Intervention of IOM Director General, António Vitorino, at the Launch of the 2021 Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela
Good morning. I would like to begin by greeting and thanking Ministers Claudia Blum, Karina Gould and Elizabeth Astete as well as my colleague, High Commissioner Filippo Grandi; with whom I am pleased to share this inaugural panel, and everyone present.
It is an honour to address you on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, in a year that has presented unexpected challenges for all of humanity. In this adverse scenario, the Platform has once again proven to be an innovative mechanism for coordinating and articulating the humanitarian response in the region.
I would also like to acknowledge the role of our Joint Special Representative, Dr. Eduardo Stein, in promoting dialogue and consensus at the highest level.
Our projections for the RMRP 2021 indicate a target population of 3.3 million migrants and refugees and financial needs of $ 1.44 billion. An increase in the total number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees, more irregularity and greater vulnerability of the Venezuelan population leaving their country is expected, with special affectation of women and girls, boys and adolescents.
In 2021, the strategic efforts will continue to focus on regularization, protection, humanitarian assistance and integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of migrants and refugees have lost their sources of income, have been evicted and have been exposed to street situations.
In receiving countries, important efforts are made to integrate refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Some examples:
- Colombia has an Income Generation Strategy that we support and which includes the implementation of sustainable productive projects, job training for migrants and refugees, and the promotion of cultural and sports expressions in host communities;
- In Brazil, the National Industrial Training Service (SENAI) in alliance with the IOM, initiated a program to offer training and professional certification to Venezuelans to provide them with greater possibilities in accessing jobs.
To support effective integration, the Platform's partners work by complementing the efforts of national governments, and also supports local governments, which have direct territorial contact with refugees and migrants.
It is necessary for host communities to be considered in socioeconomic integration plans. The role of international financial institutions is key to supporting the generation of development conditions in host communities, particularly in border areas.
For the integration of Venezuelans to be sustainable, an active participation of the Private Sector is also required. It is also important to take into account the organizations of the Venezuelan diaspora as decisive agents for a better labour, social and cultural integration.
Progress is also required in the revalidation of professional qualifications and in the certification of competencies of Venezuelan migrants and refugees. Countries that have allowed Venezuelan doctors and health personnel to join the fight against COVID-19 are strong examples of the importance of integrating them in the response to this emergency.
In addition to highlighting the Regional Strategy for Socioeconomic Integration of the Quito Process, I also wish to reiterate our congratulations on the establishment of the Group of Friends. I particularly appreciate Canada's leadership in following up on the results of the recent Donors Conference and as the organizer of the next one, in 2021.
Next year will be decisive in leaving behind the adverse consequences of COVID-19. I would like to make a call to all countries to include migrants and refugees in the vaccination plans. In this regard, I want to mention that IOM recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) to promote access to vaccination for migrants and refugees.
I would like to end by asking the International Community to support the RMRP 2021 through its financing and thus continue to accompany the governments of the region in their efforts in the protection and inclusion of Venezuelan migrants and refugees.