Since January 2020, the Government of El Salvador has had the honour of representing the countries of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework (MIRPS, by its Spanish acronym) as the Pro Tempore Presidency. We knew we were accepting a big challenge, but we were committed to continue to build on the progress made by the preceding Presidency and to a series of commitments taken on as a region in the first Global Refugee Forum at the end of 2019.
We started the year with a promising outlook, guided by a regional work plan focused on strengthening partnerships with various actors, and with the recent establishment of the Voluntary Fund for the MIRPS by the OAS and the shaping of the Support Platform as concrete spaces for help in our region.
However, at the end of the first quarter, the challenges faced by MIRPS countries worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to PAHO/WHO, out of the ten countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, five were in the Americas in June. In this context, asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees with protection needs faced new risks to their health, security, access to rights and resilience.
MIRPS countries lead our national responses under the core premise that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic must reach all people, including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and returnees with protection needs. In this regard, each technical team conducted an evaluation of their national commitments, establishing priorities for the use of their limited resources and to focus their efforts.
The Pro Tempore Presidency promoted the incorporation of new partners and promoted collaborations with donors interested in financially, technically and materially supporting the needs of MIRPS countries in compliance with their national and international commitments.
This III annual report compiles important progress in the implementation of national commitments in Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama and El Salvador in 2020. It also presents the proactive measures taken by MIRPS countries to include people who were forced to flee and those at risk in COVID-19 response plans, as well as those in social support programmes to relieve the economic impact that the pandemic and lockdown measures have had.
In addition, it highlights the regional and global developments in which MIRPS has positioned itself as a pioneering initiative to coordinate responses to common challenges, to position and raise visibility of the displacement crises that the region faces, and to share experiences and lessons learned that are critical to mutual growth.
Also, this report is a confirmation that the countries that are part of the MIRPS will continue to favour the creation of comprehensive solutions and shared responsibility coordinated responses to forced displacement in Central America and Mexico. In 2021 we will continue working with the Government of Guatemala as the incoming Pro-tempore Presidency, to create security and prosperity conditions in which people do not feel threatened, can grow without fear and are not forced to flee their homes due to violence.
MIRPS Pro-tempore Presidency, El Salvador