UNDP's Resilience-based Approach to the Regional Syria Crisis

09 Jan 2014
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Summary

Almost three years into the armed conflict in Syria, the crisis and its spill-over into neighbouring countries is having a deep and widespread effect on development.

The refugee influx, coupled with the dramatic impact of fighting on Syria’s infrastructure and economy, is compromising hard-won development gains and putting the entire future development of the region at risk.

The conflict has rolled back Syria’s human development achievements by 35 years, with more than 50 percent of the population now living in poverty, as households exhaust their savings and coping strategies. The unemployment rate has reached almost 50 percent with 2.33 million jobs lost from the economy in recent years.

 

For the host countries, the large refugee influx is not only changing the demographic balance, which threatens to heighten social tensions, but also causing increased competition for limited resources, such as land, water and jobs.

 

From a development perspective, the enormous influx of refugees in host communities is not matched by an equal expansion of municipal and social services, such as health, education, sanitation, housing and socio-economic infrastructure. Water availability is increasingly critical in a region that has the least water per capita in the world. A collapse in economic opportunity and increased competition for jobs is driving a spike in poverty and unemployment among the most affected host communities, which are already poor and vulnerable. As a result, rising tensions threaten social cohesion and the rule of law.