EU adopts €55 million support package for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon to mitigate coronavirus pandemic

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


As part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus outbreak, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis has mobilised an additional €55 million for refugees from Syria and vulnerable persons in Jordan and Lebanon to fight the pandemic. It will provide critical and targeted support in key areas such as health, water, sanitation and hygiene. The newly adopted package brings the total assistance mobilised through the EU Trust Fund to over €2.2 billion since 2015, doubling the target originally set.

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, said: “Jordan and Lebanon are showing huge resilience and solidarity in hosting Syrian refugees. It is our duty to continue supporting them, especially in the current coronavirus pandemic situation. The EU will host the fourth Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region on 30 June in direct support of the UN efforts for a comprehensive political solution to the Syrian conflict and to mobilise necessary financial support for Syria and neighbouring countries. The Conference will also continue to provide a unique platform for dialogue with civil society organisations from the region.”

Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, commented: “Our continued commitment to support Syrian refugees and partner countries like Jordan and Lebanon hosting them remains unwavering. We are responding today to the urgent needs in fighting the COVID-19 crisis with a substantial and targeted assistance package. Despite the European Union’s continued strong solidarity with partner countries, the needs of the Syrian refugees continue to be important and cannot be neglected. In this regard, the 2020 Brussels IV Conference will provide an opportunity for the international community to mobilise the necessary financial assistance.”

Jordan and Lebanon are the countries hosting the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Today’s additional support package focuses on health and water, sanitation and hygiene services:

Jordan – €20.1 million in total:

  • €11 million to contribute to the coronavirus national response plan, in particular for procurement of medical equipment
  • €4 million to support essential water and sanitation services and hygiene kits in refugee camps and for vulnerable host communities
  • €3.6 million to strengthen ongoing health and social protection to Palestine Refugees from Syria and hosting communities
  • €1.5 million to support further equipping three emergency departments in hospitals to face the pandemic

Lebanon – €34.6 million in total:

  • €10 million to ensure safe municipal water distribution for Syrian refugees and host population
  • €10 million to cover the medical management of mild cases in light of the pandemic
  • €6 million to provide critical hygiene kits, as well as infection prevention and control kits in informal settlements and for vulnerable Lebanese
  • €5 million to the Lebanese Red Cross as the front line responder to the coronavirus
  • €3.6 million to strengthen ongoing health and social protection support for Palestine Refugees from Syria and hosting communities

The assistance package was adopted by the Operational Board of the Trust Fund, which brings together the European Commission, the EU Member States, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Observers of the Operational Board include Members of the European Parliament, representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, the World Bank, and the Syria Recovery Trust Fund.

The Trust Fund is also reorienting ongoing interventions in key sectors in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Since the beginning of the outbreak and thanks to the Trust Fund’s flexibility, the EU and contributing countries have been able to provide personal protective equipment, hygiene kits, infection prevention trainings, health education and awareness campaigns, and essential protection services to women facing gender based violence.

Background

Since its establishment in December 2014, a significant share of the EU’s support to help Syrian refugees and Syria’s neighbouring countries has been provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund reinforces an integrated EU response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer-term resilience and needs to enhance the self-reliance of Syrian refugees. At the same time, it contributes to ease the pressure on host communities and the administrations in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The Trust Fund has also underpinned the EU Compacts agreed with Jordan and Lebanon to better assist them in coping with the protracted refugee crisis. With the newly adopted package, it has mobilised over €900 million for Lebanon, over €500 million for both Jordan and Turkey and more than €160 million for Iraq. Overall, more than €2.2 billion have been mobilised from the EU budget and contributions from 21 EU Member States, the United Kingdom and Turkey.

The Trust Fund’s programmes support basic education and child protection services for refugees, training and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved access to water and wastewater infrastructure, support to resilience, women empowerment and fighting gender based violence, as well as economic opportunities and social stability. The Fund can also support internally displaced persons in Iraq and actions in the Western Balkans.

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