow of people, still holds the promise of even greater prosperity. We must encourage visionary initiatives like the BRI.”