Regional Overview 

In the MENA region, protracted crises largely driven by political instability and unrest, economic decline, climatic shocks and compounded by the consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic and economic impact of the Ukraine crisis, leave millions dependent on humanitarian assistance year after year.  

The region has more than 40 million migrants2 and 15.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs)3. This figure constitutes 26 per cent of the global number of IDPs, making the MENA region the second highest concentration of IDPs following the sub-Saharan Africa region. Most displacement in the MENA region (81%) has been triggered by conflict, in particular in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Sudan. Prolonged conflicts, instability and inequality are likely to induce more mobility from, to and within the MENA region while heightening the vulnerabilities of certain groups. As countries are experiencing economic challenges and mitigating or recovering from prolonged conflicts, IOM seeks to enhance its response in coordination with countries of origin and receiving countries alike.  

While conflict and violence remain the main drivers of displacement in the region, increasingly, extreme weather events linked to climate change are contributing to the internal displacement of people and increased vulnerability. In fact, MENA, being the world’s most water-stressed region, is extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change. In 2021, 76% of the disaster-driven displacement, 233,000 persons, in the region was attributable to floods (IDMC, 2022), with countries like Iraq, Sudan and Syria being some of the most affected. Meanwhile, warming happens faster than the global average, and countries like Egypt and Yemen are exposed to very high risks of heatwaves. Along with conflict, increasingly extreme weather threatens food security and livelihoods from farming and fishing in countries like Sudan and Yemen.   

With a strong operational footprint in the MENA region, IOM continues to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection for millions of people in urgent need. The Regional Emergency and Post Crisis (EPC) team provides technical and administrative support and oversight to IOM missions implementing humanitarian, disaster risk reduction, transition and recovery and peacebuilding programmes. 

IOM crisis response plans are structured around four core objectives:  
  • Save lives and respond to needs through humanitarian protection and assistance  
  • Address the drivers and longer-term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in crisis prevention, preparedness, disaster risk reduction and recovery  
  • Including comprehensive responses that span the humanitarian-development-peace nexus grounded in sound analysis and build on strong partnerships 
  • Strengthen preparedness and reduce disaster risks 
  • Contribute to an evidence- based and efficient crisis response systems 

For more information, please check IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform which provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2023 and beyond.