Strengthening Local Government Responses to Migration in Colombia

In Colombia, IRI has supported local officials to respond to the impacts of increased migration from Venezuela on border communities and budgets. Colombia continues to face intense pressure to manage the myriad issues presented by widespread migration. Often this pressure is felt most acutely by local government officials trying to support migrants to navigate unfamiliar and sometimes confusing legal and administrative processes, government services, and economic opportunities. Meanwhile, local government officials are also trying to improve migrants’ integration into the local social fabric and manage tensions between migrants and host communities.

Recognizing that local government officials in Colombia needed clear, practical resources and consultative support to tackle these governance challenges, IRI developed a toolkit outlining municipal-specific resources and strategic action items to address the needs of migrant populations. Last year, IRI convened a summit, “Café por la Integración,” for 52 local and national government officials as well as international actors such as the United National High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

During this summit, IRI established an expert working group to help guarantee academic resources and socio-emotional support for migrant children, increase funding and resources for nutritional programs, and provide better access to employment opportunities. Only two weeks later, and independently of IRI, Valledupar’s government formed a Migration Working Group, Mesa Migratoria, modeled on one established during the IRI-hosted “Café por la Integracion.” The working group, led by local officials, oversees implementation of recommendations from national officials, international organizations, and local CSOs. IRI is proud to have seeded a replicable working group model to help Colombia’s local government officials address the critical governance issue of migration.

Up ArrowTop