Launched in May 2014 at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Stockholm, the MICIC Initiative is a government-led process co-chaired by the United States and the Philippines. It seeks to improve the ability of States, the private sector, international organizations, and civil society to prepare for and respond to the needs of migrants in countries experiencing conflicts or natural disasters, including by protecting their rights and dignity and by alleviating suffering.
The co-chairs were joined by a working group comprised of the governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia; the European Commission; the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration; the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD); and the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM). IOM serves as the Secretariat.
Following the launch of the MICIC Initiative, the co-chairs and the working group launched an inclusive evidence-gathering and consultative process to inform and shape the development of the MICIC Initiative’s Guidelines. This broad and inclusive process raised the awareness and fostered interest and support from a variety of stakeholders. It culminated in the launch of the MICIC Guidelines in June 2016.
Regional consultations, funded by the European Commission and organized by ICMPD, were held with States and other key representatives from South, East, and South-East Asia; Eastern Europe and Central Asia; West and Central Africa; Latin America and the Caribbean; North Africa and the Middle East; and East and Southern Africa. Civil society also provided consolidated input gathered from a series of parallel regional civil society consultations.
The United States and Australia funded targeted stakeholder consultations with a broad range of actors from civil society, international organizations, and the private sector, and with participating States and ‘friends’ of the Inter-governmental Consultation on Migration, Asylum, and Refugees (IGC).
Side events at global gatherings, such as the 2015 Sendai World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2015 GFMD in Istanbul, and the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, garnered additional perspectives. Webinars, issue briefs, and other avenues for sharing practices shed further light on crucial issues, bolstered the evidence base, and helped to identify the roles and responsibilities of key actors and practical measures each can take to better protect migrants in countries experiencing natural disaster or conflict.
The scope of the MICIC Initiative is limited to migrants caught in countries experiencing specific types of crises such as conflicts/civil unrest and natural disasters. The initiative encompasses all migrants/non-citizens, with or without legal status, who are present in a country temporarily or permanently at the time a crisis ensues.
The initiative examines all phases of a crisis, including:
- The pre-crisis phase: The extent and soundness of frameworks, policies, structures, and practices that are in place prior to a crisis are crucial for effective and robust responses at subsequent phases of a crisis. As a corollary to this, the better migrant’s rights are protected in normal times, the more resilient and able they will be to help themselves in times of crisis.
- The emergency phase: The humanitarian imperative needs to drive responses at the emergency phase, with migrants able to access assistance on an equal footing with citizens. Targeted actions may also be needed to overcome specific obstacles and vulnerabilities faced by migrant populations, such as barriers relating to language, culture, and migration status.
- The post-crisis phase: Whether migrants remain in the country, move to another country, or return to their home country, they continue to face challenges. These may relate to, inter alia, loss of livelihoods, protection issues, medical and psychological needs, and other re-integration issues. These impacts extend not only to migrants and their families but also to their host and home communities.
Not withstanding the limited scope of the MICIC initiative, it is hoped and expected that its outcomes will be useful for States and other stakeholders in addressing a broader range of migration scenarios.
Supporting an Evidence-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action
The European Union fully finances a comprehensive project entitled 'Migrants in Countries in Crisis: Supporting an Evidence-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action' that supports and complements the global MICIC Initiative. This four-year project, implemented by ICMPD, was launched in January 2015. It consists of three interrelated components:
- Research – The research component broadens the evidence base on the issue of migrants in countries in crisis, with its particular focus on the socio-economic implications for development, through a case-study approach, in order to inform future efforts in this field.
- Consultations – The project directly contributed to the development of the Guidelines by supporting the organisation of the six regional consultations.
- Capacity building – As of mid-2016, the capacity building component will allow for the implementation of concrete activities. This project component is a fundamental addition to the global MICIC initiative as it ensures that there will be an operational follow up on recommendations agreed at regional consultations.