This week we publish a new research brief by Professor Alexander Betts reporting on his recent mission to Colombia at the invitation of the Presidency. The purpose of the mission was: 1) to learn about Colombia’s response to the Venezuelan influx; and 2) to share experiences and best practices based upon Betts’ research relating to the socio-economic integration of refugees and migrants elsewhere.
During the mission, Betts’ visited La Guajira and Norte de Santander, spent time in Bogotá, and spoke to a wide variety of people, including national and local government, NGOs and international organisations, business and the private sector, and Venezuelan migrants and their representative organisations.
As the brief states, the international community’s predominant response to the Venezuelan migration crisis remains focused on humanitarian relief. This is important, for two populations: a) the over 50,000 ‘pendular’ migrants who go back and forth across the border every day in order to access food and basic services; b) those who seek residency in Colombia or another country, and require immediate support in terms of food, shelter, and medical access. However, Betts argues, for the over 1.2 million migrants who have settled in Colombia, a longer-term vision is needed, which must be based on seeing Venezuelan migration as a development opportunity that can benefit both migrants and citizens. The crisis represents a particular opportunity to support the regional development of the historically neglected border zones.
Download the brief here (pdf 2.17 MB)