Following the guiding principles of the Brazil Declaration and Plan of Action, and as an initiative to support regional efforts to create alternatives in response to the increased protection needs in the North of Central America (NCA), the Government of Costa Rica, UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) signed a MoU in July 2016, to establish a Protection Transfer Mechanism, by which Costa Rica serves as a transit country for persons fleeing violence in the NCA region who had been already identified for resettlement to a third country.
Costa Rican participation in the PTA is not only a demonstration of strong regional solidarity, but also brings additional economic benefits to the host community where the PTA is implemented. Additionally, the PTA is in line with both the Brazil Plan of Action and the 2030 Agenda and its relevant SDGs. Their Local Integration Programme has been the key prioritised solution for refugees in Costa Rica ensuring their integration from early stages upon arrival in the country in a sustained manner.
Since 2014, two main UNHCR initiatives have been developed in coordination with the Government of Costa Rica, civil society, public and private sectors to promote access to labour market for refugees and to access livelihood projects for those refugees living in poverty. The first one is the “Living Integration” programme, a corporate social responsibility scheme that was created in partnership among the Migration Authority, the Chambers of Commerce, the Business Development Association, and UNHCR and partners. This strategic public-private sector alliance has benefitted almost 2,000 refugees and asylum claimants in livelihood, vocational training skills, coaching and job matching and placement schemes conducted with the private sector. The second initiative known as the Graduation Model has assisted hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers in becoming self-reliance through tailored livelihood programmes. On 20 June 2017, the “Living Integration” quality seal scheme has been launched to award public and private sectors, academia, and NGOs, that engaging in social corporative responsibility programmes than engage refugees and asylum seekers in their daily operations.