Civil Society and Governments Meet at the First Regional Forum of the UN Network on Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Civil Society and Governments Meet at the First Regional Forum of the UN Network on Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean

Panama City, August 8, 2023 – The United Nations Network on Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean organized the First Forum of the Civil Society Dialogue Mechanism within the framework of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The Forum focused on reducing vulnerabilities in migration and the socioeconomic integration of migrants, two priority topics for the region. The event aimed to strengthen dialogue between government representatives and civil society organizations on these topics and identify opportunities and challenges in GCM implementation, as well as share good practices and lessons learned in the implementation, follow-up, and review of the GCM. 

“The promotion of a whole-of-society approach is a priority, understanding that migration is a multidimensional reality. It requires the involvement of all stakeholders to achieve good migration governance that favours the development of safe, orderly and regular migration,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

 “We need to address migrant rights and obligations equally. For this reason, strengthening legal frameworks is crucial,” a government representative said. “Enhancing regional cooperation helps reduce vulnerabilities,” he added.

“Decision-making and migration governance should be a bottom-up process. It's essential to propose solutions derived from the experiences of migrants, communities and the work done in conjunction with them,” another participant added.

Participants also raised the role of governments in raising awareness on migration and migrants' rights to prevent and counter hate speech, which distorts evidence-based discourses and usually dismisses the contribution of migrants to communities and society.

Simone Cecchini, ECLAC Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre for the Population Division, said, “The constructive exchange between governments, civil society and the academic sector is key to improving migration governance, to implementing public policies, and ultimately to improving the living conditions and the realization of the rights of all migrants, as well as to promoting the sustainable development of host communities.” 

Another topic raised by participants was the need to improve regularization processes and create formal employment channels, the first steps towards migrant integration.

“We hope this first Forum has created a space of trust to strengthen dialogue and understanding between governments and civil society for the benefit of migrants, their families and communities, as well as countries of origin, transit, destination and return,” concluded Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

Several recommendations were made during the event, including improving the provision of municipal public services for host and migrant communities, creating awareness-raising campaigns to tackle discrimination and providing evidence-based information on migration.

Over 140 participants attended the Forum (both in-person and online),  including members of the Civil Society Dialogue Mechanism, members of the United Nations Regional Network on Migration for Latin America and the Caribbean including ILO, OHCHR, UNAIDS and UNDP, and national and local government officials. The event was supported by the Network Working Group on Civil Society. A summary report of this first Forum will be available soon.

The United Nations Regional Network on Migration for Latin America and the Caribbean includes  19 agencies, funds and programmes*. The Civil Society Open and Permanent Dialogue Mechanism in Latin America and the Caribbean is composed of about 150 civil society organizations from the region, including migrant and diaspora organizations, migrant women’s organizations, faith-based organizations, private sector, employers’ and workers’ organizations, national and local human rights institutions, academia, and other stakeholders.

For more information, please contact: 

In IOM RO San Jose: Rudi Maxwald, Senior Regional Liaison and Policy Officer,  

In IOM RO Buenos Aires: Ezequiel Texidó, Regional Liaison and Policy Officer,  

In ECLAC Santiago: Pamela Villalobos, Senior Social Affairs Officer,