UN Migration Agency Contributes to Municipal Development in El Salvador
Usulután – Representatives from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, USAID, El Salvador’s Presidency and municipal Mayors of San Miguel, Usulután and Zacatecoluca today (14/11) launched the regeneration of public areas that will directly benefit 9,000 Salvadoran families, among them returned migrants.
The official events were attended by the Ambassador of the United States to El Salvador, Jean Manes; USAID’s Director, Peter Natiello; the Salvadoran Undersecretary of Governance, Antonio Morales; IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza-Breedy; the Municipal Mayor of Zacatecoluca, Francisco Hirezi; the Municipal Mayor of San Miguel, Miguel Pereira and the Acting Municipal Mayor of Usulután, Salvador Lovo.
The infrastructure works will promote community coexistence, provide leisure and recreation spaces, enhance social cohesion and community strengthening, with expectation that this will help prevent irregular migration and social violence.
“We are convinced that the challenges we tackle in the face of the discrimination suffered by returnees must be addressed from different angles. The generation of dignified environments in these communities, where returned and migrant populations can establish links that help them reintegrate, is one of those angles for which it becomes a priority for us. Therefore, we contribute to the creation of open, recreational and sports areas,” said Peraza-Breedy.
“We recognize that the community has many capacities to advocate, fight and work to make their projects a reality; and this place can help bring their ideas and initiatives to life, giving them a space to dialogue, to organize and to discuss the possibilities that are before you all,” said Ambassador Manes.
Some of the facilities being worked on include the municipal gymnasium and Juanita Guerrero Park in Usulután; the communal house of Colonia Santa Inés in San Miguel; community house of Colonia Buena Vista and soccer field at Hato Hasbún Sports Complex in Zacatecoluca.
In parallel, IOM is working closely with municipal governments and communities to ensure that infrastructure works respond to local development needs with a reintegration approach. For this reason, focus groups are being organized with women, relatives of migrants and returnees, adolescents and young people to define the processes to be applied for reincorporation. Based on these findings, training will be provided to strengthen knowledge of migration and reintegration.
With construction in these three departments, a total of 85 communities will benefit directly with an investment of almost USD 500,000 under the framework of the Return and Reintegration in the Northern Triangle of Central America project, implemented by IOM with USAID funds and contributions from municipal governments.
IOM works closely with municipalities and communities that have high rates of returnees and have been identified as priorities by the government through the El Salvador Seguro Plan.
According to data from the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreign Affairs (DGME), between January and September of 2017, San Miguel received 1,058 returnees, making it the municipality with the highest number of returns nationwide so far, this year. Meanwhile, Usulután received 558, which positioned it in fourth place, and Zacatecoluca welcomed 274 returning migrants.