In 2021, IOM Greece aims to continue to improve the well-being of migrant communities in the country and support the Greek authorities in providing immediate and long-term solutions through a wide range of activities, including Site Management Support (SMS) and shelter support, capacity building of local actors, protection, legal counselling, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), health support, integration, relocation to European Union (EU) Member States and associated countries, coupled with interventions to address the COVID-19 emergency and ensuring COVID-19 mainstreaming throughout. Special care and attention will be paid to migrants in a situation of heightened vulnerability, including unaccompanied migrant children.
Over the last five years, Greece has seen the arrival of over 1,200,000 migrants to its territory, through both its land and sea borders, leading to a cumulative increase in the number of migrants present in the country. As arrivals continue, the Greek reception system is overstretched, with most of its facilities heavily overpopulated. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an additional burden on the reception system and on the migrant communities hosted therein, calling for emergency measures to ensure their dignified living, safety and protection, as well as to protect public health through efforts made to ensure access to healthcare and medication, including access to the COVID-19 vaccination when available. The Greek authorities, with the support of IOM and other stakeholders, are making efforts to alleviate human suffering and ensure adequate living conditions, by ensuring decent reception standards and conditions for migrants, including Unaccompanied Migrant Children (UMC). Essential support is being provided to the Greek authorities in the daily operation of migrant settings in the mainland (e.g. open accommodation sites, emergency facilities), through a comprehensive Site Management Support and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (SMS/CCCM) approach, with a view to devolve the site management responsibilities for the Reception and Identification Service (RIS), in view of the gradual assumption of ownership by the Greek authorities. Furthermore, a new mechanism for the relocation of migrants, including both applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, from Greece to other European Union Member States (EUMS) and associated countries, has been put in place. At the same time, the focus is shifting to identifying long-term integration prospects for migrants staying in the country.