UNHCR – UNHCR and IOM celebrate international community’s commitment to mobilize funds for Venezuelan refugees and migrants

A young Venezuelan child living with his family in Panama, where they fled to escape persecution. © UNHCR / Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo

UNHCR, United Nations Refugee Agency and International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcome pledges made today of $ 1.5 billion, including $ 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 UNHCR and IOM as co-leaders of the Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), raised awareness and to finance the 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean which are home to 4.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country.

“We are at a critical juncture,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi addressing conference participants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean with particular ferocity, as they struggle to respond to the world’s second largest displacement of people outside of their countries. Of the 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the world, 4.6 million remain in the region.

“The responsibility to protect and assist Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as the communities that host them, cannot rest solely with the countries of the region. It must be shared by the international community at large, ”said Grandi.

The additional financial support pledged today will allow states and humanitarian organizations to continue providing emergency and life-saving aid to Venezuelans most in need and their host communities, while finding long-term solutions.

“Funding both the humanitarian response to people in need and increasing support for socio-economic integration must remain a priority,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“Refugees and migrants greatly contribute to the economic, social and cultural life of host societies. We encourage all efforts that allow them to flourish, ”said Vitorino.

Confronted with the largest population exodus in recent Latin American history and the negative socio-economic effects of COVID-19, the countries of the region have shown a constant desire to respond to this crisis, in particular by regularizing 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 pledge conference follows on from the pledge made at last year’s donors’ conference organized by the European Union and Spain to mobilize additional funds for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, as well as for communities and host countries.

The 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) funding needs amount to US $ 1.44 billion to provide humanitarian assistance, protection and solutions through 159 partners to refugees and Venezuelan migrants and host communities facing the greatest needs.

More information on the International Conference of Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean can be found here.

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