Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To begin, I would like to sincerely thank fellow Member States for re-electing Bill Swing as Director General of the International Organization for Migration. IOM has become a more transparent, more responsive, and more strategically structured organization under his leadership, and we are unequivocally confident that under his continued guidance the organization will thrive.
I would also like to warmly welcome the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Malawi as new IOM Member States. IOM Member States have a strong tradition of cooperation and collaboration, and we look forward to you joining us in this tradition.
Mr. Director General, your election to a second term by acclamation serves as testament to the confidence Member States have in you. This is justified; your accomplishments in your first term are impressive.
You have strengthened relationships with key partners in the international community, achieving, for example, an unprecedented level of cooperation in responding to the needs of thousands of innocent migrants during the 2011 Libya crisis. You have displayed substantive initiative to enrich the global migration dialogue – whether at the Global Forum on Migration and Development, or in New York – where IOM has successfully organized several roundtables on migration issues – or here in Geneva, where IOM is clearly recognized as the world’s international migration agency. We look forward to participating in the Diaspora Ministerial Forum next week where we will have a further opportunity to learn from the valuable experiences of other Member States.
You have added structure to the organization – seeking to improve oversight of country missions by strengthening the management capacities of regional offices – all within the confines of the limited budget availabilities, which we are confident we will resolve this year under the very capable leadership of Ambassador de Crombrugghe of Belgium.
Mr. Director General, you have been at the forefront of recent humanitarian crisis response, including the Haiti earthquake, Mali and Syria, and you have uniquely demonstrated IOM leadership in addressing migration in such situations by developing your organization’s Migration Crisis Operational Framework.
You welcome the input of states and staff alike –promoting Member State ownership of the organization, while also reaching out to restore open communication between the administration and staff members representing the organization around the globe, often in challenging and sometimes dangerous locations. The backbone of any organization is its people – and IOM staff are a prime example of this. On this note, I want to take a moment to express my government’s profound outrage over the unjustified and unacceptable attack on the IOM office in Kabul. Our thoughts continue to be with the staff and families affected by this event. Amazingly, your staff have picked up and continued their important work providing assistance in Afghanistan. For that, we salute your resolve to assist the Afghan people.
Although the list of your accomplishments is long, your work is not done – nor is our work as Member States. Many of the initiatives undertaken during your tenure – the structural reform, the human resource reform and implementation of the new human resource strategy – are still in progress. Other efforts – most notably the IOM Budget Reform discussions – will require ongoing close collaboration between the IOM administration and the IOM Member States. We have made commendable progress, but as Member States we have an obligation to continue to look at how we can better support IOM. The administration has shared with us the significant gaps in the IOM budget structure and now it is up to us to respond. Our discussions and this honest and frank exchange could not happen without the strong foundation of trust you have built between the administration and the IOM Member States. As we move forward, we will need the continued engagement by the IOM administration and IOM Member States to keep information flowing and momentum going. We remain confident that will happen.
Mr. Chairman, in conclusion:
The United States has long been a strong supporter of IOM. We value IOM as a strategic partner in advancing our goals of legal, orderly, and humane migration and its leadership in responding to migration challenges during humanitarian crises. We would like to congratulate the Member States for re-electing a Director General who will build on the progress of the last five years. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues in this room as we continue to strengthen the organization and support its role in the international community.