Roles at the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Ovais Sarmad's roles in the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have been marked by exceptional leadership and significant achievements. As Chief of Staff, he provided strategic guidance to the Director General and coordinated the organization's functions. As Director of the Global Administrative Centre in the Philippines, he managed global administrative services. In his role as Director of Resources Management (DRM) at HQ, he excelled in budget and financial management. His accomplishments include implementing activity-based accounting and projectization, establishing emergency operation offices, and affiliating IOM with the United Nations' Joint Staff Pension Fund. He played a significant role as a team member in negotiating the IOM-UN relationship agreement, signed on September 19, 2016. Contributed to strengthening the partnership between IOM and the United Nations for enhanced collaboration and coordinated efforts.

His achievements in these diverse roles at IOM demonstrate his leadership, strategic vision, and commitment to driving positive organizational change and global impact.

Chief of Staff/Directeur de Cabinet, Office of the Director General (ODG):

As the Chief of Staff/Directeur de Cabinet in the Office of the Director General (ODG) at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ovais Sarmad held a multifaceted role that encompassed diverse responsibilities spanning administrative, operational, policy, and political aspects of the organization. The ODG, headed by the Director General, assumes overall responsibility for formulating coherent policies and overseeing activities to ensure compliance with the organization's strategic priorities.

In his capacity as Chief of Staff, he coordinated the functions of the ODG and provided invaluable assistance to the Director General in fulfilling their mandate. He offered strategic advice on corporate policies and initiatives, ensuring alignment with the organization's goals. Ovais Sarmad supervised the overall functioning of the Office of the Director General, providing leadership and direction to the staff. He also offered guidance to all IOM Chiefs of Missions in the field on policy, administrative, budgetary, and other relevant matters.

As the first reporting officer for nine organizational units under the ODG, nine Regional Directors, and the de facto second reporting officer for 140 Chiefs of Missions and Heads of Office globally, he played a crucial role in fostering effective communication and collaboration within the organization. He represented the Director General in bilateral meetings with IOM stakeholders, including Heads of State and at the Ministerial level. Furthermore, he recommended initiatives and proposals to Member States and donors, engaging with them to further the organization's objectives.

With his network and diplomatic skills, Ovais Sarmad liaised with Member States, donors, and other international organizations on various issues of interest to the organization. He ensured appropriate planning and coordination between the headquarters and field structures, addressing matters such as staff morale. Additionally, he possessed the authority to intervene in complex disciplinary cases and management reviews, contributing to the overall well-being and effectiveness of the organization. He also played a key role in senior staff recruitment, offering insights and recommendations.

Throughout his tenure as Chief of Staff/Directeur de Cabinet, his contributions and leadership significantly contributed to the smooth functioning of the Office of the Director General and the overall success of the International Organization for Migration.

Director of Administrative Centre in the Philippines/Chief of Mission:

As the Director of the Administrative Centre in the Philippines and Chief of Mission, he assumed the responsibility of managing the global administrative center for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) based in Manila, Philippines. This center, known as the Manila Administrative Centre (MAC), comprised 25 international staff and 300 national staff, providing a wide range of administrative and operational services to over 300 IOM offices worldwide.

Oversight of essential administrative services offered by the MAC, including field procurement, financial services, regional accounting support, central accounting support, treasury support, budget support, PRISM (ERP) central support, project information management, human resources operations, information technology and communications service center, UN pension fund administration support, staff security support, website hosting, intranet and digital assets management, global migration health support, data and statistics, and airline invoice settlement. This comprehensive oversight ensured the seamless functioning of administrative processes across the organization.

Additionally, as the Chief of Mission in the Philippines, Ovais Sarmad was responsible for managing various migration management projects and fostering strong liaison with the government. He actively participated in the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and represented the IOM within the UN system. Through his leadership and coordination efforts, He ensured effective project implementation and facilitated collaboration with local stakeholders to address various humanitarian emergencies resulting in population displacements due to climate hazards.

Ovais Sarmad's tenure as Director of the Administrative Centre and Chief of Mission in the Philippines was marked by his ability to efficiently manage administrative operations, provide strategic guidance, and foster productive partnerships, thereby contributing to the successful execution of IOM mandate.


Director of DRM at HQ:

In his role as the Director of Resources Management (DRM) at the headquarters (HQ) of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ovais Sarmad assumed a critical position overseeing resources management, particularly focusing on budget and finance. His responsibilities entailed maintaining a delicate balance among key areas.

He engaged in liaison and negotiations with Member States on administrative and budgetary matters, ensuring effective collaboration and consensus-building. As a part of the senior management team at HQ, he maintained regular liaison and coordination with the Director General and Deputy Director General, contributing to strategic decision-making processes.

Collaboration and coordination with field staff at all levels were integral to his role. By actively engaging with field personnel, he ensured their needs and perspectives were considered in resource management decisions, promoting a cohesive approach between HQ and field structures.

As the Director of DRM, Ovais Sarmad assumed the day-to-day management and direction of the department, overseeing the various staff and functions within it. He played a pivotal role in setting policies, standards, and procedures to safeguard the financial and human resources of the organization, while protecting its reputation and integrity. He proactively managed financial risks and exposures, identifying potential issues and taking preventive actions to avoid financial and administrative obstacles.

Recognizing the importance of continuous improvement and innovation, he invested time and resources in strategic and forward-looking initiatives. He focused on renewing and streamlining administrative and management processes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness within the organization.

Throughout his tenure as Director of DRM at HQ, Ovais Sarmad demonstrated exceptional leadership in resource management, fostering collaboration, and implementing proactive measures to ensure IOM could effectively fulfil its mandate.