Data is an Ally and a Challenge for the Construction of Public Migration Policies: Main Conclusions of the Regional Forum on Statistics and Data on Migration.

"Behind data, there are people", this was one of the main ideas developed at the Regional Forum on Statistics and Migration Data held in the Dominican Republic last July 6, 7 and 8, 2022. This was a space in which governments and key actors from Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic explored new ways to measure human mobility and generate timely statistics to develop public policies in order to address the challenges of migration and take advantage of the opportunities offered by an orderly, safe and regular migration.

The demand for migration data and statistics is increasing, however, one of the challenges identified was that countries in the region have different capacities and limitations for capturing migration data. For instance, some countries use different methodologies and concepts that hinder the comparability of data at the regional level. As a result, there are limitations in inter-institutional and regional coordination to collect data, establish conceptual frameworks and indicators, and there is often duplication of information.

In response, the Forum promoted a regional dialogue through an exchange of experiences and created capacities in the collection, analysis and dissemination of migration data in order to jointly proposed solutions to create evidence-based decisions.

"Data must go from being a challenge to being an ally for the construction of public migration policies, since having reliable migration statistics and data is essential for efforts to respond to the specific realities, circumstances and needs of migrants and States. This is supported by the provisions established by the signatory States of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in objectives 1, 3 and 7, and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (objectives 10.7 and 17.8)" remarked Andrea Dabizzi of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Within the proposed lines of action, the need to generate a conceptual framework to gradually unify key concepts, strengthening the countries' capacities to include the migration variable in data collection instruments and provide support to countries on the importance of data disaggregation that responds to the specific migrant´s needs, protect their rights and reduce risks.

"The exchange of experiences and knowledge is key to strengthen the capacity of States and other actors to improve the evidence on migration at the national and regional level," highlights Raul Soto, Coordinator of the Migration Data Unit of the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. You can read the IOM Migration Data Strategy here.

Although the importance of data collection is being recognized in the region, there is still a need to raise awareness of the value of data and the importance of investing resources to generate it. As a result, periodic meetings were proposed in order to track the regional progress and challenges around migration data. Additional proposed measures include the implementation of intersectoral partnerships (private sector, academia and civil society) and closer support to the countries, not only in the design of instruments, but also in raising awareness of the importance of migration data.

"The Forum highlighted the need for a regional and inter-agency space to coordinate issues related to migration data and statistics, and we hope that by following up on the action points that were jointly developed we can strengthen the basis for this cooperation," said Estela Aragón, Regional Data and Research Officer of IOM's Western Hemisphere Program.

Additionally, the Regional Forum showed that it is necessary to innovate in the generation of information and data, so that they respond to the new ways in which people consume data. To address this need, it was proposed to facilitate access to administrative and other government data that would allow other key actors to create innovative information products that respond to the real needs of the region. The Forum concluded with the approval of a list of conclusions and a plan for future actions.

The activity Forum was carried out by IOM in partnership with the National Migration Institute (INM) and the National Statistics Office (ONE) in the Dominican Republic, with funding from the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the U.S. Department of State (PRM) and the technical support of the Migration Resource Allocation Committe (MIRAC) by OIM.

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