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 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
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.