The Syria crisis will soon mark its tenth anniversary and remains, by some distance, the largest refugee crisis in the world. Today, the five main refugee-hosting countries – Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt – continue to generously host over 5.5 million refugees, while also contending with increasing needs among host communities and larger swathes of their population due to the multiple, overlapping crises.
The arrival of COVID-19 brought profound economic and social distress across the region. Many people among refugee and host communities lost their livelihoods and were pushed further into poverty and with savings exhausted, struggled to put food on the table or access critical social services. Most 3RP countries are confronting economic recessions and rising levels of unemployment and poverty. In several countries, host governments are facing mounting fiscal challenges to provide services for all those in need.
While host governments and the international community stepped up their support to the extent possible, new waves of the pandemic and its after-effects are hitting the region and vulnerabilities are likely to worsen. The most vulnerable remain in day-to-day survival mode. Gender-based violence continues to be reported across the region. Competition over resources, overstretched services and scarcer livelihoods opportunities is increasing risks of tensions between and within communities.
The 3RP stepped up its response in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue this into 2021, with some ten million people targeted for support across the region. This year’s 3RP offers a USD$ 5.8 billion comprehensive plan across the five countries. Underpinned by the strong partnership between UNHCR and UNDP, the 3RP continues to adapt and strives to provide a response that helps to meet protection and other acute needs, as well as enhancing the resilience capacities of individuals, families, and the national and local institutions supporting them.
3RP partners will also seek to redouble efforts on two important fronts. First, working concretely towards securing durable solutions for refugees, including enhancing our efforts on resettlement and related to voluntary, safe and dignified return. Second, to strengthen our work across the Humanitarian-Development Nexus and better connect our response with longer term national strategies for inclusive growth and sustainable development. This in line with the Global Compact for Refugees and will be key to preserving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in host countries. The 3RP pledges to strengthen coordination and collaborations with all national and international stakeholders, including International Finance Institutions and the private sector, to make this a reality.
More than ever, 3RP partners remain grateful for the generosity and support of the international community and count on their assistance for the coming year. We look forward to working together in partnership in the year ahead during this critical time for the region and its people.
UNDP Director a.i., Regional Bureau for Arab States
UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa Bureau and Regional Refugee Coordinator the Syria and Iraq situations