Children on the move: Migration flows in Latin America and the Caribbean
In 2019, UNICEF and partners plan for:
boys and girls accessing at least the minimum set of vaccines according to each country’s standards
people with daily access to WASH services at service delivery points (health centres, shelters, migration points and transit points) as per agreed standards
girls and boys provided with mental health and psychosocial support, including access to child-friendly spaces with inter-sectoral programming interventions
2019 Requirements: US$69,493,902
Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are hosting at least 2.4 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees out of the 3 million Venezuelans migrating worldwide.1 As of late 2018, UNICEF estimates that over 460,000 children2 in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago require assistance. Those in need include Venezuelan migrants and refugees, host communities and non-Venezuelans returnees. The high and unpredictable migration flows are stretching the capacities of host countries and increasing demands on already limited services and structures at the host community level. Women and children, particularly unaccompanied children and children with disabilities, as well as indigenous groups, are facing risks of violence, discrimination, trafficking, exploitation and abuse.3 In 2019, an estimated 1.1 million people from both migrant and host communities will be in need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; 1.5 million children will require access to education; and nearly 265,000 boys, girls, adolescents and women will need essential health services.4 Affected people are in urgent need of access to registration, protection mechanisms, inclusive education, integrated health and nutrition services and adequate temporary or permanent housing. The medium- and long-term implications of the migration flows, such as the increase in demand for and costs of already stretched health, education and protection systems, mean that significant financial resources and technical capacities will be needed to carry out policy and programme adjustments. Colombia is the first country to comprehensively analyse such impacts and include mitigation measures in their national development plan. Other countries, such as Ecuador and Peru, are also considering the need to adjust their development plans. Integrating a child focus into those analyses and proposals will be crucial to ensuring sustainable integration.
2019 programme targets
Health and nutrition
- 38,050 boys and girls accessing at least the minimum set of vaccines according to each country’s standards
- 15,600 boys and girls under 5 years accessing primary health care in UNICEF-supported facilities
- 26,600 boys and girls aged 6 to 59 months receiving nutrition supplementation to prevent undernutrition
- 46,600 caregivers (men and women) of boys and girls aged 0 to 23 months accessing infant and young child feeding counselling for appropriate feeding
- 63,690 people with daily access to WASH services at service delivery points (health centres, shelters, migration points and transit points) as per agreed standards
- 146,800 boys and girls in learning spaces accessing WASH services as per agreed standards (according to context)
- 59,762 girls and boys provided with mental health and psychosocial support, including access to child-friendly spaces with inter-sectoral programming interventions
- 153,000 children benefiting from programmes to prevent and address violence, abuse and exploitation, including gender-based violence
- 96,850 boys and girls on the move, including adolescents, accessing formal education and early childhood development services13
- 57,600 boys and girls on the move, including adolescents, accessing nonformal learning activities14
Communication for development
- 11,600 affected people in targeted areas actively participating in accountability mechanisms supported by UNICEF
- 544,760 people reached and engaged in affected areas with messages on lifesaving skills and protective practices and behaviours, as well as on information on accessing and using services
- 8,500 families with children on the move receiving social protection services as part of initiatives supported by UNICEF
Given the urgency, scale and extended duration of this crisis, as well as the strong role of states in addressing the short- and long-term implications, UNICEF’s humanitarian strategy is organized around three pillars of intervention at the country level, with special emphasis on Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. These are: 1) humanitarian action in fulfilment of humanitarian principles and the international protection framework for migrant children and their families, to ensure access to child protection services, education, holistic health and nutrition support and WASH services; 2) child protection and advocacy to ensure that the rights of migrant and refugee children and their families (including civil and political rights) are at the core of the actions taken by national stakeholders, civil society and humanitarian organizations; 3) resilient development and social policy to promote inclusion and integration by increasing access to and the quality and suitability of social services, regularizing the migration and international protection status of children, and enhancing relevant social policies and national capacity building to address key gaps. These three pillars will be adapted to each country context and the prevailing needs at border areas, along transit routes and in destination settlements. In 2019, UNICEF will develop interventions in seven countries, including at least 11 border points, several transit routes and 34 urban destinations. At the regional level, in addition to ongoing coordination, technical assistance and quality assurance of country office plans, UNICEF’s Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office will provide the support requested by governments as per the Quito I and II Declarations.5 This will involve the implementation of five key multi-country strategies: 1) a monitoring and information analysis mechanism to measure the vulnerability of women, children and adolescents and support knowledge generation and sharing; 2) regional guidance and tools to facilitate integration into local services, focusing on holistic protection; 3) mechanisms fostering accountability to affected populations, such as U-Report on the Move; 4) programme training to enhance capacities for a sustained integration process; and 5) promotion of gender equality, nondiscrimination and empowerment. UNICEF will continue to enhance its contributions to the regional inter-agency platform led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), providing leadership or co-leadership in the following areas: the campaign to prevent xenophobia, integral support services spaces, communication with communities, prevention and management of gender-based violence and information management.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$16.1 million available against the US$28 million appeal (57 per cent funded).6 In response to the migration crisis, in May 2018, UNICEF increased the regional Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for Latin America and the Caribbean to scale up its field presence and programme activities, including service delivery, advocacy and technical assistance, initially in neighbouring countries and later in countries7 where flows increased rapidly throughout the year.8 In line with inter-agency priorities, UNICEF prioritized sectors in which girls, boys and their families were most in need, such as WASH, health, nutrition, child protection and education, including early childhood development. In Colombia, in schools and areas where Venezuelan migrants and other vulnerable communities are concentrated (i.e., migrant centres, border crossing sites and slums), over 13,000 people gained improved access to WASH services, including through improvements to water and sanitation infrastructure and the delivery of hygiene kits. In Brazil, where thousands of migrants are living in formal and informal shelters, UNICEF supported the establishment of 11 child-friendly spaces and reached over 4,200 children with education services. UNICEF advocacy efforts in Ecuador were fundamental to the signing and implementation of a ground-breaking protocol for the protection of uprooted children, including those arriving from Venezuela. In Guyana, where access to reliable information about the composition of migration flows remains a great challenge, UNICEF reinforced the capacities of authorities to conduct information management and delivered assistance to 110 identified migrant and host families in remote indigenous communities. In Peru, where hundreds of migrants are crossing the border every day, UNICEF scaled up actions at the northern border and installed a child-friendly space that reached over 6,000 children with psychosocial support during the first three months.9 In Trinidad and Tobago, one of the main Caribbean destinations for Venezuelan migrants, UNICEF partnered with the main local non-governmental organization to reinforce capacities to address the needs of migrant children. With UNICEF support, a temporary learning centre increased its coverage, reaching 170 migrant children. In Panama, UNICEF has led advocacy efforts to approve and implement a national protocol for children in need of international protection. Within the regional inter-agency platform, UNICEF works with agencies to disseminate messages and multimedia content to prevent and combat xenophobia, and contributed to a regional mapping of services available to migrant populations along migrant routes as an initial input for the establishment of integral support services spaces.
UNICEF is requesting US$69.5 million to meet the needs of refugee and migrant children in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019 and respond to the situation of children on the move from Venezuela. This represents an increase in relation to the UNICEF request in the 2019 inter-agency Refugee and Migrant Regional Plan due to the significant emphasis on resilience. Inadequate funding will hinder the effort to protect the most vulnerable women, children and adolescents, undermine their access to and inclusion in basic services and prevent their adequate integration into host countries. Adequate and flexible funding will help UNICEF implement life-saving and urgent activities, while advocating for and supporting host governments to ensure the provision of key interventions that support children both in the short and long terms. This includes integrating urgent humanitarian activities and the sustained inclusion of migrant and refugee children’s interests into national policies and programmes. The required resources will also help UNICEF play a key role in facilitating coherent and harmonized approaches across the region, focusing on the seven countries where specific action plans are being implemented, and ensuring active monitoring of the situation in other countries that might gradually require rapid reaction support.
1 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Migration Flows in Latin America and the Caribbean Situation Report No. 3’ (draft), UNICEF, 2018. Note that this situation report was not finalized/published at the time of writing this appeal.
3 This is based on UNICEF and partner assessments of the situation.
4 Estimate based upon the 2019 country action plans for Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago.
5 Quito I: ‘Declaración de Quito sobre Movilidad Humana de Ciudadanos Venezolanos en la Región’, 3-4 September 2018, www.cancilleria.gob.ec/wpcontent/uploads/2018/09/declaracion_quito_reunion_tecnica_regional.pdf, accessed 7 December 2018; and Quito II: ‘Plan de Acción del Proceso de Quito sobre la Movilidad Humana de Nacionales Venezolanos en la Región’, 22-23 November 2018,
6 Available funds include US$15.3 million received against the revised 2018 appeal (for migration in Latin America and the Caribbean) and US$800,000 carried forward from the previous year to the Humanitarian Action for Children appeal for the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office dedicated to the 2018 migration in Latin America and the Caribbean response.
7 Including Brazil, Colombia, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
8 Including Ecuador, Panama and Peru.
9 Results from Peru are as of 21 November 2018.
10 Includes 3.6 million people in need in 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay) as per the Global Humanitarian Overview 2019. In addition, according to different sources, it is estimated that approximately 1.3 million people living in host communities in these countries also need some sort of assistance.
11 Estimated by UNICEF based on 2018 trends in the distribution of migrant populations across the 16 countries listed in endnote 10.
12 Target population, according to UNICEF target groups: a) in transit; b) in destination; c) returnees; d) pendular (a population that resides in the border area and moves habitually across the border into neighbouring countries on a regular basis); e) host community population.
13 Boys and girls on the move include: children in transit; children in destination; children returnees; and children in pendular movement.