The Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework for Central America and Mexico is developed by the UN Refugee Agency in support of the Global Compact on Refugees. It builds on commitments established in the 2016 New York Declaration and on previous regional commitments and responsibility-sharing mechanisms, most notably the 2014 Brazil Plan of Action and the 2016 San Jose Action Statement by mobilizing and aligning early on a broader group of stakeholders (governments at national and local levels, international and regional financial institutions, UN agencies and NGO partners, business, civil society actors and affected populations), and seeks to bring more financial resources to the table.
Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador, Panama and Costa Rica have officially confirmed their participation in the CRPSF. Each participating country is preparing a plan of action based on the main priority areas of the comprehensive refugee response framework:
- Strengthen reception and admission mechanisms,
- Support for immediate and on-going humanitarian and protection needs,
- Assist national and local institutions and communities hosting refugees, and
- Expand opportunities for durable solutions.
A high-level roundtable in Honduras on 26 and 27 October, 2017 will serve to garner support on the main elements of the CRPSF that will contribute towards a global compact on refugees in 2018.
As an important leader in the Americas and on refugee issues globally, Canada’s participation is critical for the advancement of solutions to forcible displacements in and from Central America and Mexico.
Support reception and admission and address immediate and ongoing needs in host countries and communities
Expand its technical support to asylum systems in the region. Through its immigration and refugee status determination agencies, Canada is currently strengthening Mexico’s asylum system by, e.g., providing high-level training to refugee adjudicators and researchers. This capacity-building project has addressed acute challenges in Mexico, such as the 311% increase of refugee claims since 2014 by making the processing of claims more efficient. On the basis of this successful experience, Canada may wish to support other countries in the region (Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Belize) to build their asylum systems.
Provide financial support to implement the CRPSF. Canada has contributed some USD six million (CAD eight million) to UNHCR’s operations in Mexico and the NCA since 2016. In line with its 2017 Feminist International Assistance Policies, Canada may wish to provide additional financial contributions noting that most projects in the region focus on women and children, as well as LGBTI refugees, in particular to address their protection/sexual and gender-based violence, shelter and education needs. As of September 2017, USD 28.9 million dollars are urgently required to address immediate needs in the NCA, specifically in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Panama. In addition to resources to address the humanitarian and protection needs of the displaced in the region, funding commensurate to the development needs of the countries concerned would also address some of the root causes and prepare the conditions for dignified returns.
Advocate for the participation of other countries in the Americas to join the CRPSF. As noted above, six countries have now officially joined the CRPSF. Canada, as a global leader on refugees and responsibility-sharing, is well placed to encourage other countries’ participation to join the CRPSF. The participation of countries of origin, transit and destination will contribute to addressing root causes of forced displacement, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand durable solutions, and support safe and quality conditions of voluntary return to countries of origin.
Expansion of resettlement places. Given the seriousness of the protection situation, UNHCR is expanding its resettlement referral capacity under its regular resettlement program and the a Protection Transfer Arrangement (PTA), mainly with the U.S.. With respect to the latter, UNHCR is committed to identify 1,080 persons for 2018 as extremely vulnerable cases. Canada may wish to support the PTA and set aside increased spaces for resettlement referrals in keeping with UNHCR’s increased processing capacity and protection needs on the ground. Canada may also wish to remain flexible in relation to the makeup of these referrals, as well as to work with UNHCR to resolve any operational contingencies related to this movement in order to identify the most cost-effective and reliable way to offer durable solutions to the most vulnerable from the NCA.