Syria crisis: EU delivers on its pledges and mobilises another €85 million for Syria and Jordan
The European Commission has allocated another part of the recent package of €400m to deal with the consequences of the Syrian crisis. This newest allocation is aimed at providing assistance to the population inside Syria, Syrian refugees and host communities living in Jordan, as well as Syrian students in Europe. In total, it amounts to €85 million.
Approximately half of this additional support (€40m) that has just been adopted, will be spent inside Syria; helping civil society groups to provide basic services (such as health, education, psychosocial support and waste management), supporting UNICEF’s efforts to provide education to vulnerable and internally-displaced Syrian children, and providing income-generating activities and opportunities to make a living inside Syria, particularly for women, young people and people with disabilities under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for example. Some of the funding will also go towards helping UNESCO to preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage, which is currently affected and threatened by the conflict.
Most of the remaining funding (€40m) will be spent in Jordan, where it will help the country cope with the 500,000 refugees on its territory; helping to cover the added costs to the national education system, which is currently schooling 78,000 Syrian children.
Finally, the rest of the funding (€5 million) will be provided for the Erasmus Mundus programme, to allow more Syrian students to continue their studies in European Universities.
Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, commented on this support: "This is yet another step to show that we not only promise help but actually deliver it. We continue to stand by the Syrian people. In our funding we focus on providing education to the children in the region but we also provide basic services to all those affected by the crisis; both inside Syria and in the neighbouring countries that are under enormous pressure as a result of the bloodshed and influx of refugees.”The EU and its Member States are the biggest donor of assistance in response to the Syrian crisis, both in Syria and in neighbouring countries. In total, the EU has so far mobilised over €1.9 billion in relief and recovery aid from both the Commission and Member States.
In the joint communication of the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy "Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis", adopted on 24 June 2013, an increase in EU aid of €400 million was announced for 2013. Out of this additional financial assistance package, €250 million is to support humanitarian relief and €150 million is earmarked for economic recovery and development actions.
This additional €150 million in development assistance has been rapidly turned into concrete projects and implementation has begun in the region. Following the adoption of a €40 million decision targeting emergency education needs for refugees in Lebanon this September, the Commission has now launched other decisions for an additional €85 million to alleviate the impact of the crisis in Syria and Jordan. The remaining €25 million under this component will become operational before the end of the year 2013.
The total number of people affected by the civil war in Syria and in need of help is approaching the unprecedented number of 9 million, almost half of the entire population. This makes the Syria crisis the largest humanitarian emergency in decades.
Within Syria, more than 6.8 million people are now in need of immediate assistance, including an estimated 5 million who are internally displaced. In addition, the number of refugees who have fled from the war in Syria into neighbouring countries has surpassed the appalling milestone of 2 million. More than half of all those refugees are children.
How the €40 million for Syria will be spent, in order to help the Syrian population cope with the effects of the crisis and prepare for early recovery:
•€5 million will be used to support civil society organisations providing basic services to the Syrian population;
•€10 million will contribute to a recently created multi-donor Trust Fund (initiated by Germany and UAE) set up to provide basic services to the population in opposition-held areas in Northern Syria;
•€10 million will support UNICEF’s efforts to provide education services to vulnerable and internally-displaced Syrian children;
•€7.2 million will respond to the education and health needs of the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees still in Syria, in partnership with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA);
•€5 million will support livelihoods and income generating activities inside Syria with a focus on women, youth and people with disabilities, in partnership with UNDP;
•€2.5 million will support UNESCO in an effort to protect and preserve the rich Syrian cultural heritage, which has already been damaged and is highly threatened by the current conflict.
What we will do with almost €40 million for Jordan, in order to help the country to cope with the influx of refugees on its territory, and in addition to the humanitarian assistance provided by the Commission's humanitarian aid department ECHO:
•The EU has made available €30 million in the form of extra budget support to the Jordanian Government‘s on-going programme of “Support to the Second Phase of the Education Reform in Jordan”. This money will help to compensate for part of the added costs to the national education system - fees, teacher salaries, double-shifting for school year 2013-14. In addition to helping to defray the costs of schooling for 78,000 Syrian refugee children, the funds will moreover mitigate the risk to the continued implementation of the education reform in Jordan, which in the current context is under threat.
•A further amount of €5.4 million will also be made available to the Jordan Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO) for small grants creating employment amongst the refugee host communities in the country’s Northern Governorates.
•A further amount of €4.2 million was made available to UNICEF's programme in Jordan for urgent needs related to the start of the school year.
Finally, an additional €5 million will be provided to the Erasmus Mundus programme to allow more Syrian students to continue their studies in European Universities. A minimum of 110 of them will benefit from a full 3 year scholarship.
For further information:
IP/13/865: Syria: EU biggest donor, leads international aid response, reaching 7 million people in need, 25 September 2013
MEMO/13/822: Additional €34 million contribution to Syria’s children, as EU becomes largest donor to UNICEF, 24 September 2013
Commissioner Štefan Füle's website:
Website of the European External Action Service on Syria: