Spanish Cooperation Joins IOM in Latin America Supporting Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela

Refugees and migrants from Venezuela receive assistance upon arrival at the Temporary Migrant Attention Center in Villa del Rosario, Norte de Santander in Colombia. Photo: IOM Colombia

Geneva— The International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcomes the EUR 5 million contribution made this week by the Spanish Agency for International Development and Cooperation (AECID). This funding will support the pressing needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the main host communities in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, as well as vulnerable populations in Venezuela.

The partnership between IOM and AECID is the first from the Spanish Cooperation to support the 2020 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response (RMRP). Today, more than 4.6 million Venezuelans—80 per cent of some 5.4 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants who live outside their country—reside in 17 Latin America or Caribbean states.

Mitigating the effects on migrants and refugees from Venezuela and their host communities and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable is a priority for Spanish Cooperation, particularly amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“Spanish Cooperation – through AECID – is working to improve the conditions of Venezuelans, as well as the host communities, since 2017,” said Magdy Martínez Soliman, Director of AECID. “These efforts intensified in 2020 through a commitment to allocate EUR 50 million to the Venezuelan Situation over three years and is made possible thanks to various partnerships, among which this collaboration with IOM stands out as strategically important.” This contribution aims to strengthen and foster socio-economic integration, education and health systems in communities grappling with the adverse effects of COVID-19. Funding also will support regional coordination efforts and civil society organizations.

“The global health emergency has intensified the severe challenges faced by refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the region,” said Diego Beltrand, Special Envoy of the IOM Director General for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation.

“We are honoured to combine our efforts with Spanish Cooperation in the areas of socio-economic integration, strengthening health systems, and improving access to education in host countries.” .

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased their vulnerabilities, IOM’s Beltrand added, causing many to lose their livelihoods and ability to cover basic needs such as shelter, food or healthcare. Many refugees and migrants from Venezuela, especially those in an irregular situation, have been left out of health and social welfare programmes.

This pledge comes as a result of last May’s International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, which mobilized support for those affected by one of the largest displacement crises in the world, now exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Regional Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (Response for Venezuelans, R4V), co-led by IOM and UNHCR in close coordination with national and local authorities, and with WHO-PAHO leading the health sector response, developed a comprehensive and COVID-19 focused review of the RMRP, which has a financial requirement of USD 1.4 billion to cover a broad range of activities in 17 countries.

For more information, please contact Bryan Brennan at the IOM Office of the Special Envoy for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation, Tel: +507 6379 9450,  Email:

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