On 22 August the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) signed a bilateral Cooperation Agreement with IOM in Majuro, the capital of the archipelago. It grants IOM International Inter- Governmental Organization status in the RMI with the associated privileges consistent with international conventions and the law of the host country.
While IOM has been operating in the islands for over three years, this agreement is symbolic of the strengthened cooperation between the Government of the RMI and IOM, in favour of the people of the Marshall Islands.
The Cooperation Agreement was signed by the Acting President, Hon. David Kabua, and IOM Chief of Mission, Mr Ashley Carl, alongside Chief Secretary, Casten Nemra, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Kino Kabua, Assistant Secretary, Doreen DeBrum, IOM Program Manager Philippe Brewster, other Government officials and IOM staff.
In his statement, Mr Carl remarked that this was an important highlight in the relationship between IOM and the RMI and signified the strengthening of the bond between the Marshall Islands and the Organization. Moreover, the agreement would afford IOM the appropriate framework to explore broader types of assistance.
The agreement acknowledges IOM assistance already provided to the Marshall Islands, particularly in the areas of disaster preparedness, climate adaptation and assisted voluntary return. It also defines the nature of the relationship between IOM and the RMI and provides a framework for IOM to expand its range of assistance to include countering-trafficking, immigration and border management.
Furthermore, it will facilitate the implementation of the Climate Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction and Education (CADRE) Programme, which IOM is managing on behalf of the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). IOM's work in support of US Agency for International Development (USAID) in the areas of disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction will also be buttressed by the signing of the agreement.