AMMAN (Jan. 15, 2014)—At the closing of the second Kuwait Donor Conference, the global poverty-fighting organization CARE urges governments to ensure that today’s pledges for Syrians in need are quickly translated into aid delivery on the ground and that further assistance will be made available. Governments have pledged at least 1.4 billion USD with reports of higher totals as the conference comes to a close. In total, the United Nations appealed for $6.5 billion to address urgently needed humanitarian assistance inside and outside Syria. The conference aimed to rally international financial support to meet the basic needs of more than 10 million Syrians in need.
“Governments have shown great generosity in support for the Syria response, but the success of today’s pledges is still to be measured,” says Gareth Richards, Director for CARE’s Regional Syria Response. “Words alone are not enough. They must be followed by decisive action. Aid organizations need to plan for the ever-growing and changing needs of this biggest humanitarian crisis of our times.”
“To work effectively in difficult and dynamic contexts, funding needs to be flexible and longer-term, so we can deliver aid to where it is needed most,” continues Richards. CARE asks that funding be accessible to the range of aid organizations working both inside Syria and in neighboring countries. “The role played by non-governmental organizations has to be acknowledged and funded in a way which reflects them implementing the majority of programmes,” says Richards. Currently, only a small percentage of the funding is directly channelled to local civil society and international non-governmental organizations. CARE and other organizations asked donors to give at least 25 percent of funds directly to support non-governmental organizations and civil society and diversify their funding.
Overall, the 2013 UN Syria refugee appeal has been 71 percent funded. However, individual country responses, such as those in Egypt, were funded at less than 50 percent. CARE and other organizations called on donors to prioritize the most underfunded countries.
Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, CARE Jordan has supported more than 160,000 refugees with cash assistance and other services. In Lebanon, CARE meets refugees’ most basic and pressing needs, mainly providing water, sanitation and shelter. In addition, CARE has helped refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon cope with the cold winter, distributing cash, heaters, fuel vouchers and blankets. Learn more >
CARE calls on donors to further step up support for neighboring countries who are hosting millions of Syrian refugees. “We commend host countries for welcoming the many Syrians who have fled the violence and destruction back home. Without this incredible generosity, the humanitarian situation due to the Syria crisis would surely be far worse. The pledges in Kuwait are a good start, but the international community has yet to show more solidarity,” says Richards.
The conflict has had an immense impact on the entire region, including reduced trade flows and foreign investment, as well as revenues from tourism. Host governments have repeatedly called on the international community for emergency assistance to cope with the growing humanitarian crisis. According to Jordanian government estimates, the refugee crisis will cost the country over $2 billion this year. Host countries such as Lebanon and Jordan have developed national plans to cope with the refugee influx.
“Many host-country families are battling with the same challenges as the refugees are, such as increased rent and living costs, and access to overstretched public services,” says Richards. “Governments, the UN, donors and aid organizations have to work together to support both Syrian refugees and host communities whose lives have been severely impacted.”
Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. CARE has been working in Jordan since 1948. CARE Jordan has extensive experience working with refugees, providing livelihood training and opportunities, emergency cash assistance, information sharing and psychosocial support to Iraqi refugees since 2003. Last year, CARE worked in 84 countries and reached more than 83 million people around the world.