Coronavirus Could Push More People to Move out of Necessity as Hunger Surges among Migrant and Displaced Communities Says New UN Report

Date Publish: 
11/10/2020

Geneva/Rome – A new report has found global hunger and population displacement  – both already at record levels when COVID-19 struck – could surge as people on the move and those reliant on a dwindling flow of remittances desperately seek work to support their families. 

The report – the first of its kind – was released today by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and shows how the pandemic has driven up food insecurity and increased vulnerability among migrants, families reliant on remittances and communities forced from their homes by conflict, violence and disasters. 

The two UN agencies warn the social and economic toll of the pandemic could be devastating and call on the world to prevent it by stepping up support in response to immediate and rising humanitarian needs, addressing the socioeconomic impacts of the crisis and ensuring that the most vulnerable are not forgotten. 

"The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health and human mobility threatens to roll back global commitments, including within the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and hinder ongoing efforts to support those in need of assistance. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the rights of people on the move and ensure their protection from further harm,” said IOM’s Director-General, António Vitorino.   

“The socio-economic impact of the pandemic is more devastating than the disease itself. Many people in low- and middle-income countries, who a few months ago were poor but just about getting by, now find their livelihoods have been destroyed. Remittances sent from workers abroad to their families at home have also dried up, causing immense hardship. As a result, hunger rates are sky-rocketing around the world,” said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley. 

The impact the pandemic has had on the ways people move is unprecedented. Measures and restrictions put in place in over 220 countries, territories or areas to contain the spread of the disease have limited human mobility, opportunities to work and earn an income, straining the ability of migrants and displaced people to afford food and other basic needs.  

Food insecurity and displacement are closely intertwined. Hunger – especially when combined with conflict – is a critical push factor driving people to move. Nine out of ten of the world’s worst food crises are in countries with the largest number of internally displaced persons. Meanwhile, the majority of displaced people are located in countries affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition.  

The world’s 164 million migrant workers, especially those working in the informal sector, are some of the worst hit by the pandemic. They often work on temporary or seasonal bases for low wages without access to social protection systems. During economic crises, these populations are often the first to lose their jobs. At the same time, disruptions to seasonal agricultural work could have ramifications on the production, processing and distribution of food, which could affect food availability and affordability at local and regional levels. 

Without sustained income, the report warns that many migrants will not only be pushed to return home but will also cause at least a temporary drop in remittances which provide an essential lifeline for around 800 million – or one in nine – people in the world.  

The pandemic has made livelihood opportunities for migrants increasingly scarce, and the World Bank expects a 14 percent drop in remittances to low- and middle-income countries by 2021. The consequences for food security could be devastating. WFP projects that by end of 2021 at least 33 million additional people could be driven into hunger due to the expected drop in remittances alone.    

The two agencies call on the international community to ensure that every effort is made to limit the immediate impact on the most vulnerable, while ensuring longer term investments that ensure a pathway to recovery. 

The International Organization for Migration is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants and other mobile populations. IOM promotes international cooperation on migration issues to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration challenges and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people as well as their host communities.. 

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. 

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Tags: 
coronavirus, covid, covid19, pandemic, hunger, un, wfp

Last thematic webinars related to the Regional Review of the Global Compact on Migration

Date Publish: 
18 / 01 / 2021

San Jose -  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), jointly with other agencies, funds and programmes (AFPs) from the United Nations Network on Migration, invite governments, regional processes, civil society organizations and the general audience to participate in the last two sessions of the series of five information webinars organized as part of the regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Ordely and Regular Migration.

Every webinar addresses one of five thematic areas that group the 23 objectives of the Compact. The purpose of these webinars is to raise awareness and inform all relevant stakeholders, including governments and civil society, about the objectives of the Compact and its corresponding commitments.
 
The regional review of the Compact in Latin America and the Caribbean offers a first opportunity for a debate led by States on the implementation of the Global Compact that will:
 
enable governments, regional processes and platforms and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, diasporas and migrants to undertake a first assessment of progress made in implementing the Global Compact;
serve as a forum in which challenges and opportunities will be highlighted, gaps identified, regional priorities discussed and resource requirements for implementing the Global Compact identified;
provide a common platform for interaction among all relevant stakeholders, the exchange of lessons learned and best practices, and promoting peer learning within the region, building on other coordination processes in the region that might enrich the review of the Global Compact;
facilitate the formulation of key findings and recommendations to inform the 2022 International Migration Review Forum; 
consider the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the implementation of the Global Compact.

 

To join the upcoming webinars:

Webinar #4 – 21 January, 2021

 

Click here to register.

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the information to join the webinar.

Spanish-English interpretation will be available.

 

Webinar #5 – 28 January, 2021

Click here to register.

After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the information to join the webinar.

Spanish-English interpretation will be available.

 

Both webinars will also be broadcast through the IOM Facebook page for the Caribbean: https://www.facebook.com/IOMCaribbean1

 

To learn more about the Review of the Global Compact, visit https://migrationnetwork.un.org

For more information on the events contact Rudi Maxwald, email: rmaxwald@iom.int