WASHINGTON, United States, Wednesday May 8, 2019 – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a multi-million-dollar special grant facility to support operations that help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean integrate migrants into local communities and contribute to their development.
It said the initiative is in response to “unprecedented and sudden intraregional migration flows” impacting countries in the region.
The IDB said it will use the grant facility in combination with economic and social development loan operations to help receiving countries provide better access to health, education, housing, security, and other services in communities struggling to integrate new arrivals.
Under the initiative which was approved by the Board of Governors yesterday, the IDB said it will provide US$100 million from its facility, with additional resources expected to be provided by the donor community. Those grant funds will be combined with regular IDB loan operations of US$800 million.
Antoni Estevadeordal, the Special Advisor at the IDB who coordinates the initiative, said it will help local and national governments implement comprehensive development programmes that facilitate the social integration of migrants into communities, so that they can actively contribute to their overall well-being.
“In a nutshell, the Bank wants to help turn this challenge into an inclusive development opportunity for our region,” he said.
“Latin America has welcomed migrants throughout its history, and indeed many communities have shown great generosity and solidarity in receiving families who often arrive in desperate conditions.
“Over time, migrants can help make communities more dynamic and prosperous. However, if not adequately managed the short term, these inflows can strain public services and fiscal budgets, impact labour markets, and generate political tensions,” Estevadeordal added.
Since 2015, 3.5 million migrants from Venezuela have crossed to other countries in the region, and the UN projects that by the end of 2019 there will be 5.4 million Venezuelans living in another country in Latin America and the Caribbean. Initially, neighbouring countries received the bulk of the migration, but limited opportunities have forced Venezuelan migrants into other countries. Additionally, migration flows from Haiti, Nicaragua and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America are also accelerating, posing a challenge to public service delivery and underscoring the need for an regional response to the migration crisis.
The IDB’s grant facility was created in 2007 for dealing with special circumstances arising in specific countries or projects. It has supported investments in Haiti so far and now has been expanded to include support for countries dealing with sudden and massive migration inflows.