Geneva, 4 April – As the ‘Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ opens, UNHCR and UNDP – on behalf of the 240 international and national partners and the host governments in the region – are extremely concerned by the current low funding levels of the response to help millions of Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.
Into the seventh year of the conflict in Syria, there are now more than 5 million Syrian refugees living in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, and many more who have made the dangerous journey to Europe and farther afield. Yet, as the world prepares to meet in Brussels, only a fraction of the funds needed to assist them has been received.
The primary regional appeal and strategy – the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for 2017 -calls for $4.63bn to continue delivering vital protection and assistance for refugees and host communities. To date – only $433m of the amount requested has been received, just 9% of what is needed.
Without additional funding, all areas of assistance will be curtailed this year. Food and cash assistance will be reduced or cut by mid-year, challenging stability and security in the region. With the majority of Syrian refugees falling below national poverty lines, families will face the impossible choice of taking their children out of school, adding to the half a million children already missing out on education. Support for livelihoods and job creation programmes will be slowed – at a time when unemployment is on the rise for refugees and host communities alike.
“The situation is getting desperate,” said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “We are already seeing children who aren’t able to go to school, families who cannot access adequate shelter or provide for their basic needs.”
“The story is the same throughout the region – water and sanitation services, employment and housing markets are all under strain,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. “UNDP and its 3RP partners are on the ground expanding infrastructure, boosting livelihoods, and fostering community development in response – but the needs are massive and we need more support.”
“We recognise and applaud the donations made so far, but the simple truth is that funding isn’t keeping up with needs,” added Grandi.
The 3RP brings together over 240 partners in a coordinated region-wide humanitarian response, helping over 5 million Syrian refugees and 4.4 million members of host communities in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
The Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region is being held from April 4-5. The conflict in Syria remains the largest humanitarian challenge in the world – with 13.5 million men, women and children inside Syria also in need of urgent assistance.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
In Brussels – Natalia Prokopchuk: firstname.lastname@example.org; +32 471 600891
In Amman – Scott Craig: email@example.com; +962 7 9276 0640
United Nations Development Programme:
In New York – Theodore Murphy: Theodore.firstname.lastname@example.org; +1 718 915 2097
In Geneva – Sarah Bel: email@example.com; +41 22 917 8544
In Amman – Noeman AlSayyad: Noeman.firstname.lastname@example.org; +962 79 567 2901