New study provides pragmatic suggestions to help in creating decent employment and expand economic opportunities for Syrian refugees and communities hosting them

Apr 5, 2017

Brussels - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Food Programme (WFP) launched today, on the side-lines of the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, their joint report entitled “Jobs Makes the Difference: Expanding Economic Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities.” In line with the discussion in the EU-hosted Conference held today, the six-country study argues that expanding access to economic opportunities for those affected by the Syrian crisis must be a priority. However, it is equally makes it clear that the current response to the crisis, despite recent successes, is unlikely to be sufficient.

The Syria crisis has entered its seventh year and its impact extends far beyond the region. Neighbouring countries remain at the front line as the number of Syrian refugees reaches an all-time high, exceeding 5 million for the first time since the start of the crisis.

In the Supporting Syria and the Region conference – held in London in February 2016 – countries hosting refugees from Syria and the international community agreed to create 1.1 million new jobs for Syrian refugees
and their hosts. The study launched today reflected on efforts thus far to reach that target and challenges faced
in this regard.

Jobs Makes the Difference is a bottom up analysis that draws largely on qualitative data, primarily drawn from around 120 interviews on the humanitarian and development aspects of the crisis, conducted with representatives from business communities, governments, NGOs, donors and international organizations in Egypt, Jordan, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, and supplemented with a review of existing studies and verified through expert consultations.

“The first priority for Syria is peace, and we cannot emphasize this enough. However even in times of crisis, people need to find ways to live in dignity and to make a living,” said Mourad Wahba, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States.

“The Jobs Makes the Difference study recognizes the central role that host countries in the region play in responding to the protracted crisis, and acknowledges the important policy shifts that they have pursued to help people affected by the crisis get preserve their livelihoods as we all look forward to peace.”

The launch of the study featured a panel including Mr. Wahba as well as Ruba Jaradat, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Arab States, ILO; Amir Mahmoud Abdulla, Deputy Executive Director, WFP; Yannick le Glenmarec, Deputy Executive Director of UNWomen; Ingrid Gabriela Hoven, Director- General, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany; and H.E. Martin Bille Hermann, State Secretary for Development Policy, Denmark; and was moderated by Amin Awad, Regional Director, UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The key conclusion of the “Jobs make the Difference” assessment is that only a well-coordinated joint effort can achieve the immediate scaling up of employment generating opportunities, as well as greater effectiveness, accountability and consistency. In response, several UN agencies, including, FAO, ILO, IOM, UNDP, UN HABITAT, UNHCR and WFP have agreed to initiate discussions on how to bring the collective capacities of UN Agencies together in an integrated partnership for decent work and livelihoods.

The report is available for download at

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