The UN Migration Agency (IOM) Office in Cyprus and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus shared experiences in the evacuation process of civilians from a crisis country via Cyprus, through a two-day multi-stakeholder national workshop entitled "Strengthening Coordination for Support effective civilian evacuation planning from a crisis country through Cyprus "held on 27 and 28 June 2018 in Nicosia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr Nikos Christodoulides stated inter alia that "given its geographical position, Cyprus has an essential role to play as a" secure transit country" and the Republic of Cyprus is prepared and ready to take its role for the benefit of the international community." He added that "the Republic of Cyprus has set up the National Action Plan ESTIA which expresses the national structures and internal procedures for managing the various aspects of such an operation, as well as the challenges that arise from it".
The Head of IOM Cyprus, Mrs Natasa Xenophontos Koudouna stated that "IOM's response to crises that caused massive civilian outbursts is comprehensive, focused on helping and protecting people on the move, especially the most vulnerable ones, before, during, and after crises."
The aim of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity and coordination of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Cyprus for the organization and management of safe and dignified arrival, transit and withdrawal of civilians from a crisis through Cyprus.
Through the workshop, Cypriot government staff, foreign service representatives (based in Cyprus or key areas of the Mediterranean) and staff of relevant non-governmental organizations and international organizations enriched their knowledge of the various civilian evacuation processes, with the help of specialists in the field from Cyprus and abroad. The interesting speeches, along with working groups that examined potential evacuation scenarios, helped the participants understand the situation, identify the problem, and explore their role and possible solutions to the evacuation process.
The workshop took place under the Migrants in Crisis Countries (MICIC) Initiative, an intergovernmental effort by the United States of America and the Republic of the Philippines as co-chairing country, implemented by the United Nations International Migration Organization (IOM) to improve the protection of migrants when countries in which they live, work, study, travel or travel face conflicts or natural disasters.