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New publication by Dr. Svanhildur Thorvaldsdottir and Dr. Ronny Patz

Drivers of Expenditure Allocation in the IOM: Refugees, Donors, and International Bureaucracy



Resources are key to the operations of international organisations (IOs) such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM). As many IOs and their international bureaucracies cannot rely on obligatory state contributions alone, the overall availability of resources therefore ultimately depends on IO bureaucracies’ mobilisation of additional voluntary funding from states and other donors. Focusing on the resourcing of IOM, we analyse almost two decades (1999–2016) of donor contributions and country-level expenditures of the agency, comparing these figures with similar data for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Through our analysis, we find that the IOM does not respond to refugee numbers in the same way that UNHCR does, while both organisations are responsive in their expenditure patterns to other populations of concern. We also assess the extent to which geographical distance from key donors plays a role in where the organisations allocate their funding. Here, the IOM expenditures shift in line with donor interests to a much greater extent than for the UNHCR. Our findings suggest that the IOM serves distinct political and operational purposes, sustained by a highly earmarked and projectised funding model that distinguishes it from the UNHCR and other IOs.

Link to the article here