IOM and OCAM

Image OCAM Meanning

Introduction

IOM has the honour to carry out the role of Technical Secretariat of the Central American Commission of Migration Directors (OCAM). As the Technical Secretariat, IOM provides advice and collaborates with the member countries of OCAM and their actions and initiatives that focus on the improvement of migration management. IOM also provides logistic support with agreements made in meetings and events of OCAM.

 

Background

The Central American Commission of Migration Directors- OCAM- (an abbreviation that was developed within the first few meetings of the Commission) began in October of 1990, in San Jose, Costa Rica, per request of Central American Presidents through the Central American Plan of Economic Action (PAECA).

OCAM was first created in response to the growing need to facilitate the transit of persons throughout the countries of the region while recognizing that migration is vital to the integration of Central America.

The organization was also built to address the need for effective answers to the common issues surrounding migration. Since its inception, OCAM has promoted actions in the following areas: the collection and analyzing of migratory data, capacity building on migration management, the modernization of the management of migration, implementation of migration tools and procedures, the coordination of entrance requirements for migrants, humanitarian return, the safe and orderly movement of regional and extra regional migrants, and the fight against human trafficking and the migrant smuggling.

The objective of OCAM is to support a regional mechanism that addresses migration issues in Central America. Accordingly, OCAM emerged from the Central American Integration System (SICA) and at its inception, the institution head of the Technical Secretariat was the Economic Integration Secretariat of Central America (SIECA). Since January of 1999, IOM assumed the role as the Technical Secretariat of OCAM, in accordance with the General Secretariat of SICA, to support the regional migratory activities implemented by the Commission.

The OCAM Plan of Action focuses on 3 main areas: Policies and Management of Migration; Human Rights; Migration and Development.

The axes of OCAM projects are:

  • » Legislation: legal framework, agreements, manuals, glossaries of terms, national and international legislation, political mechanisms to achieve method stability, regularization of programs.
  • » Information Systems: technology platforms, software and hardware, exchange of information, information collecting procedures, collection and analyzing of migration data, pre-screeening, coordination of “invisible” migration structures and Advanced Passenger Information Systems (APIS).
  • » Human Rights: the fight against and prevention of migrant smuggling and human trafficking, safe repatriation ande return, return, of regional and extra regional migrants, protection of victims.
  • » Safety: protection, surveillance, prevention, modernization of migration management, strengthening of borders, and integrated controls.
  • » Infrastructure: unification, technological improvements, modernization, sanitization of border zones.
  • » Travel Documents: Central American passports, entrance and return cards, vehicle documentation, card of residency, boarding cards,special passes for coast arrivals.
  • » Cooperation:projects, trainings, investigations, technical and financial assistance.
  • » Work: Labour migration
  • » Procedures: schedules, stays, revenue, integrated border controls, coordination of document requirements for migrants, collections of migration fees, procedures, documentation, instrument implementation and common procedures.
  • » Political:Commitment, declarations, agreements, regulations, approval of regional migratory acts.

Highlighted undersigned agreements of OCAM (2007-2013):

  1.  Deed of Agreement of the XV Special Meeting of OCAM, Honduras, 2007.
  2.  Deed of Agreement of the XVI Special Meeting of OCAM, United States, 2007.
  3.  Deed of Agreement of the XXVII Routine OCAM Meeting, Belize, 2007.
  4.  Deed of Agreement of the XXVIII Routine OCAM Meeting, Panama, 2007.
  5.  Deed of Agreement of the XXIX Routine OCAM Meeting, Costa Rica, 2008
  6.  Deed of Agreement of the XXX Routine OCAM Meeting, Guatemala, 2009.
  7.  Deed of Agreement of the XVII Special Meeting of OCAM, Costa Rica, 2009
  8.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXI Routine OCAM Meeting, El Salvador, 2010.
  9.  Deed of Agreement of the XVIII Special Meeting of OCAM, El Salvador, 2010.
  10.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXII Routine OCAM Meeting, Honduras, 2010.
  11.  Deed of Agreement of the XIX Special Meeting of OCAM, Guatemala, 2010.
  12.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXIII Routine OCAM Meeting, El Salvador, 2011.
  13.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXIV Routine OCAM Meeting, Nicaragua, 2011.
  14.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXV Routine OCAM Meeting, El Salvador, 2011.
  15.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXVI Routine OCAM Meeting, Costa Rica, 2012.
  16.  Deed of Agreement of the XX Special Meeting of OCAM, Costa Rica, 2013.
  17.  Deed of Agreement of the XXXVII Routine OCAM Meeting, Honduras, 2013.
  18.  Deed of Agreement of the XXI Special Meeting of OCAM, Nicaragua, 2013.
  19.  Deed of Agreement of the XLII Special Routine OCAM Meeting, Panama, 2016.

OCAM Structure

  • » Board of Directors: Composed by the Directors of Immigration Services of Central America as representatives of member countries:
    1. Department of Immigration and Nationality Services, Belize
    2. Commissioner of Migration, Guatemala
    3. General Directorate of Migration, El Salvador
    4. General Directorate of Migration, Honduras
    5. General Directorate of Migration, Nicaragua
    6. General Directorate of Migration, Costa Rica
    7. National Service of Migration, Panama
  • » Presidency Pro Tempore: represents OCAMs Board of Directors, this post is assumed by each member country of OCAM for the duration of 1 year, on a rotating basis and by geographic order.
  • » Technical Secretariat: in charge of IOM, delegated by SG-SICA, the Secretariat has the specific role described above and act as the orientation body for OCAM.
  • » General Secretary for the Central American Integration System: is in charge of ensuring that OCAM maintains a significant role in migratory issues in the Central American Integration System and guarantees its sustainability and political strength and that legal agreements are upheld.
  • » The Technical Permanent Commission : During its XVI ordinary meeting, OCAM created its Technical Permanent Commission (CTP) that has been shaped by the technical personnel of the Migration Directorates and Services of the region. Its objective is the development of actions linked with the analysis, activities and other technical aspects in the field of migration that require specific permanent actions between member countries.
  • » The Technical Commission on Information Technology : During the XI special OCAM meeting the need for a Technical Commission on Information Technology (CTI) was addressed. It was decided that this Commission will ; be made up of the heads of information of Directorates of Migration of the region, or their representatives, CTI responsibilities include consultation on information technology, the completion of studies and above all the contribution to the Project on regional migratory management.
  • » Countries and observer states: Currently the National Institute of Migration, Mexico (INAMI), participates permanently as an observer of OCAM and is committed to the effort of strengthening migratory management in the region.