Written by Patryk Pawlak, Graphics by Christian Dietrich, Since the beginning of the fighting in Syria in 2011, the conflict…
The EU contribution to building refugee and host community resilience (29 January 2016)
Written by Patryk Pawlak,
Graphics by Christian Dietrich,
Since the beginning of the fighting in Syria in 2011, the conflict has forced over 4.5 million Syrians to flee the country and seek refuge across the region – primarily in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Another 6.6 million people have been displaced internally. A political solution to the conflict in Syria still remains elusive, with air raids and military activities intensifying over the past weeks. Humanitarian access to 394 000 people living in besieged areas is also very difficult – and at times impossible.
Supporting Syria and the region
To address the dire humanitarian situation of Syrians and the host communities across the region, the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, and the United Nations co-hosted on 4 February the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region 2016’ conference. The conference raised a record amount of over US$ 11 billion in pledges – US$5.8 billion for 2016 (around US$2 billion short of US$7.73 billion needed) and a further US$5.4 billion for 2017-20. An additional US$40 billion in loans on concessional terms were pledged by multilateral development banks and donors. The funding will go towards the immediate needs outlined in the 2016 Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) as well as humanitarian, resilience and development financial commitments (up to 2020). In addition, the funding will also go towards strengthening resilience of Syrians and the host communities by creating economic opportunities, jobs and educational opportunities. Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon – the main refugee-hosting countries – agreed to take steps to open up their labour markets to refugees and to improve regulation and the investment climate. It is estimated that as an outcome, up to 1.1 million jobs will be created for refugees from Syria and host country citizens in the region by 2018. In order to ensure that conflict in Syria will not result in a lost generation, the donors have also committed to put into quality education 1.7 million children by the end of the 2016/2017 school year.
Translating commitments into action
To date, the total humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance provided by the EU and its Member States to Syrians and Syrian refugees has amounted to over €4.4 billion. Following the proposal to increase the resources to tackle the refugee crisis, the EU adopted budgetary amendments that will bring the EU’s response in 2015 and 2016 close to €10 billion. At the London conference, the EU has pledged over €3 billion in additional funding. To allow for more flexible and speedy reaction in response to shifting needs, the European Union has also created the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis (Madad Fund) with the overall objective to support the resilience of refugees from Syria, as well as of the communities hosting the refugees and their administrations.
Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011 the EU has gradually scaled up its support to countries in the region. In Lebanon, the European Commission’s assistance alone has reached almost €546 million, including more than €269 million from the humanitarian budget. In Jordan, Commission assistance amounts to some €580 million for Syrian refugees and host communities and is spent primarily on food aid and the provision of clean water and sanitation, as well as health services and protection. The biggest share of the funding is destined for assistance to Turkey. In November 2015, the EU committed to provide Turkey with €3 billion – to be coordinated by the Refugee Facility for Turkey – in addition to €175 million for Syrian and Iraqi refugees already provided since the beginning of the crisis, including the above humanitarian aid as well as longer-term assistance. The Joint Action Plan which was endorsed by EU leaders on 15 October 2015 identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the EU and Turkey aimed at providing more coordinated help to people in need of protection in Turkey. Finally, in order to better respond to humanitarian challenges along the Western Balkans route, the European Commission agreed to release €13 million destined primarily for refugees in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, bringing the total amount of the EU humanitarian aid to the Western Balkans to €21.74 million.
Humanitarian response beyond Syria
The conflict in Syria has its roots in structural and economic problems that were already widespread in Syria in the early 2000s. Prior to the violent uprising of 2011, the countries of the greater Fertile Crescent had experienced one of the most severe droughts in history. The international community was slow to respond to the appeals by major donor organisations: according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UN OCHA), as of June 2010, only 33% of the required assistance had been provided. Today, many countries around the world face similar challenge. According to the UNHCR, fifteen new conflicts have broken out or have reignited in the past five years. The number of conflicts that last longer than five years is also growing. Even though there is no general trend, it is worth noting that the number of crises requiring humanitarian response in 2015 was more than double compared to fifteen years ago, while the amount of requested funding has increased almost ten times. In 2015, UN OCHA has launched 31 humanitarian response plans for the total amount of US$19.2 billion, out of which 64% have been funded. At the same time, while certain crises have attracted donors’ attention – notably Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Nepal – others have remained seriously underfunded, including Gambia (5%), Sahel region (15%), Senegal (21%), Burkina Faso (31%) or Mali (35%). The situation in 2016 does not look much different. The total funding requested at the beginning of the year amounts to US$14.8 billion but this amount is likely to be revised upwards. The response plans for Syria will consume over 50% of that amount. In practical terms, this potentially implies fewer resources for other countries, including other hotspots like Mali, Niger, Cameroon or Libya.
Humanitarian response plans 2016 (US$bn)
Humanitarian response (2000-2016)
The EU contribution to building refugee and host community resilience (29 January 2016)
The central task of the Members Research Service is to ensure that all Members of the European Parliament are provided with analysis of, and research on, policy issues relating to the European Union, in order to assist them in their parliamentary work.
European Parliament Plenary Session – December 2023
Relations ahead of the 24th EU-China summit
EU-New Zealand free trade agreement – One step closer to ratification [International Agreements in Progress][Policy Podcast]
Youth participation in European elections
EU financial assistance to Palestine
The G20 in a time of geopolitical upheaval
2023 Sakharov Prize laureate: Jina Mahsa Amini and the Woman, Life, Freedom Movement in Iran
COP28 climate change conference in Dubai
EU-US critical minerals agreement: Building stronger supply chains together
Argentina: Outcome of the 2023 elections – Beginning of a new era?
Generative AI: opportunities, risks and challenges
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.
The present website is hosted by WordPress.com, a service by Automattic. Automattic is a global company with thousands of servers located in several separate data centres around the world. While Automattic takes care of the security of the platform, we, the European Parliamentary Research Service, own the content of the blog. For more detailed information about the compliance of Automattic products and services with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), please see their dedicated page.
We do not collect any personal data that could identify an individual user. The users that are registered in WordPress.com should consult wordpress.com terms of service. We do collect anonymised aggregate data for statistical purposes. The data collected for this purposes include: number of visits/visitors per page, the country of the user, and aggregate numbers of incoming and outgoing clicks.
We determine unique page counts by using a “hashed” version of the visitor’s IP address. The visitor’s full IP address is deleted from our logs after a little over a month. That timeframe is how long the data is needed in order to allow us to calculate your stats on a monthly basis and no longer.
We collect your email address only if you proactively requested to be notified about the updates on the blog. You can always contact us to remove your email address from our records or unsubscribe from the notification service.
We can also see your name and email address if you made a comment to one of our posts. We do not make the email address visible on the comment. Nevertheless, on request, we can delete your comments.
We collect cookies only to facilitate your browsing experience, such as enabling you to share our posts via social media or comment on the post. The majority of cookies will be used only if you are a registered WordPress.com user. In this case, you are bound to WordPress.com terms of service.
Some pages embed content from third parties. In this case, you will need to actively consent to their terms in order to see the content.