Bringing together various actors to build the new National Integration Plan in Costa Rica

Building on 10 years of cooperation with Costa Rica, the 5th project with the General Directorate for Migration and Immigration (DGME) is aimed at developing the country’s new National Integration Plan (NIP) for 2023 – 2027. The project has sought to evaluate the current plan 2018-2022, as well as foster spaces of dialogue to establish a roadmap for the next one. In the framework of the onsite mission in San Jose, Costa Rica, the MIEUX+ team and experts brought together a variety of actors to plan integration in the next 5 years across 6 strategic areas, through a holistic and participative approach and including a strong gender-sensitive component.

Located between South and North America and with favourable economic development and political stability, Costa Rica is at the centre of South-North and North-South migratory route and of regional migratory flows. A transit and destination country, Costa Rica receives migrants from South America hoping to reach the United States, and Nicaraguan migrants fleeing the difficult socio-economic and political context in the country. Costa Rica’s tradition of welcoming migrants either transiting or who come to stay has not gone unnoticed internationally and the country’s efforts on integration have made the country a model in the region. The development of the NIP 2023-2027 aims to continue this tradition, and indeed, improve integration efforts where needed.

Past MIEUX projects in Costa Rica have focused on a variety of migration issues such as the revision of the Protocol of Attention to Special Migration Situations or the development of the Protocol of Assistance to Migrants in Crises Contexts. Between 2011 and 2013 MIEUX assisted the DGME on their development of the first National Integration Plan (NIP) for 2013-2017 and between 2016 and 2020, MIEUX supported the development of the second NIP for 2018-2022, identified in 2021 as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Good Practice under goals 7 and 10. In April 2022, MIEUX launched its 5th project with Costa Rica and the third project aimed at supporting the DGME develop the country’s National Integration Plan 2023-2027.

Based on the evaluation of the second plan, as well as consultations with partners and relevant stakeholders before the start of the development phase of the new NIP, MIEUX was able to draw from gaps and identified to design the project activates that would form the basis for the NIP 2023-2027, such as: greater involvement from non-public administration actors, stronger gender component and clearer division of roles and responsibilities in the new plan, to streamline the implementation of collaborative efforts.

Mission in Costa Rica

For the NIP 2023-2027, MIEUX conducted an onsite mission in San Jose, in August 2022 to hold workshops on the 6 strategic axis for the Plan, as well as bilateral and multilateral consultations with relevant actors as needed and conduct a specific working group on gender.

Participating actors were from public administration, the private sector, civil society organisations (CSOs) and local government. In the framework of the workshops, participants were able to learn more about best EU and regional good practices on integration across the 6 different topics and draw from these to identify recommendations for the new Plan.

This project has not only further strengthened the collaboration with the Costa Rica partners but also with the EU member states who participated in the workshops and the project at large. The EU experts Gloria Rendón and Feline Freier working in the development of the NIP, have extensive knowledge and experience both in the topic of integration and in the Costa Rican’s migration landscape.

Brainstorming with partners on a variety of topics

In order to develop roadmaps on each of the strategic pillars of the Plan 2023 – 2027, MIEUX+ organised a series of onsite knowledge exchange workshops covering the following strategic priorities for the Plan: recognising diversity, vulnerable populations, labour, education, health,and institutional strengthening. During these working sessions, partners met with EU and regional experts shared their experience and good practicesBelow you will find the main highlights of each of the workshops, and how these will be translated into the NIP 2023-2027.

Next steps: Drafting the NIP

MIEUX+ is proud to have accomplished this mission that once again fostered dialogue and strengthened collaboration between project partners and other relevant stakeholders in the area of migrant integration in Costa Rica. The results and recommendations from the workshops and consultations are currently being drafted into the new National Integration Plan. The first draft of the Plan will be available in October 2022, and a follow up mission will be conducted in order to validate it, make necessary additions and obtain the working group’s buy-in, before being finalised, in the first quarter of 2023

Related to the topic of integration, the team is also developing a course on integration, for practitioners. More information to follow soon!