The IOM Regional Office in San Jose has the privilege of hosting the Technical Regional Secretariat of the Conference on Migration (RCM). IOM provides the Technical Secretariat with facilities for the management of resources, procurement and other types of technical support. In addition, at the request of the RCM Member countries, IOM provides technical cooperation to the conference. While the Technical Secretariat shares facilities with IOM, it functions as an independent and autonomous actor.
The Regional Conference on Migration (RRM) is an Intergovernmental forum, established in 1996 to support the dialogue on migratory issues and the exchange of ideas and experiences for joint reflection and cooperation on the matter. The RCM Member States are as follows: Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, United States of America, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Governments are represented by officials and staff of the ministries and departments of Foreign and Interior Affairs and Immigration or Justice Departments (depending on the country), the governing bodies responsible for design and implementation of national immigration policy and management of immigration services.
The RCM includes observers, government representatives and international agencies. The RCM observes but cannot participate in decision-making processes or in the elaboration of documents containing recommendations or commitments. The following are countries that currently have observer status in the RCM: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica and Peru. International observer organizations include: the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations /Caribbean Latin American Center and Demographics(ECLAC/CELADE); the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); the International Organization for Migration (IOM), special UN representative for migrants’ rights; the General Secretariat of the Ibero-American Conference (SEGIB); the System of Central American Integration (SICA); the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The role of the international organizations in the RCM is to support the implementation of the projects that governments determine, provide information on the state of affairs on topics of interest and technical advice and recommendations on specific aspects.
The RCM holds an annual meeting of Deputy Ministers, which takes place in the territory of the Member country that exercises the Presidency Pro Tempore (PPT), acting as host and organizer. Each Vice-Ministerial meeting receives a number according to the order of preparation. The first Regional Conference on Migration was held in 1996 in Puebla, Mexico. During Vice-Ministerial meetings, RCM policy decisions are made and the forum goals, functions, tasks, doctrinal bases and aspirations are discussed. Decisions are made behind closed doors by the Deputy Ministers of the Member countries and are recorded in press releases and statements issued following each annual meeting.
Group on Regional Consultation on Migration (GRCM)
GRCM is a non-political dialog and discussion of the RCM that brings together representatives and technicians of the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Services, which are represented at the Vice-Ministerial level. The GRCM does not have powers to decide on the goals, functions, doctrine or aspirations of the RCM. Instead, the GRCM has the power to make recommendations that will be reviewed by the Deputy Ministers in relevant meetings that the latter holds annually, or through consultations performed between meetings. This group also monitors the implementation of activities and progress according to the Plan of Action of the RCM.
The GRCM holds two meeting throughout the year. In the days before each Vice-Ministerial meeting, the GRCM carries out a preparatory meeting, which is devoted to clarifying and refining the components of the subsequent Vice-ministerial meeting that includes programing, scheduling and documents. Vice-Ministerial meetings take place during the second quarter of each year.
GRCM mid-term meetings are held during the last quarter of each year, usually in the territory of the country that served as host of the most recent Vice-Ministerial meeting. During these meetings, the GRCM focuses its attention on the following tasks:
- Examining the progress made toward fulfilling commitments that the deputy had made that year and reflecting on the decisions made.
- Reviewing the actions and efforts taken throughout the implementation of the updated Action Plan approved by Deputy Ministers that year.
- Discussing and eventually approving the agenda for the upcoming year Vice-Ministerial meeting and providing recommendations to be submitted for consideration in the following Deputy Ministers meeting.
The agenda and provided recommendations will be reviewed during the GRCM meeting preluding the Vice-Ministerial meeting.
Technical Secretariat of the RCM
The Technical Secretariat (TS) carries out its activities in support of the actions of the RCM in accordance with the following terms of reference prepared by IOM and approved by the Vice-Ministers during the VI RCM:
- The TS will receive general orientation of policies and will be supervised by the Pro-Tempore Presidency (PPT) of the RCM. The TS will provide the RCM with logistic and technical support to contribute to its effective and efficient operation.
The TS will offer its support to the RCM through the PPT in accordance with the mechanisms of rotation established by the RCM and in accordance with the following guidelines:
- Provide technical and logistic support for the planning, organization and realization of the RCM conferences, meetings of the GRCM and seminars, workshops, trainings and any other event agreed upon within the framework of the RCM.
- Collaborate on the monitoring of activities outlined in the RCM Plan of Action. .
- Prepare background documents for the RCM meetings upon request.
- Maintain a database and provide needed input to the Pro-Tempore Presidency on the RCM Plan of Action on an ongoing basis.
- Cooperate in the maintenance and continuous operation of the RCM’s Virtual Secretariat (VS)
- Prepare periodic reports on its activities to be submitted to the Presidency Pro Tempore and the Regional Representative of IOM in San Jose, in preparation for the biannual meetings of the GRCM.