Facilitating social and economic inclusion of migrants: Regional Workshop in San José, Costa Rica

The European Union is supporting the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development through the MIgration EU eXpertise (MIEUX) Initiative, implemented by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), in hosting the two-day regional workshop “Facilitating social and economic inclusion”, on 24 and 25 July in San José, Costa Rica. The first of a series of four regional round-tables ahead of the Quito Summit in November will gather representatives from academia, national and local-level government and civil society to exchange experiences in how to deliver services and apply innovative and rights-based approaches for the social and economic inclusion of migrants. 

The need for social and economic inclusion of migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean

Governments in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) face a number of crises that are leading to increased migration flows. UNHCR has estimated that by summer 2019 over four million Venezuelans have been displaced to neighbouring countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Brazil among others, while caravans of migrants, including women and young children, are in transit through Central America. As stressed by the Vice Minister of Human Mobility of the Republic of Ecuador and Chair of the 2019 GFMD, Ambassador Santiago Chávez, in view of these migratory flows, the Ecuadorian Government is placing special emphasis on the crucial role played by local governments and cities as first responders with respect to newcomers.

These events are pushing governments in the region to seek effective practices to adapt and implement locally in order to provide access to housing and the labour market and encourage political participation for migrants, as well as to deal with growing expressions of xenophobia. The European Union’s past and ongoing experiences, policies, and practices in these areas can provide a valuable source of lessons learned and practical solutions for LAC.

Inter-regional cooperation for improved international migration governance

The workshop responds to one of the priorities of the Ecuadorian GFMD Chairmanship to engage regional stakeholders in meaningful dialogue ahead of the Quito Summit and will feature European practices such as the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) and Barcelona City Council´s Service Centre for Immigrants, Emigrants and Refugees. A wide array of stakeholders, among which representatives from local and central governments, academia, civil society and international organisations, will gather to contribute through these discussions to the supporting documents for the Summit´s Round-table 1.2. “Facilitating social and economic inclusion” of the GFMD 2019 agenda.

As Mr. Oleg Chirita, Head of Programme, Global Initiatives, ICMPD stated, “The recent turn of events in Latin America and the Caribbean bears a striking resemblance to what European Union Member States faced in 2015 and 2016.  We are glad to support the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of the GFMD in analysing, sharing, contrasting and adapting European practices to the Latin American context. In doing so, these workshops contribute, among others, to the New European Consensus on Development, which promotes strengthened engagement to facilitate the safe, orderly, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies”.

The GFMD and the Ecuadorian Chairmanship of 2019

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. Now in its twelfth edition, the GFMD Summit will be held in the week of 18-22 November 2019 in Quito, Ecuador under the theme “Sustainable approaches to human mobility: Upholding rights, strengthening state agency, and advancing development through partnerships and collective action.”

Ecuador’s GFMD 2019 Chairmanship comes at a timely moment for global migration governance, given the inclusion of migration-related targets in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the adoption of the two Global Compacts on Refugees (GCR) and on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) in 2018.  The Chairmanship is keen to nurture common ground among governments who may have differing views on the GCM while exploring complementarities of the two Global Compacts in line with commitments made in the New York Declaration of 2016.

Four regional workshops will take place between July and October 2019 involving regional stakeholders, as part of a set of concrete priorities that the 2019 GFMD Chair has put in place to enhance the GFMD process this year and beyond. In line with topics of the 12th GFMD Summit roundtables, the regional workshops will focus on social and economic inclusion of migrants; migration, rural transformation and development; legal pathways; and the role of cities in migration governance.

MIEUX and the 2019 GFMD

In line with one of its main objectives, MIEUX is providing relevant European expertise and content support to the Government of Ecuador in relation to the GFMD 2019 process. Specifically, MIEUX is assisting Ecuador with organising a series of regional workshops that should not only contribute directly to the thematic round-tables of the Quito Summit and to the background papers, but also function as standalone events that advance the global debate on migration and development. Targeting different stakeholders, such as local and central governments, academia, civil society, and regional stakeholders, this series of regional workshops aims at setting up a future-oriented regional model that could be utilised by future GFMD chairs in their respective regions.

Background information

Created in 2007, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) is a state-led, informal and non-binding process, which helps shape the global debate on migration and development. It provides a flexible, multi-stakeholder space where governments can discuss the multi-dimensional aspects, opportunities, and challenges related to migration, development, and the link between these two areas. The GFMD process allows governments - in partnership with civil society, the private sector, the UN system, and other relevant stakeholders – to analyse and discuss sensitive issues, create consensus, pose innovative solutions, and share policy and practices.

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