On the picture Mr. Martin Wyss, Chief of Mission of International Organisation for Migration.
By Guido Lanfranchi.
At the entrance of the Carlton Ambassador’s reception room, Mr. Martin Wyss, Chief of Mission of IOM in the Netherlands, personally received his guests one by one, welcoming them to the IOM The Hague New Year’s Reception. In a crowded and lively room, full of diplomats, IOM workers, and representatives of the Dutch government, Mr. Wyss addressed a wide audience, expressing his “profound gratitude to all the people working in Embassies and in the Dutch government, for the work conducted over the past year” with IOM.
Mr. Wyss soon yielded the floor to his colleague Vivianne van der Vorst, Project Coordinator of the Global Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). Ms. van der Vorst summarized to the attendees the salient points of the DTM mechanism, which is “a system to track and monitor displacement and population mobility.” In her presentation, she highlighted the pivotal role that the DTM mechanism can have in “providing critical information to decision-makers,” thus dramatically enhancing the effectiveness of their response to crises and problems.
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The DTM, she explained, has been active in 68 countries across the globe. Thanks to the deployment on the field of about 4,000 data collectors and 200 technical experts, over the last year this incredibly complex mechanism has been able to track more than 15 million individuals. This outstanding data-gathering job enables local and global actors to effectively provide for the needs of millions of migrants.
The DTM data at the macro-level can indeed allow humanitarian aid providers to know, for example, how many people are in a certain camp, and which are their main needs. In addition to that, the DTM mechanism can also provide policy-makers with data at the micro-level, concerning, for instance, the migrants’ drivers for leaving their homes and their intentions for the future. The combination of these two layers of information is pivotal for the elaboration of rapid, meaningful, and effective policies: as a salient point of Ms. van der Vorst’s presentation stated: “Better data = Smarter responses.”
After a general introduction of the DTM mechanism, Ms. van der Vorst presented to an attentive audience three relevant cases in which the DTM has been deployed. Firstly, she mentioned the case of Nigeria, whose Northeastern region has been ravaged by internal conflicts over the last five years; in this context, the mechanism provided by the DTM has been incredibly effective in tracking the presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the wide Nigerian territory, thus ensuring a provision of adequate responses to the affected people.
Similarly, the DTM has proved very effective in Indonesia, in the aftermath of a recent earthquake that forced many Indonesians out of their homes. Finally, Ms. van der Vorst praised the outstanding job of all the DTM experts and data collectors currently working in Bangladesh in the midst of the Rohingya refugee crisis; these workers, who have been deployed on the field in a matter of few days after the beginning of the crisis, have gathered and are currently gathering an incredible amount of data, that is continuously being published to inform local and global actors’ responses to the crisis.
At the end of the presentation, marked by a warm applause, Mr. Wyss kindly encouraged the attendees to enjoy the food and drinks provided by the Organization. The conversations about the work of IOM continued also during the reception. Ms. van der Vorst talked to several attendees who approached her to congratulate her and to ask several questions.
She discussed, among many issues, about her previous experience as an academic, about her current involvement in the Rohingya crisis, and about the UN-based Cluster Approach for emergency responses.
Similarly, many attendees across the reception room continued to talk about the DTM and the role of IOM in the world, asking questions to the several IOM workers who were attending the event.
This event showed to the attendees the extreme complexity of the migration phenomenon; however, at the same time, it also showed that, with the right tools and the right commitment, “promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all” is possible.