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OAS, PADF, IOM and UNHCR Present Report on Role of Local Governments in Reception and Integration of Migrants, Refugees and other Displaced People

  April 27, 2023

The Organization of American States (OAS), the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) presented today the Report Reception and Integration of Migrants and Refugees in the Cities of the Americas" at the Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver, United States of America.

The report covers 109 localities and 25 countries in the Americas, seeking to identify best practices and challenges in the reception of migrants and refugees at the local level in the region. This initiative was carried out together with the Metropolitan University of Toronto, the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA) and MG Group, with support from the governments of the United States, Canada and Sweden.
During the launch, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, Director of the OAS Department of Social Inclusion, said: "This report provides one of the first regional overviews on a continental scale of local migration and protection institutions and policies in the Americas. The novelty is that it covers an important variety of localities in a region that is profoundly diverse in terms of structures, institutions and capacities, from the perspective of the people on the ground, in direct contact with the challenges and opportunities posed by the reception and integration of migrants and refugees.”
The report reveals that in 71% of the localities, one of the main challenges is the need to change national policies or administrative practices. Additionally, in 65% of the localities, there is a lack of financial resources to guarantee the institutional response to migrants and refugees. 
On the other hand, and according to the results of the study, only 28% of the cases have enabled local spaces for the participation of migrants and refugees in the design of policies and programs that affect them, which should be identified as an opportunity to promote their creation. 
Based on the successful practices and policies implemented by the 109 localities analyzed, the report proposes six key components for the reception and integration of migrants and refugees at the local level: adapt, train, include, communicate, link and regularize. 
The report was the framework for the dialogue that took place with mayors and other local actors at the thematic session of the Cities Summit of the Americas entitled "The role of local governments in the reception and integration of migrants, refugees and other displaced persons in the cities of the Americas" organized by the four organizations. 
The perspectives offered by local actors who work closely with the reality of migrants and refugees will serve as a starting point for opening new lines of action in support of tens of millions of people in a situation of human mobility, guaranteeing access to their rights so that all refugees and migrants in the Americas can rebuild their lives in a dignified manner.
Daniel Arango, PADF's Director of Programs in Panama, emphasized, "In the current context of migration, with an increasing number of people migrating and limited resources to address this situation, it is important to share responsibilities to ensure their protection and respond to the basic needs of migrants with dignity. Civil society organizations are key to this response because of their flexibility, proximity to vulnerable people, expertise and independence”.
"As we have seen exemplified throughout today's meeting, mixed flows of Venezuelan and other nationalities in transit complement and reinforce existing local capacities and drive productivity growth. We are witnessing many examples of the contribution of migration in receiving countries. Forging inclusive narratives and recognizing the cross-fertilization that migration promotes is key to the recovery and growth of Latin American and Caribbean countries," said Diego Beltrand, IOM Special Envoy for Regional Response to mixed flows of Venezuelan and other nationalities in transit
Isabel Márquez, Deputy Director of UNHCR's Bureau for the Americas, closed the event by emphasizing that "in the world, cities and local governments are at the forefront of the response in terms of care and protection of forcibly displaced persons... UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting all local authorities that have committed to host refugees and migrants in a spirit of solidarity, and we will continue to highlight their actions and initiatives of political and institutional leadership to meet this challenge, motivating other authorities to follow the same path." 

Notes to the editor

High definition photos of the launch available here

Link to the full report in English

Link to the executive summary in English

Press Contact: Nicole Levoyer, Department of Social Inclusion (OAS) ([email protected]).

Reference: E-015/23