THE SITUATION - 2022
Unprecedented humanitarian needs, the COVID-19 pandemic, a worsening economic crisis, and funding shortfalls converge to create life-threatening challenges for people in need throughout the region.
In March 2022, the Syria crisis entered its 12th year, marking another grim milestone for Syrians throughout the region. For women and girls, the cumulative impact has been catastrophic, upending decades of progress on women’s issues and bringing unprecedented risks that have fundamentally altered their realities.
Despite the continuing efforts of humanitarian actors, the situation in Syria remains dire, further complicated by a worsening economy, waves of hostilities and mass displacement, and the lingering aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis remains one of the world’s most complex humanitarian and protection emergencies, with 14.6 million estimated in need of assistance, among them 7.2 million women and girls. This reflects a steep increase from the number of people in need reported in 2021 (13.4 million) and in 2020 (11.7 million). Throughout the region, the United Nations and partners have identified nearly 26.5 million people in need of assistance as a result of this crisis, including approximately 12 million refugees and host community members.
When the crisis passed the decade mark in 2021, the world was already a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and an array of other humanitarian situations were emerging. Among the millions of Syrians who have spent the last 11 years surviving conflict, displacement, economic collapse, and mounting risks to their safety, many feel their calls for help have been increasingly drowned out.
Women and girls pay the steepest price
The crisis has created a daunting array of challenges for women and girls, who are paying the steepest price of ongoing hostilities, economic collapse, climate-related challenges, among others. The lives of Syrian women and girls are marked by mutually reinforcing forms of gender-based violence and gender discrimination. Highly unequal gender practices, often exacerbated by discriminatory attitudes based on age, displacement status, disability, and/or marital status, create an environment in which women and girls are devalued, controlled, and blamed for the violence they face.
“Violence against women and girls has become so common after the crisis,” explains Shaza, an adolescent girl from Qamishli. “Many women in my family are struggling and cannot find the right support. I see more women being beaten by men in their families, and sometimes in public.”
Moreover, these risks are further compounded by the deteriorating economy and widespread poverty, lack and loss of livelihoods, destruction and loss of housing and property, protracted and multiple cycles of displacement, substandard living conditions (even for people in areas of relative stability), and shortage of natural resources. This is further increasing reliance on negative coping mechanisms such as early and forced marriage and sexual exploitation and abuse.
Even more alarming are the reports by women and girls stating that the violence against them has become normalised as a result of years of instabilities. Harassment, intimate partner and family violence, child and forced marriage and subsequent pregnancies, and sexual violence and exploitation are consistently reported, while new trends, such as various forms of technology-facilitated violence, have also been observed in recent years.
And yet, despite the enormous challenges levelled against them, Syrians throughout the region refuse to give up. People of different ages and backgrounds, including women and girls who have survived gender-based violence, continue to demonstrate remarkable resilience and determination. Many rise above their challenges and traumas to provide better prospects and opportunities for their children and loved ones, while others defy circumstances to become artists, activists, innovators, and influential voices in their communities.
UNFPA continues to show up
UNFPA and humanitarian actors will continue to advocate for the rights and wellbeing of women and girls impacted by this crisis. In 2021, as part of its regional response to the crisis, UNFPA delivered SRH services to more than 1.1 million people, while more than 600,000 were reached with services designed to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including 200,000 adolescent girls. More than 150,000 women were provided with cash assistance, and more than 5,000 LGBTQI+ individuals were served.
In 2022, UNFPA is appealing for a total of USD 145.2 million to fund its regional Syria crisis response, which spans the Whole of Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.
This document provides an overview of all appeals relevant to the countries impacted by the regional Syria crisis, including the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), the Iraq Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), and the Lebanon Emergency Response Plan (ERP).