Despite significant additional challenges in 2020 associated with the COVID-19 pandemic in all 17 countries that were part of the RMRP response – including increased needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and affected host communities, movement restrictions imposed by host governments in order to curb the virus’ spread, and related shifts in response modalities for humanitarian actors – R4V partners were able to reach a total of 3.18 million Venezuelans and members of host communities with some form of assistance in 2020, representing 66 percent of the target population. To take into account the significant changes in context, needs and operational realities that resulted, the R4V Regional Platform led a comprehensive review beginning in April 2020, in consultation with the 8 national and sub-regional platforms and the regional sectors, to revise the Response Plan by May of 2020. Out of 1.4 billion requested for the revised RMRP 2020, 682 million was received, or a total of 48.4 percent of the RMRP 2020 appeal.
COVID-19 and the various control measures adopted by governments generated additional risks and challenges for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, including in the areas of protection, livelihoods, health and education. Limitations on commercial activities often greatly reduced income opportunities for Venezuelan refugees and migrants and increased risks of eviction and homelessness. Movement restrictions generated additional protection risks, including trafficking and smuggling, as well as concerns about access to territory, access to asylum procedures, and deportations. R4V partners’ responses demonstrated adaptability and ingenuity to continue to provide assistance despite these challenges, including through new means of remote attention using technological solutions to reach people in need. Cash and voucher assistance (CVA) took on an expanded role in the R4V in several countries, both because it helped to respond to critical needs, and because it is a modality that could be implemented remotely or with adjustments to comply with sanitary restrictions. In spite of the plethora of challenges, there were also positive developments, in terms of the integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in country-wide COVID-19 response plans, ensuring access to health services, vaccinations, and several initiatives to promote expanded regularization and documentation of Venezuelans (including in Costa Rica and Colombia).
In order to coordinate the response of the 151 partners taking part in the RMRP 2020, the R4V Regional Platform regularly convened regional platform meetings and further consolidated the regional response structure, including through its nine Regional Sectors (Education, Health, Humanitarian Transportation, Integration, NFI, Nutrition, Protection, Shelter, WASH) and eight National and Sub-Regional Platforms (in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Caribbean, Central America & Mexico, and the Southern Cone) as further detailed in the following chapters.