Sida to end cooperation with the UN agency IOM

Syrian refugees get a fresh start in France with the support of IOM. Photo: IOM

In an email, similar to the one received by three Swedish organizations, Sida announced on the 7th of July that it intends to end the strategic humanitarian cooperation with the UN agency IOM, which works with migration issues. “Many of us working with humanitarian issues are in shock and do not understand anything”, say several persons that Global Bar Magazine have been talking with.

Global Bar Magazine has in several articles (Swedish only) written about how Sida without prior warning ended the strategic humanitarian partnership with three Swedish organizations: ACT Church of Sweden, Plan International Sweden and the Swedish Mission Council. We can now reveal that the UN agency IOM also had its strategic partnership on humanitarian issues terminated with an email from Sida manager Susanne Mikhail. In the email she writes:

”In the light of all of the above, and the very thorough process we have conducted, I wish to inform you that IOM have regretfully not been selected for renewed Strategic Partnership 2021–2025. Mainly, this is due to the fact that the humanitarian budget is under severe constraints and that we believe that IOM would be in a good position to receive funding from development strategies.”

According to several persons we have been talking with the tone and language of the email is puzzling and as it is not written in the formal way that official correspondence between Sida and UN agencies normally is conducted. The decision by Sida also goes completely against what Sweden and Sida have signed when it comes to the connection between humanitarian work, peace-building and long-term development, what in development circles often is called Triple Nexus and which, in turn, is based on OECD-DAC recommendations.

IOM has an extensive partnership with Sweden in several areas and the current strategy, which formally falls under the Ministry of Justice, states, among other things, the following:

”The strategy is also based on the policy for global development, the goals for Swedish migration policy, the goal for international development cooperation and the policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and humanitarian aid.”

Despite this, Sida did choose to end the strategic partnership, with an email in the middle of the summer, something that for many in the field came as a surprise. 

David Isaksson

Here you can read the email from Sida


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