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IDB approves grant funds for countries receiving migrants in Latin America and Caribbean
  • Grant resources will support inclusive national development investments, regional projects, research, training on critical issues, and innovative solutions impacting development in region

The Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank has approved the use of its special grant facility to support operations that help countries integrate migrants into local communities and contribute to their development.

The initiative is in response to unprecedented and sudden intraregional migration flows impacting countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It will use the Bank’s grant facility  in combination with economic and social development loan operations, to help receiving countries provide better access to health, education, housing, security, and other services in communities struggling to integrate new arrivals.

The Board of Governors completed a vote to approve the initiative today. Governors, usually finance ministers or central bank presidents, are the IDB’s top decision-making body representing its 48 member states.

Under the approved proposal, the IDB will provide $100 million from its facility, with additional resources expected to be provided by the donor community. These grant funds will be combined with regular IDB loan operations  of $800 million.

The IDB’s Grant Facility was created in 2007 for dealing with special circumstances arising in specific countries or projects. The Facility has supported investments in Haiti so far and now has been expanded to include support for countries dealing with sudden and massive migration inflows. The new facility will not impact the IDB's program of donations for Haiti.

“Latin America has welcomed migrants throughout its history, and indeed many communities have shown great generosity and solidarity in receiving families who often arrive in desperate conditions,” said Antoni Estevadeordal, the Special Advisor at the IDB who coordinates the initiative. “Over time, , migrants can help make communities more dynamic and prosperous. However, if not adequately managed the short term, these inflows can strain public services and fiscal budgets, impact labor markets, and generate political tensions.”

“This initiative,” Estevadeordal added, “will help local and national governments implement comprehensive development programs that facilitate the social integration of migrants into communities, so that they can actively contribute to their overall well-being. In a nutshell, the Bank wants to help turn this challenge into an inclusive development opportunity for our region.”

Migrant flow impacts

The UN and civil society organizations are already providing immediate humanitarian aid delivered mainly through national and local governments. The IDB will work with other multilateral institutions to address the mid and longer-term needs of migrants and their host communities.

Since 2015, 3.5 million migrants from Venezuela have crossed to other countries in the region, and the UN projects that by the end of 2019 there will be 5.4 million Venezuelans living in another country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Initially, neighboring countries received the bulk of the migration, but limited opportunities have forced Venezuelan migrants into other countries. Additionally, migration flows from Haiti, Nicaragua and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America are also accelerating, posing a challenge to public service delivery and underscoring  the need for an regional response to the migration crisis .

Earlier this year the IDB created a dedicated team and an inter-departmental task force to coordinate the Bank’s response, working with operational departments that prepare loans and provide other resources to countries. Grant funds will be used to accelerate the design, piloting and implementation of projects that address the challenges posed by sudden  migration at the local level. The funds will be focused on  sectors including improved access to education and health services, as well as infrastructure such as clean water, sanitation or housing.

Because of its capacity, local presence and regional knowledge, the IDB is in a position to rapidly assist countries that want to design, pilot and implement such solutions.

The IDB’s work will also involve deepening research on the most effective development solutions, migrant needs and setting up a platform for policymakers to share experiences and best practices., as this crisis will only be addressed adequately in a regional perspective. It will also produce online training courses and other materials to help build public sector capacities for integrating migrants into their host communities.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region. The IDB is the leading source of multilateral financing for Latin America and the Caribbean.


Bachelet,Pablo A.

Bachelet,Pablo A.
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