As of end of December 2019, UNHCR Syria provided community-based protection to 1,735,016 displaced persons, returnees and host community members, including 311,694 individuals provided with legal assistance, 269,533 children with social and recreational activities in community centres, child-friendly spaces, schools and other outreach activities, 99,958 students with remedial and catch-up classes, and 238,004 individuals taking part in awareness sessions on Sexual and GenderBased Violence (SGBV).
Meanwhile, 1,810,927 individuals received at least one core-relief item, 652,620 displaced persons, returnees and host community members benefited from UNHCR’s shelter activities, while 427,596 individuals were supported through UNHCR’s community-based health interventions, as well as 2,833 individuals benefited from the UNHCR’s livelihood programme.
UNHCR recorded 96,253 Syrian refugees having spontaneously returned between January and December 2019. An increase in selforganized returns of refugees in 2019 is expected. UNHCR will continue to respond to the needs of the displaced and refugee returnees with the same implemented community-based protection approach assisting internally displaced Syrians.
Update on Achievements
In the ninth year of the crisis, the humanitarian needs in Syria remained staggering in terms of scale, severity and complexity, with protection risks persisting in a number of areas.
According to OCHA, 11.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 6.1 million people that are internally displaced. Some 5 million people are in acute need due to a convergence of vulnerabilities resulting from displacement, exposure to hostilities and limited access to basic goods and services. There are also 1.1 million people in need in hard-to-reach locations.
With the consolidation of government control and changing territorial landscape, there has been an increasing level and pace of return of IDPs and refugees. In 2019, a total of 96,253 refugees have returned, although these refugee return figures are likely to be higher. The spontaneous IDP return movements are estimated at 494,000.
Moving UNHCR’s operational focus from emergency response to durable solutions continues to be a key priority for the operation throughout the year. People are returning despite challenging circumstances, and the operation aims to provide initial support to returnees and vulnerable population through an area-based approach. It includes immediate shelter repair, legal aid/documentation, community-based protection, primary health, livelihoods and education. Increasing needs for support for returnees also require wider and more predictable humanitarian space for all actors.
Working in partnership
UNHCR continues to serve as the lead agency for the Protection, Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFIs) sectors for the response within Syria and coordinating the Whole of Syria response for protection. UNHCR-led sectors include 74 Protection partners, 27 NFI partners and 26 Shelter partners. Due to the size of the humanitarian operations in Syria, as well as the area-specific issues in different regions, various partners and different levels of access, for NFI/ Shelter and Protection there are six sub-national coordination mechanisms: Aleppo, Damascus, Dar’a/As-Sweida, Homs, Qamishli and Tartous.
As of end of December, UNHCR has partnership agreements with 25 partners including six international NGOs, 17 national NGOs and two government entities; the Ministry of Local Administration and Environment (MoLAE) and Ministry of Higher Education. Out of 11 national partners that have submitted the Partnership Projects with UNHCR for the clearance of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, 10 partners have received the approval so far, while the partnership agreement with one of the local partners in Homs was cancelled. Furthermore, a new procedure of the government requested faith-based NGOs to apply for a clearance for project partnership agreements from MOLAE.