North and Central America Coordinate efforts on extra-regional Migration

6 July, 2018

Countries from North and Central America participated in the 5th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group on Extra-Regional Migrants of the Regional Conference on Migration(RCM) on Thursday, May 31. This meeting was held with the goal to exchange information and best practices on governance of extra-regional migration.

This encounter included a visit to the Darien border area, where delegates visited migrant centers in Peñitas and the National Border Service (SENAFRONT) installations. Delegates had the opportunity to observe the processes of reception, registration, housing, vaccination, and transfer in the zone, which constitutes the first entry point for extra-regional migrants in Central America.

As part of the Ad Hoc Group's agenda, the delegations presented on the current state of migration in their respective countries, highlighting the challenges in the handling of comparable statistics amongst these countries.

In addition, the delegates emphasized the importance of identifying unauthorized ports of entry along the borders of each country.

IOM committed to assist with the systematization of the extra-regional migration data from all the countries, so that the information will be up-to-date and available.  Additionally, it will coordinate with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to create informational tools about asylum opportunities and other means of protection available to extra-regional migrants.

Furthermore, IOM will assist with the revision of the "Work Plan on Counter Smuggling" of the Liaison Officer Network to Combat Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking with the aim of identifying redundancies and complete the necessary actions for extra-regional migration management.

"Forums like the RCM's are essential for regional coordination and exchange of information on movements, especially those of extra-regional persons. The exchange of information, as well as the agreements reached between the countries make it possible to carry out these types of initiatives successfully. IOM provides information management tools that support states to manage migration more efficiently,” explains Isis Orozco, Coordinator of the Mesoamerica Program for Costa Rica.

Amongst the initiatives, the presentation of the Presidency Pro-Témpore Panama and IOM’s on the Manual for Temporary Shelters Management in Panama stood out. The manual is the result of a process of  interinstitutional consultation, which objective is to bring technical guidance to staff members of pertinent  institutions in governments and any hired or volunteering personnel of civil society organizations, to provide, in a coordinated manner,  humanitarian aid and protection services in temporary migrant centers. This initiative was supported by IOM, particularly from The Mesoamerica Program.