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Central American Northern Triangle Authorities, Mexico, and UN Economic Commission Meet to Implement Global Compact for Migration

(Feb. 6, 2019) A Mexican government press release of January 15, 2019, reports that delegations from the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, and representatives of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (ECLAC, or CEPAL), met at the headquarters of the Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Relations to design the Comprehensive Development Plan agreed on by the governments of the four nations in Mexico City on December 1, 2018. (Press Release No. 0009, Government of Mexico Secretary of Foreign Relations, Authorities from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and ECLAC Make Advances in Elaborating Integral Development Plan (Jan. 15, 2019) (in Spanish).)

The Plan aspires to be the first proposal in the world to implement the Global Compact for Migration.  (Press Release, ECLAC, Foreign Ministers of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico Presented Comprehensive Development Plan in the Framework of the Conference on the Global Compact for Migration (Dec. 10, 2018).)  The Global Compact for Migration is “the first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement . . . covering all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.”  (International Organization for Migration, Global Compact for Migration (last visited Feb. 5, 2019).)  The Compact is a nonbinding agreement developed under the auspices of the United Nations that seeks to improve cooperation between countries and regions to facilitate safe, orderly and regular international migration.  (Id.)

At the meeting, the delegates laid the foundations of the Development Plan, which was focused on addressing the four stages of the migration cycle: the origin, or structural causes of migration, and the transit, destination, and return of the migrant population. Commenting on the initiative at its initial presentation to the media at the Intergovernmental Conference on the Global Compact for Migration in Morocco on December 10, 2018, the Foreign Minister of Honduras, Maria Dolores Agüero, stated that “[r]especting the dignity of migrant persons will be prioritized in line with international law and with special emphasis on a child’s best interest and the protection of human rights, regardless of migratory status.” (Press Release, ECLAC, supra.) Also attending the Conference was the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard, who asserted that

[i]t is not enough to indicate that the causes of migration must be tended to, instead we want to demonstrate that this plan is more effective than all the containment measures that one could want. … [W]e want to compete in a successful way with the narrative that has been predominating in much of the world, the Americas included, that the best way to deal with migration is by excluding and controlling. (Id.)

Reiterating their commitment to implementing the initiative in the short term, the delegations to the meeting at the Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Relations announced plans for additional meetings “to give continuity to the road map that allows addressing the causes of irregular immigration from a subregional vision that articulates and complements the actions that have been developed at the national level.” (Press Release No. 009, supra.)