The situation in Syria continues to drive the largest refugee crisis in the world. Globally, Syria remains the main country of origin of refugees, making up a quarter of all refugees in the world. Syrians have found asylum in 127 countries, but the vast majority fled to the neighbouring countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
These countries and communities have generously hosted refugees, and in the process, made an invaluable contribution to regional and international stability. This has come at an unprecedented cost, however, exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities, overstretching basic social services, and reversing years of hardwon development gains. Today, several host country governments continue to confront heightened economic and financial challenges, whilst undertaking difficult reforms.
Over the last five years, the international community has strived to assist both affected populations and host governments. The Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), co-led by UNHCR and UNDP, remains the cornerstone of this support, bringing together over 270 partners into a unified plan, driving innovation in policy and programming and successfully channelling over USD$14 billion in funding.
As we enter 2020, there are over 5.6 million Syrian refugees across the region. Supporting refugees and the communities hosting them remains extremely challenging, with many individuals facing acute needs and vulnerabilities. Some 70 per cent of Syrian refugees live in poverty, while unemployment and uneven access to basic services, such as education, persist. Many in host communities, living side-by-side with refugees, face similar problems.
This year’s 3RP offers a US$5.4 billion comprehensive plan in support of national priorities. This includes working together to ensure that refugees have continued access to asylum and international protection, that basic needs of refugees and affected host community members can be met in safety and dignity and that those with specific needs receive specialized services and support. 3RP partners strive to build resilience at all levels, ensuring increased opportunities for self-reliance, and helping to strengthen the capacity of national and local institutions to more effectively address current and future needs.
The 3RP community is also looking to the future. Underpinned by the strong co-leadership between UNHCR and UNDP, the 3RP will continue to strengthen the refugee and resilience response and look to play its part in advancing the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR) and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a way that leaves no one behind. Enhanced collaboration with bilateral partners, International Financial Institutions and the private sector will remain critical in forwarding these aims.
As in previous years, we remain grateful for the generosity and support of our donors who allow the 3RP to reach vulnerable people across the region. With the crisis entering its tenth year, our message to the international community is that we need you to stay the course and show continued support and solidarity with the Syrian people, host communities and host countries until durable solutions are realized and a political solution to the Syria crisis is found.
Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Assistant Administrator of UNDP and Director
of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States
UNHCR Director for the Middle East and
North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee
Coordinator for the Syria and Iraq situations