By Caribbean News Global
OTTAWA, Canada – Canada convened the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration. The conference increased the international visibility of the second-largest displacement crisis in the world and mobilized additional resources to support the response.
“It has been a privilege for Canada to host this event, which demonstrates our continued commitment to respond to this crisis. We applaud the solidarity shown today by partners and donor countries and recognize the enormous efforts of host countries to mobilize opportunities for the millions of Venezuelans seeking new lives across the region,” said, Karina Gould, minister of international development.
Through videoconference, international donors pledged a total of USD $1.5 billion in funding, including USD $954 million in grants and USD $600 million in loans.
“Today’s Donors’ Conference is an excellent example of how the International Community, host countries, development banks, international organizations and civil society, are working together to help Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Predictable funding is paramount to provide life-saving assistance, protection and integration solutions to the most vulnerable refugees and migrants and the countries that receive them. We are proud to be part of this common effort,” said, Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants.
Within this amount, Canada pledged CAD $115.4 million announced by minister Gould. This funding will go toward immediate humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and protection for those affected by the crisis. It will also support longer-term development assistance to improve access to quality education and the integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as strengthen public services in host countries and communities.
“We are at a critical juncture. 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, 4.6 million are in the region. The responsibility of protecting and assisting them and the communities that host them cannot lie only with the countries of the region. It must be shared by the wider international community,” said, Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Host countries and donors, as well as civil society and private sector actors, reflected on progress made to date and identified future actions needed to maintain focus on the crisis. Crucially, participants heard directly from affected refugees and migrants, who shared their stories of hardship and hope.
“Funding both the humanitarian response to people in need as well as increasing support for socio-economic integration must remain a priority. 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,” said, António Vitorino, director-general, international organization for migration.