«The» or «A» leading organization in migration? IOM as an actor in global migration governance


The emerging global governance of migration is characterized by its fragmentation in terms of institutions, underlying norms and conventions. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) holds a peculiar place within this framework: On the one side, it has been situated outside the United Nations System until very recently, considers itself a «non-normative» agency, and has mostly acted as a profit-based service provider for nation-states. On the other side, the iom has been instrumental in establishing influential norms such as «migration management», it has been lauded «a leading agency on migration» by the un and its member states, and moved closer to the un system as a «related organization» in September 2016. However, the opposition to the original suggestion of calling the IOM «the leading agency on migration» highlights —beyond mere semantics— that the role of the organization is still nor clearly defined and remains contested. This contribution analyses the actorness iom has achieved in global migration governance.