Resilience-based Development Response to the crisis in Syria and neighbouring Countries

Syrian refugee
A Syrian female farmer plants seeds inside a UNDP-supported farmer's cooperative nursery in the village of Tal Abbas in Akkar, north of Lebanon. Photo: Dalia Khamissy/UNDP

Five years into the conflict in Syria, over 50 percent of the population is either internally displaced or has fled the country. The fighting has drastically rolled back the region’s human development achievements from 113 out of 189 in 2010 before the conflict to 173 out of 183 countries by the end of 2014.  

Over 200,000 people have been killed and nearly 12 million Syrians are displaced (includes refugees and internally displaced persons). Infrastructures and economic sectors have been devastated due to prolonged conflict. Syria has incurred a cumulative economic loss of US$203 billion by the end of 2014, a loss four times its GDP in constant prices in 2010. 54.3% of the Syrian labor force is unemployed (3.339 million people). As a result, over 11 million dependents who relied on primary breadwinners have been affected. 75 percent of the population living in poverty. At the same time, millions of Syrians continue seek refuge in neighboring countries, already vulnerable host communities are struggling with the influx of new refugees.


  • 75 percent of Syrians now living in poverty. Of this 55 percent are unable to access basic food and non-food items for survival. 20 percent living in active conflict zones face abject poverty and are facing starvation and malnutrition.
  • Nearly 3.8 million registered refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa as of March 15 2015.
  • Over 220,000 killed in fighting, with over 800,000 injured, and 12.2 million now need humanitarian assistance.
  • Refugees will soon make up one-third of the population in Lebanon and camp Za’atri in Jordan, which hosts nearly 84,000 Syrian refugees, is the second-largest refugee camp in the world. The Syria Crisis the largest political, humanitarian, and development challenge of our times.
  • 97% of 225,000 Syrian refugees in Iraq are in Kurdistan which also hosts many of the 2.1 million Iraqi Internally Displaced Persons who have fled their homes in Iraq due to ongoing conflicts stemming from the Syria Regional Crisis.

In host countries, insufficient services such as health, education, sanitation, housing and socio-economic infrastructure, coupled with a collapse in economic opportunity and increased competition for jobs, are exacerbating deprivation. Rising tensions have begun to threaten social cohesion and the rule of law.

As one of development agencies in Syria  with the largest presence, UNDP works with affected communities to help them cope, rebuild, recover and protect development gains, for example by providing temporary jobs to affected people, clearing debris and helping local businesses to recover productive assets, supporting basic health services such as ambulatory service, reproductive health support, assistance for people with disabilities, creating solid waste removal projects and other initiatives to prevent communicable and diseases which emerge when communities face poor nutrition, low healthcare support, and poor living conditions.

In countries neighboring Syria, UNDP supports host communities to cope with the influx of refugees by improving infrastructure, and boosting local economic and employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups, such as young people, those with disabilities and women - while helping to resolve, mediate and prevent conflict.

UNDP’s development approach focuses on building resilience and ensuring that communities not only recover from the crisis but also improve the longer-term development prospects needed to move towards a lasting peace.

Projects and Initiatives

  • The 3RP

    The 3RP is an innovative approach that coherently frames together humanitarian and development interventions for a sustainable resilience-based response to the Syria crisis.more 

News on Syria

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