Today, the European Union and the Spanish Government convened the International Donors’ Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants and countries in the region, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
International donors pledged a total of €2.544 billion (of which €595 million in grants), with the European Union and its Member States mobilising €231.7 million in grant funding. The European Commission pledged €144.2 million for immediate humanitarian assistance, medium- and longer-term development assistance and conflict prevention interventions. The European Investment Bank announced €400 million in additional loans to the region.
High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said: “The European Union has never forgotten the Venezuelan people. Today we mobilised the international community to deliver further assistance to millions of displaced Venezuelans and those countries in Latin America that host them. I thank international donors for their generous pledges. Today we have also been able to bring back to the limelight one of the worst displacement crisis that the world has seen in recent history.”
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said:“The coronavirus pandemic threatens to worsen an already critical situation in the region. The EU’s humanitarian support will help focus on getting emergency assistance to around 5 million Venezuelans who have been forced to leave their homes.”
Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Our collective commitment demonstrates the importance of partnership around the world to tackle challenges such as the Venezuelan migration crisis, also amidst the coronavirus pandemic. We will pursue our efforts to cement the humanitarian-development nexus and build lasting partnerships for sustainable development.”
EU aid for Venezuelan refugees and migrants
Today’s funding from the European Union will focus on:
Development support of €70 million: to promote the socio-economic integration of Venezuelan migrants and refugees and supporting their host communities. Support will target the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on strengthening basic social services, particularly health; promoting economic opportunities; and shoring up food and nutrition security. This support will be distributed across the region, in particular to Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador, which host the majority of refugees and migrants. Humanitarian assistance of €67.7 million for immediate relief activities in the region, including border zones, to support refugees, internally displaced persons, host communities, and other vulnerable groups. Assistance will focus on health, protection, nutrition, education, water and sanitation and psychosocial support.
Over 50 stakeholders participated in the conference, along with United Nations Agencies, International Financial Institutions and representatives of national and international civil society.
This donor conference demonstrates the continued commitment of the EU to support and respond to the needs of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants and countries in the region. The EU and Spain with the support of UNHCR and the IOM called on the international community to intensify its support for humanitarian and development programmes in the region as well as for displaced populations.
These efforts should include the strengthening public services, including health and education systems in host countries. This conference follows up on the commitment made at the Solidarity Conference of October 2019 in Brussels to organise a donor conference as soon as possible.
Most of the additional EU funding resources will fit within the “Team Europe” financial package, through which the EU and its Member States, together with European financial institutions, have redirected over €20 billion to support EU partner countries globally in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, focusing on the most vulnerable, including migrants, refugees and host communities.
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