Stabilization and Resilience


In fragile and crisis contexts, migration drivers and decision-making are shaped by constantly evolving social, economic, political, security and environmental factors that define the landscape of risk and opportunity for potential migrants, including the displaced. As part of IOM’s commitment to seek viable prevention[1] and progressive solutions to complex migration and displacement challenges, community stabilization initiatives are designed to address migration drivers and promote local capacity in order to mitigate or prevent the recurrence of displacement and irregular migration.

In places of origin, in host communities and in areas of return, IOM community stabilization programmes assist governments and civil society to reduce push factors, to improve services, incorporate the needs of host and receiving communities, as well as to address the impacts of large-scale flows of migrants and the displaced.

Specifically, these initiatives work across multiple sectors, with a focus on inter alia:

  • Improving access and provision of essential services such as health and education;
  • Rehabilitation and augmentation of basic community infrastructure, including local markets;
  • Supporting local governance capacity and economic recovery, including through cash-based programming and small-grants administration;
  • Using community engagement to improve participation, social cohesion and peacebuilding;
  • Consulting with all stakeholders to identify and implement community priorities and build trust in government.

IOM’s Community Stabilization programmes respond to evidence of displacement and migration patterns, and are tailored through an analysis of context including socio-economic, political, security and environmental factors that drive risk and vulnerability. These initiatives contribute to the sustainable protection of vulnerable groups by delivering direct assistance, improving services and governance, and generally promoting local ownership. They empower local actors to design, implement and monitor the processes. They also improve safety and security by working across peace and development frameworks to address longer-term effects associated with protracted displacement, and negative migration pressures associated with state fragility.

IOM Community Stability Programmes:

IOM Community Stabilization programmes comprise locally-driven, development-principled programming in crisis or fragile contexts, which aim to prevent, mitigate and reduce the drivers and negative effects of displacement, irregular and return migration related to natural and/or human-made crises.

Statement of Scope:

Stabilization programmes work to create conditions for the restoration of normal social, economic and political life, by contributing to restoration of basic rights, and by promoting social cohesion, functioning state governance, non-violent political processes, effective social policy, livelihoods and service delivery. IOM works with governments and individuals at the local, community level to promote stability as a step out of crisis or fragility, paving the way for more sustainable development approaches.

The IOM stabilization approach and methodologies use multiple sectors to achieve broader stability goals, and stress flexibility and adaptability to evolving needs. Through a multi-sector, adaptive model, community stabilization initiatives incorporate discrete programme areas within IOM, including border management initiatives, health programming, livelihoods and (re)integration support. IOM’s Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF) includes Stabilization as a primary sector, and recognizes the need to work across multiple sectors to comprehensively address migration drivers and post- crisis recovery.

As part of its global migration mandate, IOM’s Transition and Recovery Division, within the Department of Operations and Emergencies is focused on promoting prevention and progressive solutions to complex migration dynamics within crisis and fragile contexts. The Division oversees community stabilization programme initiatives, as well as recovery, resilience and transition programmes which help reduce humanitarian need, and operationalize development-oriented responses to displacement and migration challenges.


In support of its global mandate on human mobility, IOM maintains a longstanding commitment to building the resilience of displaced persons, migrants and communities uprooted or otherwise affected by crisis or fragility.

In the context of migration crisis response, but also in pre-crisis and fragile settings, IOM understands resilience-strengthening as a strategy to promote agency, coping and self-reliance abilities, and to create opportunities for vulnerable people to make informed choices, while building capacity to mitigate the underlying drivers of displacement and vulnerability. Resilience-building approaches empower affected people to better influence their crisis conditions while reducing vulnerability to future, protracted or reoccurring shocks and stresses.



[1] IOM recognizes that flight is often first and foremost a life-saving strategy in crisis contexts, and that appropriate response and protection measures must be applied. IOM prevention efforts are aimed at reducing risk and mitigating drivers of forced and irregular migration toward improving migration decision-making.