– The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcome the pledges made today, amounting to USD 1.5 billion, including USD 954 million in grants, during the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants.
The virtual conference, convened by the Government of Canada, in collaboration with IOM and UNHCR as co-leaders of the Inter-agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), raised awareness and funds for the 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are home to 4.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country.
“We are at a critical juncture,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, addressing the conference attendees.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean with particular ferocity, at a time when they struggle to respond to the world’s second largest displacement of people outside their country. Of the 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide, 4.6 million remain in the region.
“The responsibility of protecting and assisting the Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and the communities that host them, cannot lie only with the countries of the region. It must be shared by the wider international community,” Grandi said.
The additional financial support pledged today will allow States and humanitarian organizations to continue providing emergency assistance and lifesaving aid to Venezuelans most in need and their host communities, while also finding long-term solutions.
“Funding both the humanitarian response to people in need as well as increasing support for socio-economic integration must remain a priority,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.
“Refugees and migrants contribute greatly to the economic, social, and cultural life of host societies. We encourage any effort that allows them opportunities to thrive,” Vitorino said.
Faced with the largest population outflow in Latin America’s recent history and the adverse socio-economic effects of COVID-19, countries in the region have demonstrated ongoing willingness to respond to this crisis, including through regularization and facilitating access to health and social services.
In such a context, the active participation and strong support of development banks in the Conference is particularly welcome.
Today’s pledging conference follows the commitment made during last year’s Donors’ Conference convened by the European Union and Spain to mobilize additional funding for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, as well as for host communities and countries.
The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) funding requirements in 2021 amount to USD 1.44 billion to provide humanitarian assistance, protection and solutions through 159 partners to Venezuelan refugees and migrants and host communities facing the greatest needs.