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Central America, Mexico, and the international community committed to finding joint solutions to forced displacement

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Central America, Mexico, and the international community committed to finding joint solutions to forced displacement

24 January 2024
Six men and six women stand in a row on stage, posing for a picture in front of the flags of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, the United States, UNHCR, and the Organization of American States..

From left to right: Antonio García, Undersecretary for Consular and Migratory Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Juan José Barrios, Ambassador of Guatemala to Panama; Diana Marcela Vanegas, Ambassador of El Salvador to Panama; Maricarmen Plata, Secretary of Access to Rights and Equity, Organization of American States (OAS); Jonathan Riggs, Secretary General of Ministry of Security, Panama; Juana López, Viceminister of Government, Panama; Roger Tejada Bryden, Minister of Government, Panama; Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Belize; Kelly Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR); Cheryl Fernandes, Director, Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), United States of America; Marlen Luna Alfaro, Viceminister of Interior and Police, Costa Rica; Jason Hollmann, Director General, Asylum Policy Branch, IRCC, Canada.


PANAMA CITY, Panama - Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama, together with the international community, on the occasion of the VI Annual Meeting of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS), approved historic documents and reached agreements to strengthen protection and find joint solutions for people forced to flee.

Following the pledges made during the Global Refugee Forum in 2023, the MIRPS countries adopted the Panama City Declaration, a roadmap for 2024 that reflects their commitment to redouble efforts and continue working together to address forced displacement in the region. They 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 OAS General Secretariat is proud to have succeeded in ensuring that the priorities of the MIRPS also transcended into strategic political spaces within the inter-American agenda in which the magnitude of the displacement crisis has been made visible, and the MIRPS has been reinforced as a reference for the coordination of responses to the common challenges faced by the countries as a result of the dynamics of forced displacement," said Maricarmen Plata, Secretary for Access to Rights and Equity of the Organization of American States (OAS).

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 U.S. 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.

About the MIRPS:

The Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS) includes Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama. The MIRPS is an innovative mechanism for the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees to encourage regional cooperation among countries of origin, transit, and destination for greater shared responsibility for prevention, protection, and durable solutions in the face of growing forced displacement in Central America and Mexico. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the Organization of American States (OAS) provide support as the MIRPS Technical Secretariat.

About the MIRPS Support Platform:

The MIRPS Support Platform was launched in December 2019 to support the efforts of the MIRPS countries. It aims to mobilize support from the widest possible range of stakeholders. Currently, the Support Platform is comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the European Union (EU), France, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay, the United States, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank Group, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organization of American States (OAS) serve as the Platform's Secretariat.

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