Brussels Conference on Syria

March 30, 2021


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

Ten years into the Syria crisis, the needs are greater than ever -- both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries. That is due to existing challenges that are now being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the number of people in need amongst refugees and host communities is higher than any other time in the crisis -- with the level of vulnerability now growing.

Indeed, while people’s needs have grown, secured funding is on a downward trend.

Therefore, renewed and enhanced support to refugees and host communities and host Governments is absolutely critical.


The UN’s socio-economic assessments led by UN Country Teams and UNDP show how the pandemic is deepening inequalities and increasing vulnerabilities for populations at large -- including for women and young people.

Across the region, the situation is now stark:

  •  In Lebanon, nine out of 10 Syrian refugee families are now living in extreme poverty while 55% of the Lebanese population is living in poverty -- up from 28% in 2019.
  • In Jordan, 65% of the most vulnerable and poor households reported losing their job in 2020.3
  • In Turkey, it is estimated that at least 1.8 million Syrians live in poverty.

Ten years into this crisis, and despite the extremely challenging circumstances, the countries neighbouring Syria are showing enormous generosity by hosting millions of refugees from Syria for the past ten years -- for which, we must express our deep gratitude.

3RP Results

In response to these challenging circumstances, the 3RP continues to be a “beacon of hope”.

Since 2015, the 3RP has provided some $17 billion of support to meet protection and humanitarian needs and build resilience.

The results of 3RP on the ground in the resilience component since 2017 have been substantial.

  • The 3RP has provided $1.5 billion of support to national and local institutions to construct new schools, hospitals, and water networks -- it has also helped to train over 400,000 teachers and 30,000 healthcare workers to deliver these basic services.
  • It is supporting some 20,000 SMEs.
  • It has generated job opportunities for 290,000 women and men.
  • And the 3RP has provided more than 400,000 people with new skills through training courses that will improve their chances of landing decent employment.

Such support is sending a clear message: those affected by this crisis are NOT alone -- and they CANNOT be left behind -- whether it be host Governments, host communities, Syrian refugees, or the people in Syria.

In 2021, the 3RP will support over 10 million vulnerable people. That includes over 5.5 million refugees from Syria and 4.8 million members of host communities -- the highest number of people in need since the beginning of this crisis.

The “Ask”

This leads to my two main messages today:

1. Firstly, investing in development-based resilience responses is critical during a crisis. It simply CANNOT wait until after.

While it is true that so much has been achieved – much more needs to be done. And it needs to be done immediately.

That involves addressing the downward trend for support to the 3RP since 2018.5 Look to 2020, where the 3RP only reached 53% of its funding goal.

2. My second message is to reiterate the fundamental need to invest in resilience.

This investment will strengthen the capacities of national and local institutions to deliver quality services for all.

It will also help to give people the skills they need to access new opportunities in the form of sustainable jobs and livelihoods.

The case for investment in resilience is clear, and so are our results.

Yet the 3RP resilience response remains underfunded. Resilience interventions were only 44% funded in 2020 compared to 50% in 2019.

This year, 3RP partners are appealing for $2.7 billion to continue building resilience in host countries.

For its part, UNDP is calling for $381.9 million to allow it to offer continued support. That includes work to expand livelihoods opportunities, providing tailored support to municipalities and fostering social cohesion.

Inside Syria

Please allow me to say a few words about the situation inside Syria.

With livelihoods opportunities and incomes rapidly evaporating amid the pandemic and poverty rates soaring to 90% -- essential services are being pushed to the brink including in health, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).

In this context, an additional 2 million people are in need in Syria this year. This could send further shockwaves across the region. It would also delay any prospects of the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of refugees.

Faced with this reality, it will be critical to scale-up resilience and early recovery assistance for communities in Syria.

At this pivotal moment of overlapping crises that are imposing unimaginable hardships on people across the region -- we hope that the international community will continue to respond positively to the resilience appeals -- under both the HRP8 and the 3RP.

We commend Governments, implementation partners, and donors for their strong engagement in 3RP to date. It is the only crisis-response platform in the world that brings together humanitarian and development responses in a single framework.

With your help – humanitarian, development and peace actors can scale-up our work together to prevent a worsening situation.

And this investment will not only provide people with the hope they need NOW – but it will deliver the CERTAINTY of a much brighter future tomorrow.

Thank you

United Nations chiefs urge donors to support record appeals for Syrians and the region