An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Ecuador.


An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Ecuador.
A lady shows a tray of baked goods.

Deilys fled Venezuela to Ecuador with her family. Thanks to the Graduation Model courses, she has been able to build a business making and selling vegan desserts which has allowed her and her family a regular income and a way out of extreme poverty.

Content of this page:
1. Description of the refugee situation
2. Ecuador's response to the refugee situation
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact


1. Description of refugee situation

Where does the population of concern live?

Mostly urban settings.

  • Refugees (Urban and rural settings): 68,708 refugees recognized by the Government since 1989, representing the largest population of recognized refugees in Latin America.
  • Asylum Seekers (Urban and rural settings): 19,168 new asylum seekers in 2019, of whom 14,155 were Venezuelans and 4,628 Colombians (up to 31 October 2019). 
  • Refugees and migrants from Venezuela (Urban and rural settings): 
    • Approximately 1.8 million Venezuelan arrivals were registered at the borders of Ecuador since 2016. 
    • According to Ecuador authorities, 370,000 refugees and migrants from Venezuela are residing in Ecuador. 

Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Ecuador on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus

2. Ecuador's response to the refugee situation

An overview of how the Government has structured its ability to respond to the refugee situation, with the support of partners.

Since 2014, multi-year multi-partner strategies have been developed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, involve strong alliances with the Government, UN Agencies and civil society partners. These strategies focus on the promotion of public policies that advance the protection and local integration of refugees in Ecuador, providing access to rights, employment and services. These alliances involve government and non-governmental actors and partners in the public and private sectors who are working central and local levels.). As lead on refugee responses, UNHCR works with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), the Ministry of Education, the National Secretariat for Planning and Development, the National Assembly and other state institutions such as the Public Defender's Office and the Ombudsman's Office, as well as decentralized autonomous governments at different levels.  

Which partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees?

UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UN Women have been working closely together to support the four objectives of the GCR, in particular to ease pressure on the Government of Ecuador as it continues to host and protect refugees, especially following the arrival of large numbers of refugees from Venezuela and to enhance the self-reliance of refugees. Since 2018 UNHCR and IOM have been co-leading the coordination of the inter-agency response to the Venezuela situation. The initial coordination structure of 11 UN agencies and 13 NGOs that was set up to respond to the needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants brings together 36 partners. In 2019, this group produced a joint response plan - as part of a regional response plan to the Venezuela situation – which articulates the needs of host communities and Venezuelans (both population in transit and those who settle in Ecuador) through a multi-sectorial strategy. The coordination structure reflects the main areas of intervention and has several functioning working groups based on the different sectors (protection, information management, and shelter, to name a few. 

At regional level, the Government of Ecuador has actively promoted and conducted the Quito Process, a state-led initiative designed to respond to the arrival of Venezuelan refugees and migrants. Ecuador has hosted three regional Government meetings, in addition to promoting the adoption of a Declaration and a Plan of Action for the response to Venezuelans, including access to territory, border management, documentation, access to migratory alternatives, protection of children, and support to hosting communities among others.  

Partners involved

Ecuador's response to the refugee situation involves working closely with many partners including Line Ministries and Government entities, Civil society partners, UN Agencies and NGOs. 

For a full list of partners, please see the attached PDF document on the right-hand side of the article.

3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact

Here’s a summary of how partnerships working in education, livelihoods, health and social inclusion have already transformed the lives of refugees and their hosts. 

To meet the first objective to ease pressures on its resources UNHCR Ecuador´s multi-year multi partner strategy is geared towards supporting the Government to address the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. It supports the national refugee status determination system, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES), the Ministry of Education, the Public Defender's Office, the Ombudsman's Office and the National Registry to fulfil their responsibilities towards refugees and asylum-seekers.  

Refugees and asylum seekers in Ecuador have access to the formal labour market. To further enhance refugee self-reliance, UN Agencies and line ministries are working with a private sector network, local authorities’ business development centres, regional development banks and NGOs – promoting alliances among them - to promote livelihoods and job opportunities for persons of concern. Efforts are also underway to collaborate with local financial institutions and banking authorities to ease refugees’ access to financial services. As an example, approximately 3,200 families have become more self-sufficient through the Graduation Model which aims to raise families above the (extreme) poverty line.  

More than 500 families – both individuals who are forcibly displaced and Ecuadorians- are participating in a joint programme with the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion, combining elements of the Graduation Model with a similar government programme. 

Pledges and contributions made by Ecuador



Pledges and contributions dashboard (interactive by Area of Focus)

This dashboard includes all pledges and contributions made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Ecuador, including national pledges made by the Government of Ecuador itself.