The UN and more than 240 partners formally launched the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for 2017 and 2018.
The plan aims to assist over 4.7 million refugees from Syria and 4.4 million people hosting them in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
The funding for the 3RP is in addition to the $3.4 billion that the UN estimates will be required to address the humanitarian needs of 13.5 million people within Syria this year.
Hosted by Finland, the Helsinki Conference on Supporting Syrians and the Region focuses on key humanitarian priorities: saving lives, protection, and building resilience.
“The news from Syria has been heartbreaking. We’ve observed a huge increase in humanitarian need and are aware of the great burden carried by the neighbouring countries.
By hosting this key event, Finland wants to highlight the vital work done by the UN and Syria’s neighbours,” Kai Mykkänen, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, said.
“It is our joint duty to support those efforts the best we can.”
The vast majority of Syrian refugees fall below the poverty line and struggle to afford essentials such as food, rent and health care.
Seventy per cent of those in need are women and children. Half of refugee children are out of school. And with winter now biting, humanitarian needs are a matter of life and death.
“Syrian refugees and host communities need our support now more than ever,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“The international community must send a clear message that it stands with them and provides the urgently needed support.
UNHCR and partners are ready to address the needs and vulnerabilities of Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them, but require the necessary and flexible funding to do so.”
Neighbouring countries continue to struggle to meet the challenges of the political, economic and social spill-over from the Syria crisis.
“As millions have fled Syria, we have seen extraordinary generosity and solidarity on the part of host countries and communities – and they must not be left to cope alone,” said Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP.
“UN agencies and NGO partners are committed to helping governments and host communities build resilience in the face of this crisis. We’ve made important strides, but we need more support.”
Within Syria, millions are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 4.6 million people in hard-to- reach and besieged areas.
Over half of the population has been forced from their homes and many have been displaced multiple times. Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the six-year long conflict.
“The suffering of the Syrian people – the majority of whom remain inside the country – continues unabated. It’s imperative that we step up our collective efforts to meet the needs of the 13.5 million
Syrian men, women and children in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said.
The UN and NGO partners noted with concern the gap between growing needs and available funding. Despite generous contributions from donor countries, including multi-year funding commitments for 2017 and disbursement of more than 90 per cent of pledges for 2016, funding remains insufficient to respond to what remains one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.