The International Donors Conference, organized by the government of Canada, raised $ 954 million to help more than 5 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees.
On this occasion, the Conference had the participation of more than 30 countries and two development banks, and achieved the commitment of donors to contribute 1,554 million dollars to address the crisis. Of this amount, 954 million will be donations to help millions of Venezuelans who have been forced to leave the country.
Six new donor countries joined, such as Cyprus, Poland and Lithuania. While other nations, such as the United States, with about $ 400 million, and Canada with $ 93 million, increased their contributions.
In her speech, the Minister of International Development of Canada, Karina Gould, indicated that a program will be launched to follow up on this year’s promises. “With our actions we are telling the countries of the region, and the Venezuelan refugees and migrants that we are here to support them. We know that the response to this crisis cannot be left to the host countries alone. ‘
For his part, Antonio Vitorino, director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), asserted that the massive displacement of Venezuelans is an unprecedented crisis in the region. More and more Venezuelans are undertaking dangerous journeys to leave their country.
Although the challenges are numerous, Vitorino highlighted encouraging initiatives that have been taken in several countries, such as the Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelans in Colombia. He also demanded the inclusion of Venezuelan migrants and refugees in vaccination plans in host countries. A fundamental aspect for a successful fight against COVID-19 in the region. “We must recognize the relevance of having long-term solutions for integration and ongoing support for host communities,” he added.
Lack of resources affects response capacity
For her part, Inger Ashing, executive director of the Save the Children International program, asserted that the Regional Response Plan for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants has not been adequately funded. You only have access to a part of the resources that are required, affecting the response capacity. The most vulnerable populations, such as women, girls and boys, indigenous people, the LGBTI community, require these contributions, necessary to promote integration and strengthen durable solutions.
Peaceful solution for Venezuela
The participating countries agreed that the forced departure of millions of people from Venezuela has its origin in the political crisis that the country is going through, which predates the pandemic. They also recognized that COVID-19 aggravated the situation, for which they demanded equal treatment for Venezuelan migrants and refugees in health care and access to vaccines. As well as a peaceful, negotiated and electoral solution to the crisis. For their part, the host countries made important commitments to regularize migrants and refugees.
The urgency for humanitarian actors to be able to work in Venezuela in accordance with humanitarian principles was also emphasized. And it was also advocated for the cessation of pressure against organized civil society in Venezuela, so that they can continue to support the most vulnerable populations.
Juan Carlos Viloria Doria, president of the Coalition for Venezuela, indicated that the response must be as great as the challenges. This coalition, made up of more than 60 organizations in 20 countries, has served more than one million refugees and migrants in the last year. Counting for this with 10 thousand professionals and 13 thousand volunteers. More investment is required for health days to become permanent health centers, and for temporary permits to be replaced by flexible regularization plans, Viloria explained.