IOM Supports the Zimbabwe National Stakeholders Workshop on Integrating Migrants in Emergency Planning, Response and Recovery


Location: Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Masvingo - On 20 and 21 June 2017, IOM Zimbabwe supported a National Stakeholder’s Workshop on Protecting Migrants in Emergencies at Flamboyant Hotel in Masvingo. The workshop was conducted under the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative framework and aimed at strengthening the capacity of national stakeholders with disaster and emergency management functions to include migrants in the emergency and disaster preparedness and response plans to ensure protection of migrants in the event of a crisis.

Today, almost 250 million people are living outside their countries of origin. When natural disasters or conflicts strike, migrants are likely to be affected alongside national populations. While in some cases their needs may be similar those of the communities hosting them, in other cases their specific condition may result in different needs and vulnerability which require specific forms of support and assistance. Depending on the nature and magnitude of the crisis, national and local stakeholders may lack sufficient capacity to provide them with adequate support.

Planning and preparedness are key to strengthening emergency response and recovery capacity. With sessions built on good practices and first hand experiences, IOM’s workshop convened twenty-nine participants, consisting of 20 males and 9 females from 12 government ministries and departments involved in emergency management to discuss practical approaches to include migrants in emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The event was organized in conjunction with the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) regional workshop held in South Africa the previous month (Pretoria,  15-18 May 2017) and was facilitated by trained government and IOM officials. .

Engineer George Mlilo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing under which the country’s Disaster Management Agency - the Department of Civil Protection - falls, officially opened the workshop. He expressed deep concern that the current Disaster Risk Management Policy and plans at national and sub national levels are silent on migration issues and don’t include a specific mention of the migrant population in Zimbabwe.

“I call upon disaster management actors to conduct a comprehensive review of the Disaster Risk Management system to be inclusive of migration and migrants. The importance of full engagement of all state institutions and non-state actors in Disaster Risk Management needs no further emphasis”, added Engineer Mlilo.

Speaking during the workshop, Lily Sanya, IOM Chief of Mission in the country said: “After the workshop I urge you to lead the process of mainstreaming migrants in the country’s emergency and disaster management plans and to ensure the operationalization of such plans once developed. Resources permitting, IOM is committed to provide expertise and continued support in that regard”.

The workshop increased participants’ knowledge on ways to adapt crisis systems and mechanisms by looking at characteristics, vulnerability and capacities of migrants, communication strategies, service delivery, stakeholder mapping and migrants involvement in emergency management and planning to achieve the integration of migrants in emergency response.

By the end of the workshop, participants identified key recommendations and next steps to integrate migrants in the national and local emergency management structures. For example, the review of current Disaster Risk Management  plans at national and sub-national levels, mapping of the presence of migrants in Zimbabwe and in particular in disaster-prone areas, conducting multi-stakeholder lobbying for the review of the Immigration laws in pursuit of alternatives to detention for migrants, media sensitization on migration and migrants, a directory of stakeholders involved in provision of services to migrants and  cascading the MICIC training to sub national levels to ensure greater awareness and inclusion of migrants at the grassroots - where government and other officials interact with migrants. 

For further information please contact Gideon Madera at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 04 702485, +263772863172, Email: gmadera@iom.int.