The crisis in Venezuela and its regional impact are continuing unabated, driving displacement on a pace and scale that requires greater action from the international community. The Solidarity Conference, scheduled for October 28-29 in Brussels, is an opportunity to apply the lessons learned from other displacement crises, mobilize resources and promote policies that can protect displaced Venezuelans and host communities today and turn the crisis into a development opportunity tomorrow.
Unlike many wealthier countries, which are closing their doors to migrants and refugees, Venezuela’s neighbors have shown relative welcome. But humanitarian funding and diplomatic energy for the regional response have lagged, leaving Venezuela’s neighbors, who face their own development and security challenges, to bear the burdens of what will almost certainly be a protracted crisis. Without standardized policies and approaches, including on documentation, protection, and access to education and work, countries with more progressive policies like Colombia will be left to host a disproportionate number of Venezuelans, making the realization of their commitments to refugees, migrants and their own populations increasingly out of reach.
In the absence of greater support for host countries, the Venezuelan displacement crisis is certain to beget more crises—humanitarian and political—across the region and threaten remarkable gains made in regional development and stability over the last two decades.
To meaningfully meet the needs of Venezuelans and host communities, the international response will require:
- Donors to provide more predictable, multiyear financing while coordinating on a diplomatic strategy to encourage and incentivize regional states to improve and harmonize policies.
- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and World Bank to establish a formal partnership so that their resources are coordinated and deployed in a way that enables host countries to maintain progressive policies and that addresses longer-term needs, such as livelihoods opportunities and education.
- Host governments to harmonize their policies to promote longer-term solutions across protection, documentation, pathways to citizenship, and access to school, work, and healthcare.
- Host governments to develop national action plans, aligned with and building on the regional response plan, for how they plan to meet the short-, medium- and long-term needs of refugees.