Research Brief | Food Security & Malnutrition in Venezuela

Caritas Venezuela, a partner of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), has been implementing two programs to address food and nutrition security issues prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; data from these programs provide a valuable opportunity to further examine Venezuelan’s food security and nutrition status over time at a subnational context. CRS conducted an analysis of Caritas’ available food security and nutrition data to assess whether there were observable trends in their food security and acute malnutrition data before and after the pandemic was declared, triangulated with other available secondary data sources.

Policy Recommendations to the U.S. Government:

The crisis in Venezuela is vastly underfunded and without further investment, especially in resilience and recovery activities, humanitarian needs will persist. To support humanitarian response in Venezuela and throughout the region, including food security and nutrition, CRS urges the U.S. government to:

  1. Increase visibility of food security and nutrition needs and fund a robust, holistic response. We urge the United States to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuela proportional to other crises of the same magnitude and to encourage other international donors to contribute necessary resources to meet food security and nutrition needs of the most vulnerable. Furthermore, we urge the United States to include more predictable, multi-year financing to support refugees and host communities and promote medium- and long-term solutions to build resilience to shocks and crises. Further, the United States should address fragility and conflict by integrating social cohesion, peacebuilding, and other efforts into food security and nutrition programming, as feasible.
  2. Depoliticize humanitarian aid and improve humanitarian access in Venezuela. We urge the United States, among others involved, to depoliticize humanitarian assistance in Venezuela and to abide by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. CRS and peer humanitarian organizations serve based on need. It is only through abiding by these principles that humanitarian agencies can provide assistance readily and safely to the populations most vulnerable to food and nutrition insecurity. Further, national and international non-governmental humanitarian organizations are unable to scale up the provision of humanitarian assistance in Venezuela. We urge the United States, and all actors, to work through diplomatic channels with local authorities to secure humanitarian access.
  3. Fund local actors to carry out humanitarian assistance to prevent and mitigate food and nutrition insecurity. Local actors help drive more integrated responses, given they respond to community needs holistically because they are not divided by sector and are less donor-driven in their response.

Published March 2022

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