The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have signed a memorandum of understanding to maximize cooperation and jointly promote orderly, regular, and safe migration as an enabler of sustainable development and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
The IDB and IOM play key complementary roles on addressing and promoting migration management and development issues. Countries in LAC have experienced unprecedented migration flows in the past several years, often creating pressure on countries’ services and capacities.
More than 4.3 million of the approximately 5.1 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela are in LAC, according to data from national immigration authorities and other sources. This makes the current exodus the largest movement of people within the region in recent years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further strained resources and amplified the need for effective assistance and coordination between both institutions to better serve migrants and host communities.
Migrants are especially vulnerable in the current public health context. Social distancing, one of the most effective measures to “flatten the curve”, is difficult to practice within a population that tends to be highly mobile and often occupies overcrowded spaces. Limited access to potable water, basic sanitation, and health services exacerbates this vulnerability.
“With the economic slowdown and loss of livelihoods, migrants are already among the most affected groups,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, IOM Chief of Mission in Washington DC. “Enhanced coordination between relevant humanitarian and development actors will ensure a more coherent response to mitigate the impact beyond the immediate crisis.”
Under the new agreement, the IDB and IOM will promote evidence-based migration policies and programmes at the regional, country and local levels, while protecting migrants’ human and labour rights and developing institutional capacity.
Additionally, the partners will provide technical assistance to local organizations pursuing initiatives on migration management, in areas including financial inclusion, job skills and labour-market integration, health, social protection, and social inclusion and cohesion. The organizations will also develop knowledge products, including online trainings, on topics of mutual interest.
“The links between migration and development are pivotal for the socioeconomic development of the region,” said Antoni Estevadeordal, Migration Special Advisor of the IDB. “The partnership between IOM and IDB will be an important tool to address human mobility issues and transform migration challenges into development opportunities.”