Exchange of Notes concerning Grant Aid to Colombia
1. On July 5 (local time, July 4), His Excellency Mr. Keiichiro Morishita, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Republic of Colombia, signed and exchanged notes concerning 302 million yen in grant aid for the Project for Humanitarian Assistance to Venezuelan Refugees, Colombian Returnees and Host Communities in Colombia (in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)) with Mr. Jozef Merkx, Representative of UNHCR in Colombia. Ambassador Morishita also signed and exchanged notes concerning 202 million yen in grant aid for the Project for Strengthening Mechanisms for Humanitarian Assistance to Venezuelan Migrants, Colombian Returnees and Host Communities in Colombia (in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)) with Ms. Ana Eugenia Durán Salvatierra, Chief of Mission, IOM Colombia.
2. According to UNHCR, as of June 2019, approximately 4 million refugees and migrants have left Venezuela, approximately 3.2 million of whom have migrated to Latin American countries. These are the largest figures ever for the region, and are due to the recent deterioration of the economic and social conditions in Venezuela. Among them, 1.3 million people have entered Colombia. Furthermore, approximately 400,000 of the Colombians who previously fled to Venezuela due to the state of public safety in Colombia have returned to their country. Thus, the large-scale migration of people has placed a significant burden on Colombia. The Colombian Government has formulated a strategy for the promotion of medical care, education, and labor market participation for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and asked cooperation to the international community.
3. The overview of the two projects is as follows.
(1) The Project for Humanitarian Assistance to Venezuelan Refugees, Colombian Returnees and Host Communities in Colombia (in cooperation with UNHCR)
This project will assist the registration and protection of Venezuelan refugees and Colombian returnees in six departments in Colombia (Putumayo, Antioquia, Cesar, Norte de Santander, Arauca, and La Guajira Departments). This grant aid will enable approximately 14,000 people to receive emergency humanitarian assistance and approximately 17,000 people to receive documentation, and furthermore, 7,000 people will be able to stay in safe temporary shelters and receive care. It is expected to help ensure the safety of host communities in Colombia and improve quality of people’s lives, and as a result, contribute to ensuring human security in Colombia and to regional stability.
(2) The Project for Strengthening Mechanisms for Humanitarian Assistance to Venezuelan Refugees, Colombian Returnees and Host Communities in Colombia (in cooperation with IOM)
This project is intended to strengthen mechanisms for hosting Venezuelan migrants and Colombian returnees in 10 departments and 1 city (La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Cesar, Atlántico, Bolívar, Santander, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, and Cundinamarca Departments and Bogota City).
Through this grant aid, approximately 13,000 people will receive emergency humanitarian assistance. In addition, seven government agencies will establish measures for Venezuelan migrants, while receiving feedback from the Displacement Tracking Matrix administered by the United Nations. It will also carry out repairs and other work at 20 public facilities, such as city offices, and enhance their ability to deal with an influx of people. It is expected to help ensure the safety of host communities in Colombia and improve quality of people’s lives, and as a result, contribute to ensuring human security in Colombia and to regional stability.
4. Since FY2017, the Government of Japan has decided for assistance in a total amount of 1.15 billion yen (approximately US$10.27 million), which includes the above projects that directly benefit the people of Venezuela, including refugees and migrants, as well as those affected in neighboring countries.
[Reference] Basic Data on the Republic of Colombia
The Republic of Colombia has an area of approximately 1,139,000 square kilometers (approximately triple the area of Japan) and a population of approximately 49,070,000 people (2017, World Bank). The per capita gross national income (GNI) is approximately US$5,830 (2017, World Bank).