ICAT Briefing on its Past, Present and Future

Event Date: 
Friday, October 5, 2018
New York

ICAT Briefing on its Past, Present and Future

On 5 October 2018, ICAT came together at the UN Headquarters in New York to deliver a briefing to Member States and civil society representatives, as the latest in a series of briefings held in New York and Vienna to provide an overview of ICAT’s growing body of work, especially its policy outputs. This briefing was jointly organized by ICAT and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations, and was chaired by UNICEF as ICAT Chair for 2018, along with UNODC as ICAT’s Permanent Coordinator.

Gathering 23 international and regional organizations, the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) has been recognised as the main UN inter-agency mechanism focusing on countering trafficking in persons, with a first meeting of the heads of ICAT organizations in May 2018 providing real impetus for a stronger coordinated and coherent UN response to trafficking in persons.

The briefing provided an opportunity to discuss the past, the present and the future of ICAT’s response to trafficking in persons. It comprised a panel of expert representatives from ICAT member organizations, along with Ms. Larysa Belskaya, Head of Directorate General for Multilateral Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Belarus, who welcomed ICAT members’ efforts to produce valuable technical and policy materials which assist Member States’ responses to trafficking in persons.

Panelists from UNICEF, UNODC, OSCE, UN Women, UNHCR, IOM, ILO and UNFPA recapped existing ICAT products, including issue briefs on Trafficking in Children;  The Role of the SDGs in Combating Trafficking in Persons;  The Gender Dimensions of Human Trafficking  and Trafficking in Persons and Refugee Status. ICAT’s Toolkit for Guidance in Designing and Evaluating Counter-trafficking Programmes was also presented, which harnesses accumulated knowledge to suggest practical responses for counter-trafficking responders, whether state authorities, international organizations or civil society actors.

Panelists also outlined a number of planned publications, including on trafficking in persons and related crimes, and trafficking and forced labour. UN Women also presented findings and recommendations from the Secretary General’s report on Trafficking in Women and Girls A/73/263, which includes inputs from many ICAT agencies.

In addition to the panelists, a number of new, and more recently active, ICAT agencies were also present at the briefing, as a tangible demonstration of the underlying commitment of many agencies to finding ways to work together to better impact on all dimensions of the issues related to trafficking in persons.

During the Q&A session that followed, Member States proposed suggestions for ICAT’s future work, which ICAT will take into consideration in continued work-planning. Such planning was initiated in the days surrounding the briefing, with ICAT holding a working group meeting on 3 and 4 October in New York. At the meeting, a number of new members were welcomed, and a multi-annual work-plan was formulated which will be finalised in the coming months, and put into practice under the incoming co-chairmanship of OSCE and UN Women in 2019.

During both the briefing and working group meeting, participants highlighted a common desire to see trafficking better addressed, but that this needs to be matched by commitment of resources to assist ICAT’s modest needs. In this respect, ICAT would like to express sincere appreciation to the United Kingdom for providing seed funding for a Secretariat function for ICAT, which will facilitate improved coordination of ICAT activities and efforts over the coming six months.

The next ICAT event will be a high-level briefing on 18 October 2018 in the margins of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, Vienna. During this event, ICAT principals and senior representatives will further discuss the UN’s response to trafficking in persons. For more information about this event or any of the above, please contact icat@un.org.