International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) today (13/04) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation on aviation security and facilitation, and border security and management.
Areas of common interest identified in the MoU include the mobility of migrants, refugees and voluntary returnees; harmonized passenger data exchange programs and data-driven security; integrated border management; travel health assistance, pandemics management and other travel health related emergencies; aviation facilitation and border security and management programs.
The MOU will also enable both organisations to maximize various forms of cooperation which may include cross-participation in working groups, meetings and committees, joint trainings and capacity building activities; joint technical assistance to partner countries; as well as research and development.
At the signing ceremony at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, IOM Director General Ambassador William Lacy Swing said: “The management of borders, travel facilitation and security are of great importance for all international travelers, among them, of course, migrants and refugees who cross international borders. The way we do border management also has a direct impact on migration and refugee movements.”
“Good cooperation between the various stakeholders is therefore paramount. As international air travel is today a preferred choice for the regular, orderly and safe movement of migrants, IOM has in the past five years assisted, on average, 200,000 migrants travelling under its auspices. This is why I welcome today’s decision for even closer cooperation with IATA,” Ambassador Swing added.
In line with its broad migration mandate, IOM looks at border management as a way to manage cross border mobility, but also as an integral part of comprehensive migration management. Borders constitute a physical and legal space where many challenges related to migration management do surface and culminate.
IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler, also speaking at the signing ceremony said: “This year we expect 3.8 billion people to travel by air – a number that is growing fast. Aviation is a force for good that facilitates business, powers tourism and connects economies. And it is a means for migrants and refugees in the search for better lives. In formalizing our partnership with the IOM our aim is to develop and use global standards – including for data interchange – to support efficient connectivity and effective border security.”
Both IATA and IOM also cooperate as partners with the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Traveler Identification Program (TRIP) Strategy.