Across Latin America, multiple and overlapping humanitarian crises continue to force the displacement and movement of millions of people in search of safety and protection. Violence, economic instability and environmental distress continue to be the main factors driving the increase in mixed and ongoing migration across the region. As of September 2021, UNHCR had identified nearly one million people of concern in Central America and Mexico, including internally displaced persons, internationally displaced Venezuelans, asylum seekers and refugees. Globally, there are more than 6 million Venezuelans displaced abroad, most of whom are hosted in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Brazil. Mexico alone is home to more than 285,000 people in need of international protection.
In response to the humanitarian, political, environmental and economic crises that have driven people to seek safety across Latin America, local and international actors have developed overlapping responses to address humanitarian needs across the region. At the international level, these initiatives include the Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), the Marco Integral Regional para la Protección y Soluciones (MIRPS), the Quito Process and the Friends of the Quito Process. These forums attempt to provide space for humanitarian and development actors to develop collaborative response plans in Latin America. However, the patchwork of attempts and the lack of serious adoption by regional governments has resulted in confusing and dangerous conditions for people on the move in the region, as they face a widespread lack of protective policies and safety regulations. extremely different immigration throughout their journey.
Because of these conditions, the imperative to provide principled and sustainable humanitarian responses across the region is of growing importance. To this end, the IRC recommends:
Donors and host states should agree on concrete funding commitments as well as shared responsibilities and a framework for policy harmonization (on protection, documentation, access to school, labor and health care, regularization of immigration status and initiatives addressing the needs of vulnerable people such as women, girls, children, youth, indigenous peoples and the LGBTQI+ community) across the region. These commitments must be agreed with strong input from civil society and implemented transparently through local forums, in addition to the Quito process, the 2022 donor conferences and the Summit of the Americas.
The Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions should incorporate lessons learned from other multilaterally supported and funded compact initiatives into humanitarian and protection emergencies around the world in responses in Latin America. This includes expanding the scope of the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) to include initiatives in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama, and expanding the scope of the GCFF in Colombia.
Rethinking the approach to a humanitarian response in Latin America will require the sustained engagement of non-US donors in the responses, such as the European Commission, Germany, Spain,
Sweden, UK and Japan. UNHCR, the United States and the World Bank can and should use their convening powers to bring these new donors to the table and learn from the Jordan Compact to strengthen humanitarian responses in Latin America.