UN Migration Agency, OAS, Costa Rica Hold High-Level Forum on Irregular Migration Flows in the Americas

Capacity Building, Global Compact, Global Compact on Migration

San José - The High-Level Forum on Irregular Migration Flows in the Americas took place 12-13 September 2017. The purpose of the forum was to generate commitments to ensure good migration governance in the Americas, including migrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in an irregular situation, and to turn them into real contributions to the building process of the Global Compact for a Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was adopted in September 2016 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Forum brought together most Organization of American States (OAS) Member States, and discussions included a broad range of issues on migration such as human rights of migrants, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, environmental migration, labour migration and migration governance. Finally, the participants analyzed the role of international cooperation in the Americas’ response to irregular migration flows.

During the event, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro emphasized that "issues related to migration should always be considered under a human rights-based approach, though this does not mean abandoning essential national security conditions." [Watch video]

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson said, “This Forum could not come at better time: We are facing an historic juncture to discuss migration and progress towards a better governance.”

Ambassador Thompson also highlighted the importance of having global and regional systems and mechanisms to improve migration governance.

The event was co-hosted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior of Costa Rica, and the National Police, in close cooperation with the OAS General Secretariat and IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Manuel González Sanz, invited the Member States of OAS to participate in this forum following the publication of the regional report: “Irregular Migration Flows to/within the Americas form Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean,” produced by OAS and IOM. Both the report and the forum were requested by the government of Costa Rica due to the increasing extra-regional migration flows within the region in 2015 and 2016. 

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel. +506 2212 5352 Email: jgallo@iom.int

  • IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson delivers her statement during the high-level forum on irregular migration in the America. Photo: IOM 2017           

  • Main hall of the high-level forum on irregular migration in the Americas, an event that brought together most of the OAS member states. Photo: IOM 2017