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Istanbul, Turkey – A multi-stakeholder consultation, bringing together over 70 representatives from government, UN agencies, I/NGOs and the private sector from Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq is taking place on 5 – 6 March 2018, in Istanbul.

The two-day event, organized by the UNDP, in partnership with Microsoft, will bring together key actors from across sectors to discuss, explore and develop new business solutions to create jobs and enhance economic prospects for Syrian refugees and the vulnerable communities hosting them.

The consultation builds upon the recommendations made in the Jobs Make the Difference: Expanding Economic Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities assessment, published in 2017. The report was prepared as a partnership between partners: the Regional Development and Protection Programme for the Middle East (RDPP), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Highlighting the importance of bringing together the private sector, government and development agencies, Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative to the Republic of Turkey said “It is critical for all these stakeholders to work hand-in-hand for inclusive business models that cater to those
most vulnerable, and are perfectly aligned with the right policies for a country’s sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Employment generation and sustainable livelihoods remain the most effective way of building resilience and fostering dignity amongst vulnerable host communities and refugees. This consultation, with its diverse list of attendees, aims to assess what’s already being done and to design new initiatives that support creating jobs, starting new businesses, and building workforce skills that business, and the labour market need.

“Private sector accounts for 90% of all jobs, making private-public partnerships crucial when responding to the employability and the integration process of refugees,” underlined Marcos Neto, Director of the UNDP Istanbul International Center for Private Sector Development While steps have been taken to successfully increase the participation of Syrian refugees in the work force across the region, a more concerted effort from the international community to work with the private sector is required in order to bring concrete action to fruition,” said Samuel Rizk, Manager of the UNDP Sub-Regional Response Facility for the Syria Crisis.

“We should foster practical and pragmatic solutions to promote the integration and inclusion of refugees in private business,” said Claudio Tomasi, UNDP Turkey Country Director also highlighting the longstanding relationship between UNDP and the private sector in Turkey.

As the Syria crisis will soon enter its eighth year, solutions are needed to stimulate the business climate and create jobs in Syria and affected neighbouring countries. Given the complexity of the situation, there are many challenges and uncertainties requiring expanded partnership and catalytic investments in knowledge, capacities and resources to generate business growth, attract investment, and create jobs.

“As a global corporate citizen, we’ve made a long-term commitment to working with government agencies, non-profits and other private sector companies to provide aid to victims of humanitarian crises, and help them lead better lives. And with the number of people displaced by political conflicts has grown, we have expanded our efforts, formalizing our program to help more refugees. This is a critical component of our goal to empower and support all people on the planet to achieve more.” Ghada Khalifa, Director, Microsoft Philanthropies, Microsoft Middle East and Africa.

For more information, please contact:
Seema Hunaidi, Communications Advisor, UNDP Sub-Regional Response Facility

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