Concept Note and Context
More than 5.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela are outside their home country, with approximately 4.6 million residing within the Latin American and Caribbean region.
The situation is characterized by people on the move, in transit, often with multiple displacement moving from one country to another within the region. In addition, the elements of xenophobia and the wide geographical spread of migration from remote communities to dense urban areas struggling with impoverished communities, limited public services and employment opportunities, only amplifies the challenges faced by refugees and migrants. The COVID-19 pandemic and necessary lockdown measures have further exacerbated the risks refugees and migrants face while on the move, increasing vulnerabilities due to closures of borders, lockdowns, curfews and travel restrictions linked to the health emergency. Accommodation and transit sites are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic with populations in transit at higher risk.
This situation, however, did not prevent the movements of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, who continue walking, transiting from one town to the next, and entering neighboring countries in vulnerable conditions.
In April 2018, the United Nations Secretary General tasked the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in accordance with their respective functions and mandates, with establishing a Regional Inter-Agency Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V) to lead and coordinate the response, including analysis, strategic planning and operational interventions and acting as an inclusive and accountable forum to monitor and steer the operational response for the Venezuelan crisis.
The Regional Inter-Agency Platform is complemented by local coordination mechanisms (both national and sub-regional platforms) that work in close collaboration with host governments. The national and sub-regional platforms as a part of the R4V response are Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (at national levels) and in the Caribbean , Central America & Mexico and Southern Cone (at sub-regional levels).
The R4V is a collective effort of organizations that is working on a comprehensive regional response to the protection, assistance and integration needs of refugees and migrants. This coordination space aims at accompanying, complementing and strengthening national and regional responses of governments, international organizations and civil society consistent with the principles outlined in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, emphasizing that the protection of refugees and migrants is an internationally shared responsibility – to be borne equitably and predictably.