The key drivers of migration are linked to the security, social and economic disparities between countries. Increasing numbers of migrants from Asia have been filling critical labour gaps and providing essential contributions to national economies. However, despite their value, migrants are often exploited, marginalized, experience violations of their basic human rights in terms of pay, working conditions and lack of access to essential health services throughout their migration journey. Migrants throughout Asia engage in a broad range of activities; their working environment, housing conditions and often the absence of family impact on the development of health and psychosocial challenges and make them particularly vulnerable to communicable diseases like HIV, TB and Malaria.
The Joint UN Initiative on Migration and Health in Asia is a regional, multi-sectoral coordination mechanism that contributes towards regional health security by bringing together governments, civil society organizations, regional associations, development partners and UN agencies to effectively advocate, promote policies, build partnerships, share information and support action on the right to health and access to disease prevention, treatment, care and support services for migrant populations in Asia.
The Joint UN Initiative on Migration and Health in Asia (JUNIMA) evolved in 2009 from the former United Nations Regional Task Force on Mobility and HIV Vulnerability Reduction in South East Asia (UNRTF), as there was an ongoing need for an effective regional coordination mechanism to advocate for access to health for migrants in Asia.
JUNIMA’s vision is for all migrants and their families to have equal access to healthcare throughout the migration process and to live healthy, productive lives.JUNIMA’s mission is to support multi-sectoral partners to share strategic information on migration and health, advocate for migrant-inclusive, gender-sensitive health policies, and increase investment in migrant health and access to health services at all stages of the migration process, for improved regional health security. JUNIMA's Strategic Objectives are: (1) To ensure that strategic information informs decision making, policymaking and programming across the region to improve the health of migrants; (2) To strengthen multi-sector and multi-stakeholder partnerships to link and operationalize regional and national strategies and action plans on access to health for migrants; and (3) To facilitate and advocate regional instruments and national laws and policies, which ensure equal access to health and social services at all stages of the migration process.
The strength of the JUNIMA comes from its diverse, highly knowledgeable, and committed member organizations: national government offices, inter-agency bodies, UN agencies, international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), CSOs, and migrant support organizations.JUNIMA is intentionally linked to national and regional migrant health-related programmes and policies, with objectives that support global recommendations on migrant health. The premise of JUNIMA is to bring together agencies and organizations at the local, national and regional level to improve programmes and policies that advocate the right to health and promote access to health services for migrants throughout Asia. Strategic links with ASEAN and SAARC, as regional intergovernmental associations, provides further support for JUNIMA’s mission at the national and regional levels.The JUNIMA Steering Committee forms the primary governance structure of JUNIMA and is comprised of representatives from governments, civil society organizations, regional associations, development partners and UN agencies. The Steering Committee is headed by the Secretariat under the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Secretariat provides technical assistance and administrative management to support JUNIMA in continuing work towards achieving its objectives. Annual or bi-annual forums in which all members participate are held in member states on a rotational basis to be determined by the members. These meetings cover topics of interest to members and include reports on progress from the 3 different strategic areas of work: Strategic Information; Partnerships; and Policy and Advocacy.
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Roles and responsibilities of the Steering Committee members include:
Geographically, the Joint Initiative covers all countries in the Asia region.
This regional mechanism focuses on the health of vulnerable mobile and migrant populations, including minorities, in Asia.