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U.N. global migration agency issues urgent appeal for $7.9 billion in funding

A migrant crisis at the United States souther border with Mexico continues to put the federal government at odds with state leaders. Photo by Carlos Moreno/UPI
A migrant crisis at the United States souther border with Mexico continues to put the federal government at odds with state leaders. Photo by Carlos Moreno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The global migration arm of the United Nations launched an urgent public appeal Monday, calling for $7.9 billion in funding to aid crisis relief efforts for refugees and displaced populations around the world.

The effort by the International Organization for Migration, dubbed the IOM Global Appeal, calls for donations from governments, private-sector entities, philanthropists and other partners to "create a system that realizes migration's promise as a force for good throughout the world."

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"The consequences of underfunded, piecemeal assistance come at a greater cost, not just in terms of money but in greater danger to migrants through irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling," the IOM said in a statement. 

The migration agency relies on voluntary contributions to carry out its global objectives, and demand for funding has increased in recent years due to the rise in climate-related disasters.

The multi-billion dollar investment package would allow the IOM to safeguard 140 million displaced people and establish secure channels for future global migrations, aligning with the IOM's new five-year Global Strategic Plan.

The IOM pointed to insufficient support for global migration efforts after the U.N. released data last June that showed more than 110 million people worldwide had been forced to abandon their homes since 2022 as war, climate disasters and humanitarian crises led to record-level displacement.

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Without funding, refugee populations become vulnerable to violence, exploitation and other dangers, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and disappearances over nearly the past decade, the agency said.

"The consequences of underfunded, piecemeal assistance come at a greater cost, not just in terms of money but in greater danger to migrants through irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling. 

Funding will also help communities that host refugees and expand development work by the IOM to prevent further displacement. 

"Irregular and forced migration have reached unprecedented levels and the challenges we face are increasingly complex," said IOM Director General Amy Pope, who announced the funding goals in Geneva. "The evidence is overwhelming that migration, when well-managed, is a major contributor to global prosperity and progress. We are at a critical moment in time, and we have designed this appeal to help deliver on that promise. We can and must do better."

According to a breakdown of how the money will be distributed, $3.4 billion will go toward "saving lives and protecting people on the move."

Another $2.7 billion is slated to find "solutions to displacement including reducing the risks and impacts of climate change."

Work to chart new migration pathways will cost an additional $1.6 billion, while $163 million will be spent to help the IOM deliver services more effectively in trouble spots around the world.

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"This funding will address the large and widening gap between what we have, and what we need in order to do the job right," Pope said. "For this reason, we are for the first time proactively approaching all partners to fund this vital appeal."

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