The Syria refugee crisis remains the largest humanitarian and development crises in the world. Across the five main Syrian-refugee hosting countries including under the 3RP – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt – over 10 million people need some form of humanitarian and resilience support going into 2021. This includes some 5.5 million Syrian refugees and 4.8 million impacted host community members, which is the highest number of people in need of some form of assistance in this crisis, in nearly a decade.
Alongside the record numbers of people in need, the level of vulnerability among refugees and impacted host community members is growing. Five key underlying trends are driving this need: the effects of large-scale protracted displacement, macroeconomic forecasts, socioeconomic conditions, COVID-19, and demographic pressures. These interlinked trends have worsened existing structural and individual vulnerabilities and, in some cases, created new vulnerabilities, with long-term effects yet to be fully measured. The trends have also deepened pre-existing inequalities, the most pervasive being gender inequality.
This 3RP Regional Needs Overview (RNO) provides a consolidated overview of the needs and vulnerabilities of refugees and impacted host community members at both the regional and country level based on the data and information from over 100 assessments and studies conducted throughout 2020. It is intended to inform 3RP regional and country-level planning for 2021 and beyond, as well as further research and policy efforts. While the scale and scope of needs vary across the 3RP countries, a common regional picture emerges, in addition to the specific country dynamics. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic hit first the region early in the year and was followed by other waves that at the time of writing continue to impact the lives of millions of refugees and host communities alike. Similarly, in the context of a global economic recession, host countries have further stretched thin the resources needed to fund services in support of the vulnerable population. Economic forecasts for 3RP countries in 2020 and beyond have been progressively downward revised from early 2020, especially in Lebanon where compounding crises have had devastating effects. Rises in levels of unemployment, income and multidimensional poverty, and food insecurity are among the greatest factors driving individual need in the short-term. The high youth population across the region places stressors on the limited capacities of education and livelihoods sectors. Additional demographic pressures are a result of worsening social cohesion due to competition over limited resources, services, and opportunities. At a time where the social fabric is under pressure, violence against women and risks of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) continue to be reported across the region. Moreover, the broader health impacts driven by COVID-19 will also entail long term consequences for the most vulnerable people.
Against this backdrop, a clear set of regional needs have emerged. Protection-related intersectional needs, particularly those related to legal status, gender, age and specific needs, have been highlighted across regional assessments. Syrian refugees additionally continue to need opportunities for durable solutions. The need for broader availability and improved quality of education, livelihoods opportunities and access to quality food and health care is essential. With rises in the use of negative coping mechanisms by vulnerable individuals observed across the region, support to address these needs, among others, is critical. Enhancing local capacities, specifically infrastructure, service provision, and social safety net programmes, is a critical element to ensure that the needs of vulnerable individuals can be met in the medium and long-term by building resilience.