International donors pledged more than $850 million at a conference in Brussels to help support millions of refugees and migrants who have fled Venezuela, the European Union said on Friday.
The EU and Canada co-hosted the two-day meeting aimed at raising awareness and funds to help tackle what they call one of the world’s largest displacement crises.
“Almost 810 million euros [$860 million] have been pledged at the 2023 Solidarity Conference with Venezuelans and their hosts,” European crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said. “I am encouraged by the renewed commitment of the international community.”
More than 7 million Venezuelans have left their country, propelled by grinding poverty and a political crisis, according to estimates by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
Among the main pledges were $171 million from the United States, $80 million from the EU and $42 million from Canada.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government had accused Canada and the European Union of convening a “hostile” conference that politicizes migration.
Caracas strongly objected to the International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants and their Host Countries and Communities, with the foreign ministry calling it a “spectacle that only serves the commercial interests of some participants.”
The UNHCR and International Organization for Migration, which were both involved in the conference, had urged increased international support for Venezuelan refugees and migrants and the Latin American and Caribbean countries that host them.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi thanked the EU and Canada for hosting the event. He called the plight of the Venezuelan refugees “one of many dimensions of human mobility in the Americas that need humanitarian and development responses.”