UN Migration Supports RCM Countries in Strengthening Protection of Migrants Displaced by Disasters

Posted: 
06/08/18

Mexico City Thirty-two officers from 10 countries that are part of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), met this week (6-7 June) to improve their capacities and exchange experiences on migrant protection in countries affected by natural disasters.

The Workshop on Prevention and Assistance to Migrants and Persons Displaced Across Borders in the Context of Natural Disasters was organized by RCM with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). Representatives from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management.

This training workshop was held just three days after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, which resulted in the evacuation of 12,000 persons and 83 confirmed victims.

In 2017, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) registered 18.8 million new displacements due to natural disasters in 135 countries. In Latin America, the number goes up to 4.5 million displaced persons.

According to the study Migrant Populations in the Reduction of Risk and Attention of Emergencies in Central America elaborated by IOM, 17 million migrants come from Latin America, more than 2 million migrants choose the region as their destination, and several tourists go there annually, making it one of the largest and most diverse territorial corridors of migrants worldwide. The study was presented to the participants, who agreed on the need to include migrant populations in natural disaster risk reduction, in the elaboration of both regional and national level policies.

In 2016, RCM Member States adopted a practical guide for the protection of displaced persons in the context of natural disasters. In 2017, RCM carried out the first training workshop in which the creation of emergency units in the consular network was agreed on, along with the implementation of an IOM e-learning programme to train consular officers in cases of emergency, among other measures.

Representatives of the General Direction for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE); Panama in its quality of RMC’s president; IOM Mexico; PDD; RCM Secretariat; Unit of Immigration Policy (SEGOB) and the National Disaster Prevention Centre (CENAPRED) were present at the opening ceremony.

Christopher Gascon, IOM Mexico Chief of Mission, affirmed that “countries in the region are committed to reducing the vulnerability of migrant populations exposed to environmental risk factors. IOM offers technical advice so that these measures save lives, and governments can successfully face the challenge of migration for environmental reasons.”

The event was made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss government and the US State Department through its Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information, please contact Cesia Chavarria at IOM Mexico, Email: cchavarria@iom.int, Tel: +55 5536 3922

  • Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM

  • Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM