On March 4th, the European Union, via the Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis, adopted a €130 million assistance package to support Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon in key areas such as social protection, healthcare services or waste management. For Lebanon, the funds will help also alleviating the consequences of the Beirut port blast, which affected both Syrian refugees and Lebanese people.
High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said: "15 March 2021 sadly marks ten years since the start of the Syrian crisis. A tragic anniversary; one we would rather not have. The continuing conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and a general regional economic deterioration have exacerbated the dire conditions across the region. The EU will host the fifth Brussels Conference on “Supporting the future of Syria and the region” on 29 and 30 March to reaffirm international support for the UN efforts for a negotiated political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and seek to sustain international support for those in need. The EU will continue to do all it can to support the Syrian people, Syrian civil society, Syrian refugees and their host communities in neighbouring countries. They deserve a brighter, safer and more prosperous future. It is our goal to help them achieve it."
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, stated: "10 years on, the war in Syria continues to be a cause of terrible suffering. In addition, the region is struggling with severe socio-economic challenges, worsened by the COVID-19 crisis, and, in the case of Lebanon, the impact of the devastating Beirut port blast. In light of the upcoming fifth Brussels Conference on the future of Syria and the region, the package we have adopted today reconfirms the European Union's solidarity with the Syrian people and Jordan and Lebanon who host them in challenging times. We are determined to support the long term recovery of the whole region and this is why the EU's new Agenda for the Mediterranean proposes to mobilise significant investment across the region."
Jordan and Lebanon are the countries hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. This latest support package focuses on the following sectors:
Lebanon (€98 million)
- Social Protection and Assistance (€45 million overall) composed of
- continued support the most vulnerable in Lebanon (€25 million)
- support to a comprehensive national social protection system (€20 million)
- Access to healthcare services and vaccinations, including for COVID-19 (€29 million),
- Essential water services (€10 million)
- Non-formal education (€10 million)
- Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (€4 million)
Jordan (€32 million)
- Solid waste management (€17 million)
- Protection for boys, girls and women (€8 million)
- Non-formal education (€7 million)
The assistance package was adopted by the Operational Board of the Trust Fund, which brings together the European Commission, the EEAS, the EU Member States, and representatives of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan the Syria Recovery Trust Fund and the World Bank.
Since its establishment in December 2014, a significant share of the EU's support to help refugees from Syria and Syria's neighbouring countries has been channelled through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund provides an integrated EU aid response to the crisis and addresses primarily longer-term needs to enhance resilience and self-reliance of Syrian refugees. It also contributes to ease the pressure on host communities and the administrations in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, by supporting access to basic services such as health and education. Overall, more than €2.3 billion have been mobilised from the EU budget and voluntary contributions from 21 EU Member States, the United Kingdom and Turkey. With the newly adopted package, the full budget has been allocated and turned into concrete actions, with more than €1 billion for Lebanon, over €560 million for Jordan, €500 million for Turkey and more than €160 million for Iraq.
The Trust Fund's programmes provide support for refugees and vulnerable host communities in basic and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved access to water and sanitation, protection, social assistance, women empowerment and fighting gender based violence, as well as livelihoods. The Fund also supports internally displaced persons in Iraq and actions in the Western Balkans.