Global Compact for Refugees - UNHCR

Central America and Mexico

The Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS)

Building on existing regional cooperation and responsibility-sharing, including the Brazil Plan of Action and the San Jose Action Statement, 6 States – Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama – adopted the San Pedro Sula Declaration on October 26, 2017, agreeing to work together in the ongoing development and implementation of a Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS in its Spanish acronym).
The MIRPS is a pioneering initiative in the application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (Annex 1 of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants) and a concrete contribution to the Global Compact on Refugees.

State-led process, multiple actors, Pro Tempore Presidency

The MIRPS is a State-led initiative, supported by UNHCR together with the wider UN system, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American Integration System (SICA) and a range of different cooperating States and actors. [1] The MIRPS is the result of an extensive consultation process that translated national priorities and commitments into comprehensive and detailed national plans. The MIRPS constitutes a regional cooperation framework between countries of origin, transit, and destination, that promotes shared responsibility mechanisms, strengthens protection, and enhances solutions for refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and returnees with protection needs. This regional process is also a clear expression of collaboration between governments, civil society, private sector, academia, regional and international organizations and development banks. The MIRPS serves as a practical tool to mobilize the support of the international community.

As agreed during the first annual follow-up meeting, the first online meeting among MIRPS countries took place at the end of January 2019. During the meeting, the presidency term was discussed to select the first country assuming the role for the year to allow MIRPS countries to develop programmes that foster regional cooperation and generate support for the implementation of regional plans. Mexico was then elected as the first MIRPS president for 2019.

Under the leadership of Mexico’s Pro Tempore Presidency, a 2019 plan of action was laid out and adopted by all MIRPS countries prioritizing the identification of best practices on reducing the backlog in case reviews, enhancing the participation of all sectors to promote local integration, and to strengthen the collaboration with development actors. Similarly, MIRPS countries agreed upon updating and quantifying their national MIRPS plans, ahead of the Global Refugee Forum and the Solidarity Conference to be held in December 2019.

National action plans and regional cooperation 

The National Action Plans identify specific programmes and prioritized actions, as well as the corresponding resources needed to strengthen the national and international protection systems and promote comprehensive and sustainable solutions. The MIRPS also puts forward action plans by 15 regional and international organizations, including both SICA and the OAS, which complement the national chapters by proposing cross-border, coordinated programmes and initiatives. Further, the MIRPS includes ten cooperating States that have committed to actively support the MIRPS, identifying specific areas they will support through financial assistance and technical cooperation. In line with the spirit of the Brazil Plan of Action, four States from South America participate in this shared responsibility mechanism, as an example of South-South cooperation.

The United Nations Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), together with the Resident Coordinators of countries in the region, is developing a comprehensive approach aimed at significantly reducing levels of violence by 2030. The United Nations Joint Initiative is focused on prevention, protection, law enforcement and access to justice. Work is also underway to develop a violence reduction index, a strategic approach to support countries in addressing chronic violence, and a roadmap to encourage and increase flexible funding.

Major achievements

The MIRPS has been developed through government-led consultations with all stakeholders, including persons of concern, UN country teams, civil society, the private sector and academia acquiring a whole-of-society approach. Regional networks and organizations complement the national action plans and set up regional and global responsibility-sharing mechanisms to bring a regional dimension to the MIRPS.

    • As a direct result of the MIRPS, profiling exercises were undertaken in Belize, Honduras and Panama to identify persons with protection needs, including IDPs, which also provided important baseline data for programme development.
    • In Costa Rica, refugees and asylum-seekers have equal access to employment, and refugees living in vulnerable circumstances are now included in government-led welfare programmes.
    • Guatemala adopted a new migration code, which included provisions for refugees, and is setting up a new migration authority with increased focus on human rights. The protection of unaccompanied children was strengthened by increasing the capacity of the Guatemalan General Attorney’s Office and improving the infrastructure of reception centres.
    • Honduras created a dedicated Directorate for the protection and attention of IDPs within the new Ministry of Human Rights. A project for the protection of abandoned land was launched, and a draft law on IDPs is being considered by the National Congress.
    • With support from the private sector, steps have been taken to locally integrate refugees and enhance employment opportunities in the different asylum countries.
    • The Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) began to issue a temporary population registration number for asylum-seekers, granting them access to formal employment, health care, education and other public and private services. As of August 2018, nearly 1500 asylum-seekers and refugees were released from detention with the support of UNHCR, in line with MIRPS commitments. Mexico has also taken steps to include refugees and asylum-seekers in the 2018 voluntary national review, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to the sustainable development goals.
    • Panama adopted a new decree to strengthen the asylum system and signed a protocol for the identification, referral and assistance of children in need of international protection.
    • A portfolio of 30 priority projects that dovetail with the longer-term operationalization of the three year national plans into joint programming and projects, engaging development partners and other key stakeholders has been developed. This initial investment aims to reinforce and promote the underlining partnerships that form the foundation of the MIRPS.
    • Although the MIRPS was initially conceptualized to respond to the NCA situation, the framework has proven to be adaptable to the regional situation, including the increasing number of Venezuelans and the influx of Nicaraguan refugees in the region.
    • United States, Canada, Australia and Uruguay have guaranteed their cooperation through expanding their countries quotas to the Protection Transfer Agreement (PTA). Argentina and Brazil have also have also expressed their commitment to participate in the PTA program in 2018.

Key documents

Follow-up mechanism

During the 48th session of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) General Assembly, held on June 5, 2018, its General Committee adopted a Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, presented by Mexico. The Resolution establishes an annual follow-up mechanism for the implementation of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework in Central America and Mexico, the MIRPS, with technical support from the OAS General Secretariat and UNHCR.

Reporting at regional level will be complemented by a national monitoring mechanism that intends to track national commitments for the period covering 2018-2020. The OAS is also setting up a MIRPS support group comprised of MIRPS countries and cooperating States and institutions to facilitate the cooperation among actors and the negotiation of such a follow-up mechanism. The group will help convene an annual progress review meeting on the MIRPS in 2018, one year after the adoption of the San Pedro Sula Declaration.

The Central American Council of Ombudspersons also met to agree on a concrete programme of action to support the MIRPS for the period of 2018-2020, including joint border monitoring and advocacy campaigns for forcibly displaced persons.

Operational and funding needs to deliver on a comprehensive response

A quantification of national priorities and review of national budgets is underway to ensure national ownership of the CRRF and will be followed by the identification of international cooperation’s needs. As part of their involvement in the MIRPS, the UNDP and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are providing support in this regard.

UNHCR’s budget under the NCA situation totals over USD 44.5 million for 2019. Check the Global Focus website for a funding update.

Regional contribution to the global compact on refugees

The countries and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean, assembled in Brasilia on 19 and 20 February 2018 to conduct the first triennial progress review on the implementation of the Brazil Plan of Action. As part of this review, preparatory meetings took place focusing on Quality of Asylum, the Eradication of Statelessness, Comprehensive Solutions with emphasis on Local Integration, Solidarity with the NCA countries, through the MIRPS, and Solidarity with the Caribbean. The 100 points of Brasilia constitutes the regional contribution to the Global Compact on Refugees. See the 100 Points of Brasilia (20 February 2018) here.

Regional and Thematic Consultations

Solidarity with the Northern Triangle of Central America (MIRPS) (26 October, 2017),  Eradication of Statelessness  report (2-3 November 2017), Comprehensive Solutions with emphasis on Local Integration report (2-3 November 2017), Quality of Asylum report (13-14 November 2017) and  Solidarity with the Caribbean report (4-6 December 2017)

These events took place thanks to the financial support of the European Union. Its resulting contents do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.


[1] The MIRPS application benefits from contributions of cooperating States, regional and international organizations and regional networks. Regional and international organizations and regional networks which function as cooperating actors are the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Secretariat of the Central American Social Integration System (SISCA), the Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Development Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDG LAC), the Resident Coordinators the UN System in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the Central American Council of Human Rights Ombudsmen, the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico, the Latin American and Caribbean Ecclesiastic Network of Migration, Displacement, Asylum and Human Trafficking (CLAMOR); the Regional Network of Civil Society Organizations for Migration; the RRCOM Regional Plan of Action as contribution to the MIRPS (through UNHCR and OAS); the Risk, Emergency and Disaster Working Group for Latin American and the Caribbean (REDLAC); the Specialized Regional Group of Academics who support the MIRPS (GREAT MIRPS); and the Integrarse Network (Corporate Social Responsibility).


Contact person in UNHCR RO Panama

Diana Diaz Rodriguez (

Hugues Van Brabandt (

Contact person in UNHCR Regional Bureau for the Americas 

Elisabet Diaz Sanmartin (

MIRPS countries: 


Costa Rica





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Americas Monthly Report – April 2019

Central America and Mexico | Updates
2 MB

This update provides an overview of key developments affecting the displacement situation in the Americas and some of UNHCR response activities in line with the 2019 strategic objectives for the region. KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA AND MEXICO

  • By the end of April, around 3,700 people have transited through the two main routes across Guatemala on their way to Mexico. Around the same number have registered with Mexican authorities to apply for the Regional Visitor Card at the International Hidalgo Bridge in the Guatemalan - Mexican border. In Mexico, Regional Visitor Cards that were traditionally foreseen for Guatemalan and Belize nationals have been extended to people from El Salvador and Honduras.
  • Since 12 April, up to 300 people daily arrived at the Guatemalan town of Tecun Uman aiming to cross into Mexico at the International Hidalgo Bridge. The majority were Hondurans (60%) and Cubans (30%). However other nationalities such as Nicaraguans, Salvadorians, Haitians and persons from Africa were also identified.
  • The detention facilities in the south of Mexico are overstretched. The Mexican Migration Authority (INM) opened alternative spaces in Tapachula State.

Published: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )
Uploaded: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )

UNHCR Panama - March 2019

Central America and Mexico Panama | Country/situation updates
222 KB

UNHCR works in close coordination with the Government, civil society, UN agencies and refugees and asylum-seekers in Panama. UNHCR has established partnership agreements with different national and international organizations , including the Norwegian Refugee Council, RET, HIAS, the Human Mobility Pastoral (PMH) the Panamanian Red Cross, the refugee Education Trust (RET) and Programa Enlaces (Fundación Espacio Creativo). Also, a Partnership Agreement with the National Office for the Attention of Refugees (ONPAR) was established to channel support and continue strengthening the asylum system in the country. This Fact Sheet provides an overview of UNHCR's main activities in Panama

Published: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )
Uploaded: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )

UNHCR Guatemala - Fact Sheet April 2019

Central America and Mexico Guatemala | Country/situation updates
330 KB

Guatemala is a country of origin, transit, return and asylum for refugees and migrants. Given the multi-causality of displacement in the NCA, and the increasing number of persons transiting through Guatemala to seek protection, ensuring a safe and dignified transit is a key priority for the operation. This fact sheet provides an overview of UNHCR's main activities in Guatemala.

Published: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )
Uploaded: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )

MIRPS poster March - April 2019

Central America and Mexico | CRRF posters
6 MB

This poster provides an overview of the regional commitments, developments and next steps in applying the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (“MIRPS” in Spanish) in Central America and Mexico.

Published: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )
Uploaded: 3 April, 2018 (2 months ago )

2019 MIRPS Pro Tempore Presidency - Calendar

Central America and Mexico | CRRF road maps/action plans
22 KB

This document contains the activity plan laid out by the Mexican Pro Tempore Presidency for 2019.

Published: 3 April, 2018 (3 months ago )
Uploaded: 3 April, 2018 (3 months ago )

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