Responding to the crisis in Syria

Women preserving eggplant harvest in Hama, Syria in 2015.
A displaced Syrian woman dries eggplants as part of a UNDP-supported project to maintain businesses that create jobs and provide food in Hama, Syria. Photo: UNDP Syria, 2015

Five years into the conflict in Syria, over 60% of the population is either internally displaced or has fled the country. The fighting has drastically rolled back the region’s human development achievements from 113 out of 189 in 2010 before the conflict to 173 out of 183 countries by the end of 2014.  


  • 75% of Syrians now live in poverty, 55% are unable to access basic necessities, and 20% living in active conflict zones face starvation and malnutrition.
  • 4.2 million registered refugees are in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa.
  • More than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 1 million injured; 13.5 million now need humanitarian assistance.

More than 250,000 people have been killed and nearly 12 million Syrians are displaced (this includes refugees and internally displaced persons).

Infrastructures and economic sectors have been devastated due to prolonged conflict. Syria has incurred a cumulative economic loss of US$203 billion by the end of 2014, a loss four times its GDP in constant prices in 2010. 54.3% of the Syrian labour force is unemployed (3.339 million people). As a result, over 11 million dependents who relied on primary breadwinners have been affected. 75 % of the population is living in poverty. At the same time, millions of Syrians continue seek refuge in neighboring countries, where already vulnerable host communities are struggling with the influx of new refugees.

What does UNDP do in Syria?

As one of the development agencies in Syria with the largest presence, UNDP works with affected communities to help them cope, rebuild, recover and protect development gains.

Some examples of UNDP's work: providing temporary jobs to affected people; clearing debris and helping local businesses to recover productive assets; supporting basic health services such as ambulatory service, reproductive health support, and assistance for people with disabilities; and creating solid waste removal projects and other initiatives to prevent communicable and diseases which emerge when communities face poor nutrition, low healthcare support, and poor living conditions.

In countries neighbouring Syria, UNDP supports host communities to cope with the influx of refugees by improving infrastructure, and 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 the longer-term development prospects needed to move towards a lasting peace.

UNDP will hold a Resilience Development Forum (RDF) from 8 to 9 November 2015 at the Dead Sea in Jordan. Hosted by the government of Jordan, under the theme “Integrating Responses, Expanding Partnerships,” the Resilience Development Forum will bring together key humanitarian and development stakeholders, including UN agencies, international financial institutions, donors, international and national non-governmental organizations, and the private sector alongside senior government representatives from countries affected by the Syria crisis.

Our stories

Upcoming event

The Resilience Development Forum (RDF) will be held at the Dead Sea, Jordan from 8 to 9 November 2015. The RDF's goal is to create a fundamental shift in the way the international community is responding to the continuing crisis in Syria and the surrounding region.

Learn more
New Publications
Building Resilience: In response to the Syria Crisis-UNDP Integrated Project Portfolio

A summary of UNDP's projects in response to the Syria Regional Crisis in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

Key Publications
Resilience Building: In Response to the Syria Crisis

An overview of UNDP’s ongoing work in the six countries of the sub-region most affected by the crisis

2015 Response Plans for Syria Crisis

Addressing increasing humanitarian, resilience and stabilization needs

365 days of Resilience in Syria

UNDP’s resilience building endeavours in Syria to stabilize livelihoods and strengthen capacities

Beyond Borders: The Syria crisis in pictures
  • UNDP in Lebanon
  • UNDP in Lebanon
  • UNDP in Lebanon
  • UNDP in Lebanon
  • UNDP in Lebanon
  • UNDP in Lebanon

View more photos onFlickr