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Enhancing aid architecture in the regional response to the Syria crisis

Research reports

Written by Victoria Metcalfe-Hough, Marcus Manuel, Alastair McKechnie

As the conflict in Syria continues, its political, security, economic and social spill-over effects have intensified across the Middle East and beyond. The flow of refugees from Syria to its neighbours – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – has increased rapidly, with 4.28 million people registered in these five countries.

The surge of refugees seeking asylum in Europe this year has highlighted that ensuring adequate protection and assistance for what is becoming the world’s largest refugee population is beyond both the capacity and the responsibility of countries in the immediate region – it is a global challenge to be addressed collectively by the international community.

To date, the response on the ground has been overwhelmingly focused on meeting immediate needs. Much of the support has come from host governments and communities. In addition, over US$7 billion has been provided by international donors to support emergency programmes in protection, food security, health and education. While much progress has been made, such short-term efforts are inadequate and inappropriate given the protracted nature of this displacement crisis.

This policy note outlines a simplified but strategic approach to enhancing the aid architecture for the region, enabling flexibility in country-level implementation and responsiveness to conditions on the ground. It emphasises the need for focused and timely action for refugees, while recognising the need to maintain a simultaneous focus on both acute needs and medium term livelihood support for the foreseeable future.

Victoria Metcalfe, Marcus Manuel and Alastair McKechnie