The Government of Jordan and the United Nations launch a new partnership platform to support refugee-hosting communities in Jordan
Amman - The Government of Jordan launched today in Amman a new partnership platform that will enable the United Nations Development Group and the donor community to scale up their support to national efforts to cope with the spill over effects of the Syrian crisis on human development in the kingdom, in a planned and coordinated manner.
The platform launched by HE Dr Ibrahim Saif, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, will serve as the main forum for national and international partners to plan and strategize support to communities severely affected by the impact of the Syrian crisis. It will also be the principal national platform for the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of support provided to host communities.
Since the outbreak of hostilities in Syria over two years ago, over 500,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Jordan, a country of 6 million people. The government estimates that a similar number has been resident in the country since before the crisis. The strain placed on Jordan’s national and local economy and on communities hosting refugees is vast and threatens to rollback Jordan’s hard won development gains, while also stretching the country’s social fabric.
“Now more than ever, coordination and partnership become a priority to optimize resources. We welcome and strongly support the Government’s leadership in establishing this new partnership platform that ensures national ownership and sustainability, while addressing one of the most important socioeconomic development challenges for the country,” said Costanza Farina, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Jordan
The impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan has been reflected across all areas of life. Increased competition for jobs has driven wages down and increased already high unemployment rates. Housing prices have climbed rapidly. Schools are swelling with new entrants and hospitals and health centers struggling to keep up with new demand. Pressure on the scarce water resources as well as on strained municipal services is growing exponentially.
The latest Government Response Plan of April 2013 estimated the cost of accommodating the Syrian refugees in 2013 at US$851 million, with some US$ 380 million identified as immediate priorities. And while the rate of new refugee inflows slowed slightly over the summer months, current events with respect to the Syria crisis point to the possibility of new waves over the remainder of 2013 and into the near future.
Areas close to the Syrian border are especially hard-hit. In the north-western Governorate of Ramtha, Syrian refugees amount to 50 per cent of the local population. All hospital beds across the Governorate are now occupied, with many more patients awaiting medical attention. And the now-increased population is currently producing 750 tonnes of solid waste per day, more than double the pre-crisis level – straining local infrastructure and presenting new challenges to public health.
While the international community and the United Nations are providing considerable support to refugees hosted in camps, such as the “Zaatari”, where over 120,000 are now taking refuge, the needs of the Jordanian communities have yet to receive commensurate attention and the financial support needed.
Boosting support to host communities is key to linking short-term humanitarian action to addressing medium and longer-term development needs and moving towards sustainability, national ownership and resilience. The United Nations and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation hope that the new partnership and coordination mechanism will help the global community to more effective address the multidimensional needs of Jordanian host communities at this critical time.
“The Government and people of Jordan have been extraordinarily generous and have shown tremendous solidarity with their Syrian brothers and sisters in their time of greatest peril and greatest need. While this will surely continue, it must not come at the cost of development of the Jordanian people themselves”, said Sima Bahous, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the Regional United Nations Development Group for the Arab States. “The United Nations Development Group is responding to the need to help Jordan withstand this pressure and persevere this crisis.”
Nora Isayan, Communications Officer - Office of UN Resident Coordinator, Jordan
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