Spain makes contribution to IDB’s migration initiative

Event on migration analyzes impact on Latin America

MADRID - Spain has made a $5 million contribution to help the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) tackle urgent development challenges posed by the rise of transborder migrations in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The contribution was announced at the conference Migration and Cities: The Road to Inclusive Integration held March 20, 2019 in Madrid.

The IDB is combining financial resources –both of its own and from donors– and non-financial assets such as knowledge, information and discussions, to help countries in the region and in particular local communities boost their immigrant-inclusion capacities. The initiative is in response to the urgency caused by large flows of people, mostly out of Venezuela and into other South American, Central American, and Caribbean countries.

Spain’s contribution will support the implementation and consolidation of IDB’s migration-related activities such as the design and execution of operations in fields like migrants’ registration and documentation; access to quality basic services, including drinking water, sanitation and solid waste management; education, health and other social activities; and employment and economic opportunities.

It will also support institutional strengthening activities to help countries implement solid public policies on immigration and on social inclusion of immigrants in their host communities.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the exodus of Venezuelans has already become the largest movement of people Latin America and the Caribbean has ever seen. By end-2018, the total number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees living in another Latin American or Caribbean nation was 3.4 million, and their numbers could swell to 5.4 million by December 2019.

Event on migrations

Policies and investments aimed at integrating migrants in host cities’ urban, social and economic fabric are crucial to tackle short, medium and long term challenges of such processes and achieve social stability and harmony needed for inclusive economic growth.

The event on migration and inclusive cities held at the Telefónica Foundation center in Madrid included the participation of prominent personalities and institutions, such as Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena; Spain’s Economy and Business Minister Nadia Calviño; Consuelo Rumí, Secretary of State for Migration at the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security; and Josep Borrell, Spain’s Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation Minister.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno participated in a discussion panel with representatives from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank. Other panels included public and private sector authorities  and other representatives from Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Germany, and the Netherlands, among others.

The IDB, together with other specialized and multilateral institutions, will seek to increase the exchange of information with cities and countries with a longer tradition of dealing with immigrants’ inclusion. In Madrid, for example, 12 percent of the population was born abroad. Toronto has 47 percent of its residents born in a foreign country. In contrast, prior to the recent Venezuelan immigration spike, Bogota had only 3 percent of its residents born in a foreign country, Lima had 1 percent, and Santiago 7 percent.

Multilateral action

Forced relocation and migration are emerging challenges in the global development agenda, and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) can play a crucial role in tackling them. In this context, a group of MDBs in 2017 launched the Platform on Migration and Forced Displacement, whose goal is to improve cooperation in priority areas such as hammering out a common framework for MDBs participation; exchanging knowledge and data; promoting strategic coordination with governments, the United Nations and other partners; and deploying higher impact tools and products.

The Platform on Migration and Forced Displacement comprises de IDB, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank.

Over the past few years, Latin America and the Caribbean has experienced major intraregional migratory flows that have jeopardized progress on poverty reduction and social inclusion in several countries. Faced with this challenge, regional governments saw a need to produce policies and actions to foster the integration of migrants in their host communities.

Some of the areas enabling migrant integration are: housing (for example, reusing vacant spaces); education (language learning, vocational training); health (evaluation of immigrants’ basic health needs); employment (information centers providing news on job opportunities as well as capacity evaluation and training); and access to basic services (sustainable practices on water and electricity supply to informal settlements).

Lastly, migration flows may represent not only challenges, but also great opportunities for host cities. Properly managed –and involving all stakeholders in a community (including civil organizations and the private sector)– migrant integration can help bring about cities that are more sustainable for all and promote their economic, social and cultural development.

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.