CARICOM advances in the roadmap for developing a regional migration policy
25 August 2023
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS, 25 August 2023
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and several regional and international organizations participated in the Advancing a Regional Approach to a Migration Policy workshop in Bridgetown, Barbados, on 24 and 25 August 2023. Participants worked together, with technical support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Western Hemisphere Program, to establish the regional policy’s priorities and strategic approach to opportunities and challenges regarding migration management in the Caribbean, and to build a roadmap for ongoing development in the coming months.
Participants at the two-day meeting included representatives from the CARICOM Secretariat, CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), CARICOM Standing Committee of Chiefs of Immigration (CICC), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Caribbean Development Fund(CDF), the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Government of Barbados, the Government of the United States, Canadian High Commission, Delegation of the European Union, and several United Nations Agencies. The European Union was also recognized for its commitment of resources to support the advisory groups and the engagement of the Member States in 2023 and 2024.
Changing migration trends in the Caribbean were thoroughly discussed during the activity, including the findings of the research on national and regional migration issues and priorities. The migration matters identified for policy development included border governance, counter trafficking and smuggling, refugee protection, labor migration, social and economic development, as well as climate change and environmental migration. Developing a regional migration policy approach to such topics is particularly timely and relevant considering the announcement by CARICOM Heads of Government in July that CARICOM will move towards free movement of its citizens by March 2024.
Eraina Yaw, IOM Deputy Coordinator for the Caribbean, emphasized the importance of cooperation among the various organizations in developing a regional migration policy, and the benefits it may bring by “opening regular pathways for migration to enable citizens to pursue education, family reunification, entrepreneurship, access to specialized healthcare and, very importantly, access to labor markets for gainful employment that may otherwise be out of reach, while filling important skills and demographic gaps in the receiving country”. Ms. Yaw underscored “the importance of connecting international cooperation on migration to reducing vulnerabilities, ensuring the protection of human rights and promoting sustainable development”.
The discussions resulted in the formation of thematic advisory groups and a draft roadmap for the next 12 months, which includes the commitment to multi-lateral cooperation for further research, to advocate for resources and to engage CARICOM Member States in the process. Overall, the workshop ended with a renewed CARICOM commitment to the development of the regional policy on migration based on a clear roadmap and steps to undertake in the months to come in partnership with other expert actors and UN agencies.
These efforts contribute to the achievement of the objectives 1 and 23 of the Global Compact for Migration, which seek to collect and utilize accurate and disaggregated data, as a basis for evidence-based policies, and to strengthen international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly and regular migration. This activity is part of technical support through IOM’s Western Hemisphere Program, with the generous support of the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).