Ecuador - Making Migration Work for Sustainable Development


What do we do in Ecuador?

Ecuador experiences almost all known human mobility phenomena: daily cross-border mobility for work in Colombia and Peru; return of Ecuadorians; emigration to Latin America, Europe and the United States; and reception of immigrants and refugees from Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, amongst others. Socio-economic challenges, growing since the 2018 economic crisis and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, are linked to mobility, from xenophobic scapegoating of Venezuelans to hostility towards Ecuadorian returnees and difficulties for economic insertion of people in human mobility. At the height of the pandemic, 75% of migrants and refugees reported fearing that they would not be able to meet their basic needs for survival, as reported by the United Nations rapid joint needs assessment from March 2020. 

Given these challenges to socio-economic integration, the Programme’s two local-level projects, in Manta and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, focus on one priority sector: sustainable development through employment and socio-economic inclusion. Through capacity development on entrepreneurship and employment skills, promoting ethical recruitment and awareness raising, as well as developing online marketplaces, online municipal job banks and co-working spaces, migrants and refugees, youth and local community members will have enhanced access to gainful employment and decent work opportunities. The Programme works to meet the needs of the two target local municipalities, who will manage the aforementioned online and physical spaces and are full partners in the design and implementation of activities. Click on the buttons below to learn more about our projects in Ecuador. 

The Programme’s work promoting employment for people in human mobility and community members is enhanced through engagement with the diaspora and private sector. For example, a mapping of the private sector, both across Ecuador and in the two target localities, found that 76% of private companies were highly interested to work with migrants and refugees. Partnerships with these companies will develop vocational and skills development opportunities for migrants and community members, raise awareness of ethical recruitment practices, and foster financial inclusion and anti-xenophobia campaigns. Similarly, the Programme’s mapping identified Ecuadorian diaspora members and organizations in the United States, Italy and Spain, the three countries of more concentration for diaspora members. This study allowed local municipalities to create tools for enhancing diaspora members’ capacities for entrepreneurship and better use of remittances, enhancing consultation mechanisms between themselves and diaspora and migrants’ associations, building connections and coordinating on potential investment opportunities. 

In line with its local approach, the Programme provides targeted capacity building support to its two partner municipalities, particularly on integrating migration considerations into their development planning, through their Territorial Development and Management Plans (PDyOTs) and local public policies and programs. In line with the update of Ecuador’s Human Mobility Organic Law, the Programme will update the government’s mandatory human mobility training for policymakers, developed during the Programme’s earlier phase. The Programme further builds these competencies through training on migration mainstreaming and data management (building on an updated Migration Governance Indicators assessment), sustainable reintegration and the linkage between migration and the Programme’s priority sectors on education, employment, health and social security and human rights. For example, the Programme piloted training on integrating migration into PDyOTs on urban development and employment, developed by the Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development (MMICD) project with the consortium of provincial governments of Ecuador. 

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image of a person in a training in Santo Domingo, Ecuador

With these enhanced capacities, local governments will be able to better implement migration and sustainable development planning, in coordination with the national government. The Programme’s technical assistance, through tools and guidance on coordination and implementing migration policies at the local level, will ensure that both the national and local governments are able to coordinate on policymaking and planning. For example, by developing Action Plans and monitoring and evaluation frameworks for both local and national policies and programmes, the governments will ensure that their efforts are coherent and aligned to maximize progress towards sustainable development. 

Ecuador’s migration and sustainable development successes are showcased both within the Programme and in regional and global fora. It has presented its diaspora and private sector mapping findings in internal Programme webinars, sharing knowledge and learning from the 10 other Programme countries. Ecuador is also engaged in and promoted the Quito Process on the mobility of Venezuelan citizens and recently presented its experiences in a VNR Lab, organized by the UN Network on Migration during the 2021 High-Level Political Forum on the 2030 Agenda. 

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