UN Volunteers are experienced personnel available to support IOM’s mandate. They serve to address migration challenges with a hands-on approach to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and build national capacities that respond to humanitarian emergencies. UN Volunteers serve within communities, making them well-placed to monitor and assess migration-related needs, research analyses and improve inclusive engagement for vulnerable groups. UN Volunteers, by the very nature of volunteerism’s inclusiveness, advance IOM efforts to enable the orderly management of migration with respect to the human rights of migrants and international law.
UN Volunteers serve as skilled specialists to fulfil the needs for international and national personnel within IOM’s projects. They currently support projects such as the development of disaster risk reduction measures that include enhancing social capacities and increasing the resilience of local communities in Bolivia. In Ecuador, UN Volunteers improved women’s participation and economic empowerment by training women as construction workers, and organizing mentoring and entrepreneurship activities that allowed women and their families to improve their living conditions.
UN Volunteers promote respect for the human rights of migrants in accordance to principles of international law. Working with communities, they enhance equality and implement safe and respectable methods to assist the mobility and transition of migrants, support research analyses and build capacity, and improve social inclusiveness and cohesion during relocation of peoples.
UNV and IOM signed an agreement in 1991 for the mobilization of UN Volunteers in Iraq, and once again in 1992 for the mobilisation of Cambodian nationals as UN Volunteers in their country. In 1994, a Memorandum of Understanding, which was built on these projects, was signed with the intention to pursue additional opportunities in Pakistan and Tajikistan. Since 2016, IOM is now a related organization within the UN system. UNV and IOM are currently negotiating an updated global MOU that is expected to be signed before the end of 2017 and facilitate once again the integration of UN Volunteers within its programmes.