The EU – via the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis - adopted a €100 million new assistance package to support the resilience of refugees, internally displaced person (IDP) host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. This will be done through the strengthening of public service delivery systems, improved access to higher education, and improved child protection services.
With this new package €1.6 billion out of a total of €1.8 billion mobilised by the EU Trust Fund have now been turned into financing concrete actions helping refugees and host countries alike.
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: “The EU delivers on its commitments. With these additional €100 million of assistance, the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis continues to support refugees to become increasingly economically self-reliant. Through access to income generating opportunities, they are able to take their livelihoods in their own hands, provide for themselves, and preserve their dignity. At the same time we are supporting host communities and Syria's neighbours in their effort to expand their economies while coping with challenges related to the conflict which is still ongoing”.
The newly adopted €100 million aid package consists of the following actions:
- €55 million to support the resilience of refugees, IDPs, returnees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq;
- €28.4 million for access to higher education for refugees and vulnerable host youth in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq;
- €12.5 million to provide protection services to children and women victim of gender based violence in Lebanon;
- €3.6 million to continue and strengthen the Trust Fund's horizontal monitoring and evaluation framework.
This assistance package has been adopted by the EU Trust Fund's Operational Board, which brings together the European Commission, fifteen EU Member States, 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 EU Trust Fund is now in its fifth year of implementation, but the Syria crisis is far from being over. Over time, the needs have changed and the Trust Fund has evolved from providing early recovery assistance focusing on addressing basic needs of those affected by the Syria crisis to equipping refugees and local communities with tools and skills for greater self-reliance. The Trust Fund also focuses on reinforcing the national systems for public service delivery to meet refugee and local community needs in the longer term. Currently 67 projects have been contracted to implementing partners on the ground.
Since its establishment in December 2014, a significant share of the EU's support to help Syrian refugees and support Syria's neighbouring countries cope with the refugee crisis is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund reinforces an integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer-term resilience and needs to enhance self-reliance of Syrian refugees, and at the same time ease the pressure on host communities and their administrations in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The Fund also underpins the EU Compacts agreed with Jordan and Lebanon to better assist them in the protracted refugee crisis. With the new package adopted now, the Fund has delivered a total of €522 million for Lebanon, more than €500 million for Turkey and more than €300 million for Jordan, in 4 years of operations, much more than initially foreseen.
Overall, €1.8 billion has been mobilised from the EU budget and contributions of 22 EU Member States and Turkey. Almost all of this has now been allocated to specific actions by the Board and turned around to finance concrete projects helping refugees and host countries alike.
The Trust Fund's programmes support basic education and child protection for refugees, training and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as support to resilience, women empowerment and fighting gender based violence, economic opportunities and social stability. The scope of the Fund includes support to internally displaced persons in Iraq and support in the Western Balkans to non-EU countries affected by the refugee crisis.
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