Syrian refugee girl in Qushtapa Camp in Iraq. Photo by: Klaus Bo Christensen

Refugees face similar challenges across Syria’s neighbouring countries

Refugees face similar challenges across Syria’s neighbouring countries, a new report by a coalition of 28 NGOs has found, warning that long-term efforts are still needed by the international community and host governments.


Released against the backdrop of the “Supporting Syrians and the Region Conference” in Helsinki, slated for January 24, the report looked at changes in the legal status, education and jobs conditions of Syrians in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon one year after the London conference, which presented a “comprehensive new approach” to addressing the protracted Syrian crisis in February 2016.

“We urge the international community to ensure that the generous commitments made last year mark a new era of collaboration, solidarity and responsibility sharing to respond to the needs of Syrian refugees, internally displaced and host communities,” says Gerry Garvey, Regional Director for the Danish Refugee Council in Middle East and North Africa.

Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 4.8 million have fled Syria to its neighbouring countries, while UN numbers show more than 9 million inside Syria in urgent need of assistance. At last year’s conference, donors committed to longer term funding while host governments committed to significant policy changes. The new report from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and 27 other organisations takes stock of the progress on these commitments.

“While important steps have been taken, much more remains unaccomplished — not least when it comes to witnessing a measurable and sustainable impact on people’s lives. There is a continued need for more predictable and equitable responsibility sharing for refugees,” Gerry Garvey says. 

Relevant government actors, UN, INGOs and Syrian NGOs will meet in Helsinki to follow up on the situation for Syrian refugees in the region. At the London conference, donors had pledged $6 billion for 2016. By September 2016, over $6.3 billion had been committed in grants for 2016, exceeding pledges by 5%. However, there is still room for progress. One of the aspirations of the London conference was to generate long-term funding commitments. While $6.1 billion was pledged for 2017-2020, currently only $607.9 million has been committed.

“One of the successes of the London Conference was the recognition that humanitarian aid alone is not an adequate response to the massive crisis inside Syria and the strains placed on refugee hosting countries. But at the same time, we've seen an increasingly restrictive environment for refugees emerge across many countries since the London Conference, including in Europe and the US. Globally, we currently witness a lack of resettlement opportunities. And with continued closed borders of many of the neighbouring countries, this is part of a global situation where Syrians risk being caught inside their war torn homeland,” says Gerry Garvey

Read the report here

The Danish Refugee Council is one of the largest organisations working with the Syrian displaced. With multi-sector programmes covering both humanitarian and development needs inside Syria as well as neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey, DRC is a central actor in the response to the protracted Syrian crisis. DRC Secretary General, Andreas Kamm and Regional Director for MENA; Gerry Garvey will participate in the Helsinki conference.