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greatseal Regional Conference on Migration -- Virtual Secretariat
Fact Sheet released by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
U.S. Department of State, March 21, 2000
bluebar The idea of utilizing Internet technology to facilitate communication among member states of the Regional Conference on Migration came into focus during a meeting of the Regional Consultative Group -- the technical working group of the Regional Conference on Migration -- in Gananoque, Canada, and was approved by the Vice-Ministers in San Salvador in January 1999.

The Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) Virtual Secretariat was successfully launched on the Internet by the Government of El Salvador on February 29, 2000. The new website allows the (RCM) member states of Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the United States to stay current on issues between formal meetings of the Regional Consultative Group and Regional Conference on Migration.

The Virtual Secretariat, as most websites on the Internet, is constantly being updated. It has two parts: one for the private use of designated users from member states of the Regional Conference on Migration and the other for public access to news about RCM events and proceedings.

The public access part is available in Spanish and English. It can be accessed by typing in the following URLs: www.crmsv.org (Spanish) and www.rcmvs.org (English).

The Virtual Secretariat is an example of an inter-governmental effort in close cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The computer servers for the project reside permanently at the Foreign Ministry of El Salvador. El Salvador contributed one server; the International Organization for Migration (IOM) purchased another server for the project with U.S. Government funding provided by the State Department -- Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

While every member state of the Regional Conference on Migration has actively supported the development of the project, certain countries, in addition to El Salvador, deserve special recognition:

  • Canada worked closely with IOM and El Salvador and contributed many ideas for the structure and content of the Virtual Secretariat.

  • Costa Rica took the lead in getting support together to begin the project at the ad hoc meeting in San Jose.

  • The Dominican Republic played an active role in the Technical Group and was instrumental in getting the Group together for a second meeting last October.

  • Mexico helped to shape both the appearance and the content of the Virtual Secretariat and actively supported it from the very beginning.

  • The United States provided funding for the purchase of computer hardware and software, and training, which enabled member states to participate more actively in the Virtual Secretariat.
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