INTRODUCTION & CONTEXT
After eight years of conflict, Syria remains the largest refugee crisis in the world. There are 5.6 million Syrian refugees hosted across the region, and over 6.2 million more are displaced inside Syria. As the Syria crisis enters its ninth year, Egypt remains a destination country for Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers. As of December 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Egypt has registered 254,726 refugees and asylum-seekers1 from 58 nationalities, and Syrian refugees remain the largest population among them. Despite the absence of a land border with Syria, 129,210 individuals (51 per cent of the total refugee and asylumseeker population) are from Syria, including 83,612 children (35 per cent of the entire Syrian refugee population). In 2019, the number of new arrivals of Syrians has decreased compared to previous years. From January to December 2019, 6,281 Syrians were newly registered with UNHCR.
Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 Convention and is committed to abide by the non-refoulement principle. The protection environment for refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt remains conducive. Syrians are welcomed in the country and there is a favorable treatment by society and authorities alike. While visa requirements introduced in July 2013 for Syrians entering Egypt are maintained, a number of Syrians continue to enter Egypt, including on the basis of family reunification. The Government of Egypt (GoE) continues to allow refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR to regularize their residency and grants six-month renewable residence permits.
In July 2019, GoE moved to a new Emigration and Nationality Administration Office in order to improve the processing of residence permits. However, the lengthy process to obtain and renew residence permit remains a major challenge for many refugees.
Syrian refugees mostly reside in urban areas alongside Egyptian communities across the country, and are mainly concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria and Damietta. They continue to have access to public education and health services on equal footing to Egyptians.. Such sharing of public services and subsidies represents an added challenge for the Egyptian economy, which has already been facing difficulties over recent years.
The GoE is exerting all efforts to meet its 2030 Vision, which was launched in 2016 and follows the Sustainable Development Goals as a general framework for improving the quality of lives and welfare for the growing population (99 million Egyptians in 20192 ). The Government has embarked on an ambitious reform program and has implemented decisive measures to restore macroeconomic stability which are having a positive impact on the economy as market confidence is growing. Inflation has continued to recede throughout 2019 compared to 20183 . However, continued price hikes of regulated goods and services are adversely affecting households, especially vulnerable groups.
Structural economic changes in Egypt significantly affect all aspects of the lives of refugees and asylum-seekers. As a result, many families are not able to meet their basic needs and are increasingly dependent on humanitarian assistance.
Resilience activities are therefore crucial to support the GoE efforts to provide health services and education to Syrian refugees and further enhance the capacity of national institutions to absorb and respond to the increasing demand on public services.
With generous funding from donors throughout 2019, 3RP partners have been able to address some of the most pressing needs of over 140,000 Syrian refugees in Egypt in sectors of Health, Protection,
Education, Basic Needs, Livelihoods and Food Security. While state institutions already play a key role in supporting Syrian refugees, further assistance is required to provide broad and quality services for both the refugee and host communities. In addition, livelihood and self-reliance among both refugees and Egyptian communities need to be promoted and expanded, as they are likely to face mounting difficulties to meet their basic needs during the next twoyear period.