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Central America – Mexico and the international community to address forced displacement

WASHINGTON, USA – The governments of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama, together with the international community, approved a roadmap for 2024 that reflects their commitment to redouble efforts and continue working in a coordinated manner to address displacement forced in the region.

The Panama City Declaration was agreed on the occasion of the VI annual meeting of the Comprehensive Regional Framework for Protection and Solutions (MIRPS), held in the Central American country. This roadmap is in line with the commitments made by countries during the Global Refugee Forum in 2023. MIRPS members also officially approved the MIRPS Statutory Charter, which marks a milestone by establishing a clear structure and roles to strengthen the regional mechanism.

The VI annual meeting of the MIRPS highlighted the solidarity and shared responsibility among States, donors, international financial institutions, and civil society. Ministers and high-level representatives emphasized national and regional achievements in relation to more than 150 commitments on access to protection, education, health, and employment. However, they underscored the need to continue working together and mobilizing resources to support the more than 1.8 million people who have been forcibly displaced in Central America and Mexico.

Panama, as the MIRPS Pro-tempore Presidency in 2023, played a key role in this process. “It is important to highlight that the Pro-tempore Presidency promoted a series of regional dialogues aimed at strengthening the MIRPS 2023 Regional Action Plan. We recall the leadership of Costa Rica, with the theme of jobs and livelihoods; of Honduras, with Internal Displacement; of Mexico, with the theme of Reception, Admission and Processing of Cases; and of Panama, with Local Governance,” stated Roger Tejada, Panama’s minister of government.

United Nations deputy High Commissioner for refugees, Kelly Clements, emphasized the importance of continuing joint efforts.

“The spirit of engagement and collaboration is exactly what the MIRPS represents. It is a collective resolve and our collective commitment, as host and transit countries, to meet the moment and live up to the humanitarian and development challenges in the region, to continue strengthening regional collaboration throughout the Americas. When we are willing to work together, to engage as equals, we can make change,” she noted.

The secretary for Access to Rights and Equity of the Organization of American States (OAS), Maricarmen Plata welcomed the progress made at the meeting in Panama and called for redoubling efforts.

“Collaboration between all the actors involved is essential to find solutions, and from the OAS we reaffirm our commitment to continue making the magnitude of the crisis visible and making the MIRPS priorities transcend the strategic political spaces on the inter-American agenda. This situation must be addressed with compassion and solidarity because the millions of forcibly displaced children, women and men cannot wait,” Plata said.

The international community, through the MIRPS Support Platform, has played a critical role in mobilizing financial, political, and technical resources to support MIRPS member countries. During the High-Level Solidarity Segment, led by the United States as Chair of the Support Platform in 2023, members expressed commitments to strengthen the regional response and National Action Plans by 2024.

“As we look forward in 2024 we are no doubt faced with unprecedented challenges, including an increasingly uncertain resource environment as we contend with competing priorities and increasing displacement globally. However, thanks to strong regional mechanisms like the MIRPS and the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, I am confident we are well-positioned to face these challenges head-on, together” acknowledged Cheryl Fernandes, director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

At the close of the meeting, Panama officially transferred the MIRPS Pro-tempore Presidency to Belize. This handover symbolizes the continuity of the regional commitment to address forced displacement in a hemispheric approach and work towards real and durable solutions.



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