Government of Japan Contributes US$5.9 Million to Enhance Agricultural Productivity and Improve Livelihoods in Syria

February 29, 2024
Japan and UNDP Sign US$5.9 million agreement to improve livelihoods in Syria

Signing ceremony in New York: SHINO Mitsuko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations and Abdallah Al Dardari, UNDP Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator, and Regional Director

Damascus, 29 February 2024 – The Government of Japan announced a new contribution of US$5.9 million to the United Nations Development Programme to improve agriculture and the livelihoods of people affected by the protracted crisis and the earthquakes that hit Syria in 2023.

The Government of Japan’s Emergency Grant Aid contribution will improve essential services through the utilization of water management and energy solutions and enhance the capacities in climate change resilient practices over a two-year period. Through these interventions, the project aims to strengthen resilience, protect valuable resources, and directly improve the livelihoods and well-being of around 64,050 people living in Rural Damascus and Rural Aleppo. In addition, over 140,000 people in those vulnerable communities will indirectly benefit from the project.

Japan has continued to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to Syria, with a particular focus on resilience. Food security and responding to climate change are among the most important elements in people's lives. The project is recognised as an important contribution to addressing these issues.” said Mr Hirofumi Miyake, Charge d’Affairs and Special Coordinator for Syria.

Enhancing access to essential services will be done by rehabilitating sewage networks, a landfill, and installing a wastewater treatment mobile unit. The unit will support water management through the provision of non-traditional sources of water and rehabilitating an irrigation canal to decrease water loss. The rehabilitation of the wastewater unit and its associated sewage and agricultural networks is anticipated to benefit around 35,000 people residing in the targeted areas. Furthermore, 25,000 people are expected to benefit from solid waste collection and the rehabilitation of landfills. The rehabilitation works will generate 550 job opportunities and cash for work for solid waste collection.

UNDP Resident Representative, Sudipto Mukerjee, thanked the Government of Japan for their contribution through UNDP, highlighting their pivotal role in humanitarian assistance and recovery. “Japan has always been a strategic and very committed partner for UNDP, more significantly so in Syria, where food security is under threat. In addition to the impact of the crisis and earthquakes, climate change and unreliable water supply is making it harder for farmers to grow enough food to feed their families and earn a decent income to cover their needs,” he added. “Japan’s support will enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable and contribute to climate adaptation and mitigation efforts in the area”.

To complement the rehabilitation works, 300 farmers and technicians (40 per cent women) will be trained in the application of sustainable, resilient agricultural practices, including efficiency in water use and irrigation methods. Two hundred and fifty farmers will be provided with agricultural inputs, and the remaining 50 (mainly women-headed households) will receive value-chain support, including training and start-up grants.

Syria continues to grapple with substantial challenges regarding its water resources. It is estimated that the water requirement per hectare is approximately 8,000 – 10,000 cubic meters per year[1]. The agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in Syria's economy, particularly in rural communities, where 80 per cent of the rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods[2]. Following the crisis, the water sector's efficiencies and performance deteriorated. The February 2023 earthquakes exacerbated the situation further, causing enormous damage to urban and rural areas, especially irrigation infrastructure and water resources. 

For further information, please contact:

Dania Darwish, Communications Specialist, Tel: 00963 (11) 6129811 | Mobile: 00963 989857937 – e-mail: For more information on UNDP – Syria see

[1] General Commission for Scientific Agriculture Research in Syria

[2] Humanitarian Needs Overview 2023, OCHA