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Report of the 12th Regional Platform Meeting (21 July 2020)

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The 12th Regional Platform Meeting was organized virtually on the 21st July 2020. The meeting had the participation of more than 200 people who connected remotely, and the various session were organized in collaboration with various R4V partners.

Current Response Panorama

The meeting opened with the intervention of Diego Beltrand, Special Envoy to the Director General of IOM for the Regional Response to the situation of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and Renata Dubini, Director of the UNHCR Bureau for the Americas, who moderated the session. In this part, the work carried out in the last months by the Regional Platform was briefly recalled such as: i) the revision of the Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) 2020, which incorporates needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic and ii) the International Donors’ Conference held in May 2020. In this session presentations were made by Eduardo Stein, the Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, Niky Fabiancic, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations of Brazil, Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women, and Alvaro De Vicente, Chief of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

In his intervention, Eduardo Stein, the Joint Special Representative of UNHCR and IOM for Venezuelan refugees and migrants explained the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and the effects that the pandemic has had over refugees and migrants from Venezuela. The Joint Special Representative delineated the main consequences of the closures of borders and the measures which were adopted to contain the pandemic. Many refugees and migrants are currently in an irregular situation and the majority do not have the possibility to work nor any form of livelihood. In the last months this situation has encouraged returns to Venezuela given that many do not have the means to survive and are objects of discrimination and xenophobia. Eduardo Stein recalled that in April and May, the Regional Platform worked on the revision of the RMRP. Also, in May 2020, with the support of the European Union and Spain a International Donors Conference was held. In order to monitor the activities and the financial contributions towards the RMRP, two visualizations were produced which are in the webpage r4v.info. Finally, in the last few days the Regional Platform has initiated the planning for the development of the RMRP 2021.

Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director of UN Women, in her intervention recalled the importance of the disaggregation of data which is collected and provided through the RMRP. In this sense the disaggregation should demonstrate the needs of women and girls in the response. Gender-based violence has been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic given that the measures have sometimes impeded the ability to receive relevant services to support victims. The response in the region is focusing on projects for assistance to protect women and girls facing gender-based violence or sexual exploitation. Maria Noel Vaeza recalled that the integration of a gender focus is a task and responsibility of all the 151 partners of the R4V. In this sense it is very important to integrate a gender focus in all the activities of the response. Finally, it is important that women and girls are involved withing the work of the planning of the RMRP 2021.