Towards a Resilience-based Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

18 Jun 2014

A critical review of vulnerability criteria and frameworks

The Syrian crisis has resulted in more than 100,000 deaths and the displacement of over two million people. For countries in the region, the combination of refugee flows and decreased economic activity with Syria have affected growth, economic performance, fiscal health and the provision of basic services. In light of these impacts, a ‘resilience-based development approach’ was endorsed by the Regional United Nations Development Group (UNDG) in November 2013. The approach seeks to ensure that basic resources and infrastructures can cope with the pressure from the increased demand resulting from refugee flows, that households are supported to recover and that declining economic performance and deteriorating social cohesion can be arrested and reversed.


This report supports the operationalisation of a resilience-based development approach to dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis by exploring how stakeholders understand the current challenges and approach vulnerability and criteria that could inform the targeting and prioritisation of resilience-based development efforts. While the resilience-based approach is not limited to a particular context, the focus of the paper primarily on Lebanon and Jordan, which respectively host 38% and 23% of refugees in the sub-region.


The report argues that an analysis framework, as opposed to categorical criteria, would allow a more in-depth analysis of root causes of vulnerability and allow appropriate development response to the Syria Crisis.


The report indicates that processes and structures are in place that can support the response analysis and decision-making. While they are by no means perfect, there are multiple sources of data available to support these types of analysis, including the assessments underpinning the National Resilience Plan of Jordan and Lebanon Stabilisation Roadmap. 


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