IOM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile this week organized a two-day seminar on: “Social Inclusion of Migrants and Emergencies Assistance in Urban Contexts”.
The meeting brought together government representatives from South American countries, international organizations, academia and civil society. The regional seminar addressed topics proposed by the South American Conference on Migration (CSM), whose Pro Tempore Presidency is currently the Government of Chile.
One of the main issues discussed was migration and cities, with an emphasis on the social inclusion of migrants in the context of urbanization. Participants discussed the role of local governments and compared the experiences of different municipalities in Chile and countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina and Uruguay.
The second main theme addressed emergencies in urban contexts and focused on assistance to migrants in emergencies. In this panel, the specific cases of Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Paraguay were shared.
Also discussed was the protection of migrants in emergencies from the perspective of IOM and UNHCR. Representatives from UN Habitat and the MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policies on Human Rights (IPPDH) also took part.
Currently, it is estimated that over 51 percent of the global population lives in urban areas and some three million people migrate to cities every week, mainly in developing countries.
It is expected that the number of people living in cities will nearly double to 6.3 billion in 2050, from 3.4 billion in 2009. Latin America and the Caribbean are the most urbanized regions in the world, with about 80 percent of the population living in cities.
In South America there is an intense process of urbanization in most countries, as well as a high concentration of population in large cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Lima, Quito and Santiago.
Local governments play an important role in responding to the challenges posed by the dynamics of migration to cities. It is their job to ensure social inclusion of migrants and protect their rights and those of the host community.
Ambassador Alejandro Marisio from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile referred to the current challenges for better migration governance at the international level. He highlighted Chile’s efforts to promote bilateral and multilateral initiatives to address these challenges from a human rights perspective, recognizing the migrant as a subject of law.
IOM Regional Director for South America Diego Beltrand said: “The territorial space of cities is crucial to meet the integration needs of migrants in host communities, as well as to respond to migration crises. IOM is committed to continue working with the local governments for an effective social inclusion of migrants.”
During the event, IOM emergency specialists Lorenzo Guadagno and Luz Tantaruna presented the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative (MICIC), international protection standards for migrants, the Migration Crisis Operating Framework (MCOF) and the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM.)