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The Right to Development in Places of Origin is the Solution so that Migration is an Option, Not an Obligation: ECLAC

In a ceremony led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Executive Secretary of the UN regional commission, Alicia Bárcena, presented to Mexico a proposal for the El Salvador-Guatemala-Honduras-Mexico Comprehensive Development Plan.

20 May 2019|Press Release

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From right to left, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary; Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico; Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC's Executive Secretary, and Maximiliano Reyes, Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean.
From right to left, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Secretary; Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico; Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC's Executive Secretary, and Maximiliano Reyes, Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Photo: ECLAC.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) presented to Mexico today its proposal for the El Salvador-Guatemala-Honduras-Mexico Comprehensive Development Plan, at a ceremony led by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations regional commission, Alicia Bárcena.

The proposal stems from the mandate that ECLAC was given on December 1, 2018 by the Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, to draft a Comprehensive Development Plan with the aim of formulating a diagnosis and presenting recommendations to advance toward a new development pattern and give rise to a new vision regarding the complexity of migratory processes.

The presentation was made at a ceremony held at the National Palace in which participants also included Mexico’s Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard; the Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean, Maximiliano Reyes; and the Ambassadors in Mexico of El Salvador, Juan Ramón Carlos Cáceres; of Guatemala, Nelson Olivero; and of Honduras, Alden Rivera.

Other attendees included Mexico’s representatives in El Salvador, Ricardo Cantú; in Guatemala, Romeo Ruiz; and in Honduras, David Jiménez.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador affirmed that the Comprehensive Development Plan "is really important for Mexico and the brother countries of Central America because it addresses the heart of the problem".

"As it has been said very clearly, based on arguments and data, people emigrate out of necessity, lack of job opportunities or violence, and we have to address these causes, we have to go to the origin of what is provoking this migratory phenomenon," he said.

The president added that cooperation is essential for development, and stressed that, with the implementation of the initiative, "we are going to address the causes of the migratory phenomenon and we are going to temper the migratory flows with all that this entails, so that people do not suffer, so that human rights are respected.

During her presentation, Alicia Bárcena stressed that the Comprehensive Development Plan is an opportunity to strengthen the historic ties between participating countries, to place the analysis of migratory issues and related policies within the broad framework of development so that, through more just, egalitarian and sustainable societies, migration can be an option and not the only alternative at hand.

 The senior United Nations official affirmed that the Plan’s objective is to generate a comprehensive and articulated development process with equality and sustainability at the center to substantially improve the population’s quality of life and, in this framework, address the migratory cycle with a focus on integration, with a territorial approach and by adopting the framework of human security, placing the right to development in places of origin at the center of these efforts.

The strategic document proposes a changed vision for countries that approaches mobility as a matter of human security that encompasses human rights, public safety and defense, and the means of livelihood for people, instead of addressing it as a phenomenon of State security or national security.

“This initiative is, to date, the most comprehensive effort on a global scale to put the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration into effect, and it constitutes an extraordinary opportunity to forge a new development pattern with equality and sustainability starting in the region,” ECLAC’s most senior representative stated.

Bárcena recognized these four countries for taking inspiration from the region’s best diplomatic traditions, in particular for embracing as their own the spirit of the Contadora and Esquipulas peace agreement processes with their emphases on peace, development, regional integration, multilateralism, international cooperation and respect for the sovereignty of States.

In addition, she expressed gratitude for the participation of the UN agencies, funds and programs that contributed to the document’s content.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that the proposal "is a roadmap that tells us what we have to do to change the social and economic reality of southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador”.

"This Integral Development Plan includes all the facets that must be taken into account for social welfare, so our countries attain not only economic growth but also social development," he said.

The Comprehensive Development Plan offers 30 recommendations in relation to the four programmatic pillars agreed upon by the four countries: economic development, social well-being, environmental sustainability and risk management, and the comprehensive management of the migratory cycle with human security.

The recommendations are aimed at achieving greater and sustained economic growth; reinforcing the demand for integration of the four countries in terms of trade, energy and logistics; jointly managing risks and responses to disasters and climate change; advancing on the forging of universal social protection systems; and addressing the structural causes and effects of human mobility – all of this with the aim of furthering a new development pattern in the four countries that accelerates the outcomes set forth in the 2030 Agenda.