- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The dramatic increase in the number of refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) across the region in 2012 continues to require a large-scale response to address the needs of both refugees already present in host countries and new arrivals who continue to pour into Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, at a rate of up to several thousand a day. As of early December 2012, humanitarian agencies in these countries had been able to reach over 525,000 Syrian refugees. When the first Syria Regional Response Plan was published in March 2012 (and subsequently revised twice) it initially planned for some 96,500 refugees to receive assistance over a period of six months. As part of the latest revision of the Plan in September 2012, agencies appealed for a total of US$ 487.9 million to cover needs up to the end of 2012. As of 15 November, 51 per cent of this amount had been funded.
This new Regional Response Plan (RRP) takes up from where the previous one left off, setting the strategic objectives and activities for the first six months of 2013. It is based on the achievements and lessons learned from previous plans and is designed to address existing and emerging needs. Given recent trends in arrivals and registration in a context where the crisis in Syria shows no signs of abating, agencies estimate that the number of Syrian refugees may double in the coming six months, to reach 1.1 million people. For the first time, this planning figure covers refugees in Egypt, whose numbers have grown significantly over the past year, and whose assessed needs have prompted their inclusion in this RRP in a separate chapter.
While the Governments of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt have continued to demonstrate their commitment to giving Syrian refugees access to their territory to assure their safety and provide assistance, this generosity has undeniably come at a heavy price for the many communities welcoming the refugees, as well as for the infrastructure and resources of the countries concerned. At a time of social, political and economic upheaval in many of the host countries, further compounded by developments in Syria, this RRP aims to provide lifesaving assistance to refugees while ensuring that the cost of their welcome is not borne by the countries of asylum alone, or by the many local communities which have already shown considerable generosity despite their limited means. Ultimately, burden sharing constitutes one of the key means of maintaining the protection space refugees have been able to enjoy so far. In order to ensure an inclusive approach which does not dissociate refugees from their new environment, the response takes into consideration all those affected by the refugee influx, from third country nationals and refugees of other origins leaving Syria to vulnerable members of host communities. Moreover, the Lebanon chapter of the response now includes activities targeting Palestinians from Syria who have also been forced to flee the country where they had been settled for generations.
The ability of humanitarian agencies to respond effectively and in a timely manner, regardless of the many challenges on the ground, will depend on their close coordination, particularly in view of the disparate nature of the displacement in host countries. To this end, the current Plan brings together the coordinated efforts of over 60 international and national agencies with UNHCR continuing to lead the overall response. Together, agencies are appealing for US$ 1 billion in order to cover the protection and assistance needs of up to 1.1 million Syrian refugees in the region from 1 January until 30 June 2013. The RRP calls for the urgent demonstration of donors’ solidarity with refugees and their commitment to share the cost of their protection and well-being with the countries and peoples who are currently bearing the brunt of the influx.