IOM Tripoli and UNHCR have organized a second technical workshop and coordination meeting for Libyan partners on saving lives of migrants at sea.
The workshop, which took place from 9-10 November in Tunis, follows an earlier workshop held in late July.
The meetings, funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), aim to improve the response capacities of Libyan authorities involved in operations related to the rescue of refugees and migrants off the Libyan coast.
This workshop included 26 participants from the Libyan Coast Guard and Port Security Department, the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), the Libyan Red Crescent, and two representatives from the Libyan Ministry of Health.
The meeting provided the opportunity to share updates on the most recent developments regarding the increasing number of refugees and migrants rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard, amid deteriorating weather conditions. This is often due to unseaworthy vessels used by refugees and migrants, which capsize near the Libyan coastline.
The main objective of the second workshop was to further enhance coordination and cooperation among all actors involved in and responding to rescue at sea operations, as well as boost Libya’s capacity to save lives at sea and improve the humanitarian response to those rescued.
The workshops also aim to operationalize a Technical Working and Contact Group, once its Terms of Reference are agreed upon. This would then draw up Standard Operating Procedures for the rescue and disembarkation of refugees and migrants found in distress off the Libyan coast. The group would also identify training and equipment gaps, which could then be filled with the expertise and support of international organizations or individual member states.
IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi noted: “There is an urgent need for better information management and information sharing related to rescue operations handled by the Libyan Coast Guard, particularly regarding the necessary coordination between them and the DCIM. The Technical Working Group will ensure better coordination among all actors involved.”
IOM and UNHCR are planning another meeting as part of the same ECHO-funded project early next year. Specialized training sessions may also be organized with the support of implementing partners in Libya to respond to the most pressing needs in terms of national response capacity.