SILVER SPRING, MD (December 18, 2019) – On December 17 and 18, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) joined more than 2,000 humanitarian practitioners and member states at the first-ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, Switzerland to find transforming solutions to the world refugee crisis, benefitting both refugees and their host communities.
More than a third of the world’s displaced population—some 25.9 million people, according to a 2018 UNHCR report—have been forced to flee their own countries entirely, leaving their homes behind and becoming refugees. Refugees are defined as people forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.
The forum, according to the UNHCR, is an opportunity to namely “ease pressures on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third country solutions and support conditions of origin for return in safety and dignity.” ADRA continues working to improve the lives of 16.3 million people around the world in 2018, including refugees in Africa, Middle East, Asia and South America, well after the media spotlight has moved on to the next disaster.
As of early September, nearly 179,000 Venezuelans resided in Brazil, 330,000 Venezuelans resided in Ecuador, and more than 1.4 million Venezuelans were residing in Colombia, according to the Regional Interagency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. To date, more than 4.5 million Venezuelans are living outside their home country. This number is expected to rise to 6.5 million by end of next year.
At the forum, ADRA pledged to support the most vulnerable ensuring urgent assistance is provided to female headed households, pregnant and lactating women, families with children under five, elderly people and/or people with disabilities, and women and girls affected by sexual and gender-based violence.
ADRA made two commitments:
As the official international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in partnership with the Adventist church, which has the second-largest protestant school system in the world, made a joint announcement of a new global campaign, “Every Child. Everywhere. In School.” The campaign is an urgent call to leaders around the world that all children, regardless of race, age, nationality, gender, disability, religion or origin, have a right to earn and complete an education, and that being in school is a recognition of the value and potential of each individual child. One of the factors that promoted the campaign is that we do not accept that refugee children are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers.
Our second commitment is for the crisis in Venezuela. Never before has Latin America suffered a social and economic crisis of this magnitude, a crisis that continues to disrupt the lives of millions of people across the region. A whole-of-society approach is a priority for any work with refugees and host communities, especially when it comes to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, such as women, children, and people with special needs. It is for these vulnerable populations that ADRA remains committed to play a key role in implementing global compact on refugees and especially in the Venezuela crisis. As a result, ADRA has committed one million dollars to the response efforts in Venezuela. These resources will be used to leverage other public funding that ADRA has received, including UNHCR, to ensure there are no gaps in our interventions. These projects will be implemented in Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, Peru, and Argentina.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. For more information, visit ADRA.org.