Stand and Deliver: Urgent action needed on commitments made at the London Conference one year on | Refugee | Refugees Of The Syrian Civil War

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On 4 February 2016, the international community agreed on a
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  Signed by:NGO Platforms Jordan INGO Forum (JIF)Lebanon Humanitarian INGO Forum (LHIF)Syria INGO Regional Forum (SIRF) Individual Agencies ABAAD Organisation ALEF (Act for Human Rights)Amel Association InternationalBasmeh and ZeitoonehCAFODCARE International Christian Aid Danish Refugee Council (DRC)DiakoniaDorcasFinn Church Aid HelpAge International International Rescue Committee (IRC)Lutheran World FederationMédecins du Monde – France Mercy Corps OxfamPhenix Center for Economic and Informatics StudiesPremière Urgence - Aide Médicale InternationaleSave the Children SAWA for Development and Aid SAWA Foundation Secours Islamique France Solidarites  Terre des Hommes Italia Trócaire Violet International World Vision International © Danish Refugee Council, Oxfam and Save the Children January 2017  Cover photo: Syrian refugee child in Qushtapa refugee camp, Kurdish Region of Iraq. Photo by: Klaus Bo Christensen / Danish Refugee Council  STAND AND DELIVER | 3 JANUARY 2017 Important steps have been taken to improve the provision of education and livelihoods in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Donors have performed well in terms of aid disbursed and committed for the current financial year, and some host governments have made significant policy changes. Much more remains unaccomplished, however. Without technical assistance and further efforts to implement the wide-reaching policy framework agreed in London, there is a risk that the funding disbursed will fail to have a measurable and sustainable impact on people’s lives. Importantly, a continued lack of legal status and doc-umentation means many refugees cannot access work and education. Moreo-ver, the conflict in Syria continues unabated and without a tangible increase in international support for Syria’s neighbours, including by sharing the responsi-bility for hosting refugees more equitably. Almost 5 million refugees from Syria, including an entire generation of chil-dren, currently face an uncertain future. If the international community fails to remain engaged and share responsibility for refugees, the consequences could be disastrous for refugee families and countries in the region. Fully implementing the ‘new approach’ of the London Conference will require sustained political will, as well as sufficient funding and technical capacity. Neighbouring countries and donors must urgently reaffirm, consolidate and build on the commitments made at the Conference, and place the rights of refugees and the communities that host them at the forefront of the interna-tional agenda. I. INTRODUCTION On 4 February 2016, the international community agreed on a ‘comprehensive new approach’ to address the protracted Syria crisis at the “Supporting Syria and the Region” Conference in London. Donors, and neighbouring countries, which host the vast majority of those who have 󿬂 ed Syria, committed to signi 󿬁 cant 󿬁 nancial pledges and policy changes to improve the lives of refugees and host communities. As the one-year mark of the conference approaches 3 NGO platforms and 28  organisations have reviewed whether donors and host govern-ments have ful 󿬁 lled their commitments, and whether their actions have led to an improvement in the situa-tion for refugees and host communities in the region. 1   JANUARY 2017  This report is a follow-up to the joint agency publication “From Words to Action”. https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-from-words-to-action-syria-refugees-070916-en.pdf 1  4 | STAND AND DELIVER JANUARY 2017 Global responsibility sharing for refugees One of the successes of the London Conference was the recognition that funding humanitarian appeals alone is not an adequate response to both the massive crisis inside Syria and the huge strains placed on refugee hosting countries. Commitments to long term devel-opment financing and other forms of bilateral support were welcomed by host governments and there was a recognition that national level policy change to facilitate inclusive access to livelihoods and education is a critical factor. Follow up action between the EU and Jordan and Lebanon, and by the World Bank’s Concessional Financ-ing Facility, in particular show some promise. Responsibility sharing, however, must also extend to of-fering international protection to those seeking asylum, fulfilling obligations to resettle vulnerable refugees and upholding the principle of non-refoulement. In Europe and the US, an increasingly restrictive environment for refugees has emerged since the London Conference. While any meaningful progress towards predictable and equitable responsibility sharing by the international community has been limited, neighbouring countries have largely sealed their borders. In addition, although very limited information on refoulement is available, there is anecdotal evidence of individual Syrian refugees being detained and deported back to Syria. Despite three major international conferences focused on responsibility sharing for refugees during the last year, wealthy countries have collectively failed to offer significantly more resettlement and other forms of ad-mission to refugees from Syria. Currently, less than 3% of the Syrian refugee population has been resettled. 7   Financial commitments At the London Conference, donors pledged $6 billion for 2016 and a further $6.1 billion for 2017-20. 2  By September 2016, over $6.3 billion had been commit-ted in grants for 2016, exceeding pledges by 5%. 3  We welcome that the international community went the extra mile in surpassing the grants pledged for 2016. However, at the end of the year, the UN reported that appeals for the refugee response and the humanitar-ian response inside Syria were 60% and 49% funded, respectively. 4   There is still room for progress. One of the aspirations of the London Conference was to generate long-term funding commitments. While $6.1 billion was pledged for 2017-2020, currently only $607.9 million has been committed. 5  This significant shortfall in long-term, committed funding presents substantial challenges in planning an efficient and cost-effective aid response to this increasingly protracted crisis. Longer-term funding is essential for development responses aimed at improving the self-reliance and resilience of refugee and host communities. In addition, donors pledged to make loans availa-ble to national governments for 2016-2020 to the amount of $41 billion. Only 9%, or $3.8 billion, of this total amount pledged at the London Conference has been made available. 6  This area, important for eco-nomic recovery, job creation, and support for strained services such as education and health in host coun-tries, requires urgent attention. 3% of the Syrian refugee population has currently been resettledLess than 2 Development Initiatives. Supporting Syria and the region: Post-London conference financial tracking – Report One , 2016. 3 Ibid.4 UNOCHA. Financial Tracking Service. FTSARCHIVE.UNOCHA.org. https://ftsarchive.unocha.org/ (Accessed January 16, 2017).5 Ibid.6 Ibid.7 Oxfam. Where there’s a will, there’s a way: safe havens needed for refugees from Syria, 2017.
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