The 5th MIEUX project with Costa Rica kicked off on Monday 25 April with around 50 participants from the General Directorate for Migration and Immigration (DGME), the EU Delegation in Costa Rica, MIEUX+ Experts from Germany and Spain and representatives from various national ministries, international organisations, NGOs and academia. Drawing from previous work in the country developed jointly between MIEUX and the DGME, this Action will focus on the development of the Costa Rica National Integration Plan (NIP) 2023 – 2027, building from lessons learnt and a new migratory reality.
MIEUX+ in Costa Rica
MIEUX has a long-standing collaboration with the General Directorate for Migration and Immigration in Costa Rica. Since the programme’s launch in 2009, MIEUX implemented 4 projects supporting the efforts of the Government of Costa Rica on migration issues with the development of the 2 National Integration Plans, the revision of the Protocol of Attention to Special Migratory Situations, the development of the protocol of assistance to migrants in the context of migration crises (Costa Rica IV project which is still ongoing at the time of this publication) and also with training on the topics of human trafficking and integration for more than 580 public officials and NGO staff.
The 5th Action with the DGME will build on the past Costa Rica II Action, which developed the National Integration Plan 2018-2022, identified in 2021 as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Good Practice under goals 7 and 10, and focus on the development of the new Costa Rica National Integration Plan for 2023 – 2027 through a holistic and participative approach.
During the launch event on 25 April 2022, Alberto Menghini, the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation in Costa Rica emphasised the importance of this renewed collaboration between MIEUX+ and Costa Rican partners: “Costa Rica is the best client of the MIEUX facility. We very much believe in this form of cooperation and in the value of exchanging experiences. The fact that there is such an active demand for this kind of exchange is a source of pride and satisfaction for us.” Mr. Menghini further referred to the international community’s recognition of Costa Rica’s integration efforts as a good practice to be replicated.
Integration of migrants in Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s favourable economic development and political stability have made the country an attractive destination for migration, mainly from neighbouring countries. As the country’s immigrant population continues to grow, it becomes necessary to double-down on efforts towards migrant integration, across all sectors and areas of life, and this remains a top priority for the Costa Rican government.
As highlighted by the DGME’s Director General for Migration, Raquel Jaubert, “This NIP has allowed us to have a robust tool for the inclusion of the migrant population in Costa Rican society and, most importantly, it has also allowed us to achieve the integration of the most vulnerable (…). We have brought about a change in the paradigm of migration: it is no longer an issue exclusive to the DGME, but institutions and different actors, both civil society organisations and international organisations have been incorporated into this integration process and we have therefore achieved a real and effective integration of the different migrant populations.”
Additionnally, Mr Menghini highlighted the relevance of working on integration for Central America countries as well as Europe: “The PNI 2023-27 is extremely relevant because we know that integration is the best and most effective way to ensure that the phenomena of human mobility does not generate or will not aggravate situations of vulnerability, resulting in phenomena of violence, social exclusion or conflict among populations.”
He further recognised the usefulness in mobilising the European experience in developing integration policy in the Central American context: “In the case of the EU, we have the new European Pact on Migration and Asylum, which is a policy that we believe to be successful, and we are in the best position to share the experience.”
Now that the project has officially started, the MIEUX+ team and experts will evaluate the previous NIP 2018 – 2022 and prepare a report on what needs to be changed and addressed in the future one. Recommendations and best practices will be discussed during knowledge exchange workshops with the Costa Rican partners and relevant stakeholders. These activities will serve as the starting point for the development of the Plan 2023 – 2027.