Since the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the Syria crisis was first launched in December 2014, the humanitarian and development situation has deteriorated or continues to be under threat both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.
Over the last 12 months, the number of registered Syrian refugees in the Republic of Turkey, the Lebanese Republic, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Iraq, and the Arab Republic of Egypt has increased by more than 1 million, bringing the overall total to almost 4.3 million. Based on the most recent trends in displacement and population growth, and with access to safety in some countries becoming increasingly managed, it is expected that some 4.7 million Syrian refugees will be registered in the region by the end of 2016.
Fighting has intensified in almost all Syrian governorates, driving thousands more people from their homes. The 2016 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan estimates that there are 13.5 million people in need, of whom 6 million are children and 6.5 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs). A political solution is urgently needed to end the conflict in Syria and bring about peace, stability and eventual voluntary return of displaced people in safety and with dignity.
INCREASING VULNERABILITIES AND IMPACTS
After almost five years, refugees from Syria are losing hope that a political solution will soon be found to end the conflict in their homeland. They have limited livelihood and education opportunities, and living conditions in exile are steadily deteriorating. Savings have been depleted and valuables have been sold to cover rent, food and other basic needs. Refugees have become increasingly vulnerable to protection risks, and many resort to negative coping mechanisms such as child labour and early marriage.
The crisis continues to have an enormous social and economic impact on the host countries, with many local, municipal and national services such as health, education and water under severe strain.
Vulnerable host community populations have reported decreases in wages and deteriorating working conditions due to increased competition for low- and unskilled jobs.
With the 3RP only 50 per cent funded in 2015, the shortfall in funding for humanitarian and resilience-building activities is exacerbating these problems and is among the triggers for the large-scale movement of refugees further afield, including more than 440,000 Syrians who have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015.
THE RESPONSE: 3RP 2016-2017 The 2016-2017
3RP brings together more than 200 partners in a coordinated region-wide response to the Syria crisis. In 2016, the 3RP appeal is USD 5.78 billion for the total programmatic response of Governments, United Nations agencies, inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This represents an overall increase of 10 per cent in the appeal compared to the corresponding 2015 figure, reflecting a rise in the number of refugees in the region, their increased vulnerabilities, an increase in host Government requirements, and a greater focus on service delivery through local and municipal systems to reduce duplication and build resilience.
Within the USD 5.78 billion programmatic requirements of the national plans, United Nations agencies, IGOs and NGO partners are appealing for up to USD 4.55 billion to support those national plans, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the revised 2015 appeal. This small increase reflects continued efforts to make the response more effective, targeted and efficient, including through cash-based interventions to provide assistance for food and other basic needs such as rent and household items. Agencies are undertaking improved targeting of resources and assistance to the most vulnerable.
After large investments in establishing camp infrastructure in Jordan and Iraq in recent years, the Shelter Sector is appealing for a reduced amount in 2016 as it moves towards a maintenance phase in camps.
There are significant increases compared to 2015 in the Education Sector and in the Livelihoods and Social Cohesion sector, reflecting key strategic directions of the response in 2016-2017. Agencies aim to help the more than 700,000 out-of-school refugee children to access learning, as well as make significant investments to support the capacity of national systems to cope with the increased number of students. The increase in the Livelihoods and Social Cohesion Sector reflects a desire by 3RP partners to further policy change, offer life-skill and vocational training as well as support small and medium initiatives that offer refugees and unor under-employed nationals livelihood opportunities.
The requirements reflect an overall increase in the Resilience Component which is aimed at providing a more sustainable response. Of the USD 4.55 billion interagency appeal, USD 2.82 billion (62 per cent) is to address immediate protection and assistance needs within the Refugee Component while USD 1.73 billion (38 per cent) is in support of the Resilience Component, including investments in livelihoods and support to national knowledge, capacities and systems. This represents a greater share (38 per cent in 2016 versus 29 per cent in 2015) of resources in the Resilience Component. Some 4 million members of impacted host communities will be directly targeted for assistance under the 3RP in 2016.
The 3RP partners emphasize and reiterate the importance of donors disbursing funds earlier in the year, and request multi-year funding to assist in better planning, predictability, and delivery of longer-term, resilience-based interventions. With this in mind the total indicative requirements for the 2017 programmatic response of Governments, United Nations agencies, IGOs and NGOs is USD 2.99 billion (excluding Lebanon which does not have an indicative budget for 2017), although this will be subject to change in line with the evolving situation. The 3RP, with its linked refugee and resilience components, is designed to encourage donors to support a new aid architecture by significantly expanding and harmonizing funding allocations from their different funding streams.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY AND RESPONSIBILITY-SHARING
The Syria regional crisis is an increasingly global one, and greater international solidarity and responsibility-sharing are needed. Refugees need international protection and require access to safety, including protection from refoulement.
While many countries around the world have responded in 2015 with additional resettlement places, there is still a need for additional opportunities for resettlement and other forms of admission, such as humanitarian visas, private sponsorship, scholarships for tertiary education and facilitated access to family reunion.
It is vital that the international community provides adequate funding to address the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in host countries. At the same time, resilience-planning must be embedded in the process in order to provide support to nationals, local authorities and state institutions as well as to prevent any further deterioration of development gains.
Simultaneously, the national response plans are more integrated and designed to respond to the impact of the Syria crisis on host communities.
Greater support needs to be provided to Governments in the region, which continue to generously host significant numbers of refugees and are struggling to address the magnitude of the needs. In 2016, the 3RP will continue and expand the approach of providing protection and assistance for refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and other vulnerable communities (the Refugee Component), while building the resilience of individuals, families, communities and institutions in impacted host countries (the Resilience Component).
Taking stock of progress in 2015, and looking forward to the key policy and programmatic challenges and opportunities in the coming years, 3RP partners have outlined a number of strategic directions for 2016-2017. These key focus areas are listed below, and outlined in the following pages.