Responding to the crisis in Syria

Four years into the conflict in Syria, the fighting has now drastically rolled back the region’s human development achievements perhaps by decades.

As well as killing more than 120,000 people and displacing 6.5 million, the crisis has caused rampant unemployment and left more than 50 percent of the population of Syria in poverty. At the same time, as millions of Syrians seek refuge in neighboring countries, already vulnerable host communities are struggling with the influx of new refugees.


  • 12.6 million Syrians now living in poverty and 4.4 million in extreme poverty because of the crisis
  • 2.3 million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa
  • Refugees now make up approximately 20 percent of the population in Jordan and more than 25 percent in Lebanon
  • Over 120,000 killed in fighting, with close to 600,000 injured, and 9.3 million now need humanitarian assistance

Insufficient services such as health, education, sanitation, housing and socio-economic infrastructure, coupled with a collapse in economic opportunity and increased competition for jobs, are exacerbating deprivation. Rising tensions have begun to threaten social cohesion and the rule of law.

As one of the biggest development agencies in Syria present before the crisis began, UNDP works with affected communities to help them cope, rebuild, recover and protect development gains, for example by providing temporary jobs to affected people, clearing debris and helping local businesses to recover productive assets.

In countries neighboring Syria, UNDP supports host communities to cope with the influx of refugees, improving infrastructure, boosting local economic and employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups, such as young people, those with disabilities and women - while helping to resolve, mediate and prevent conflict.

UNDP’s development approach focuses on building resilience and ensuring that communities not only recover from the crisis but also improve their long-term development prospects.

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    With the crisis in Syria now entering its fourth year, the devastating cost in human suffering shows no clear sign of abating. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the crisis has set Syria’s development back an estimated 35 years, a legacy which may require decades to reverse. more