Jordan Response Plan 2020

Statement by UNHCR Jordan Representative Dominik Bartsch 

Dominik Bartsch, UNHCR Jordan Representative

Your Excellency the Prime Minister, esteemed Ministers, Ambassadors, colleagues and partners

Nine years into the Syria crisis, we must remain vigilant that the world does not take for granted the generosity Jordan has extended to refugees.  The Hashemite Kingdom has been, and continues to be, an exemplary host country, offering refugees a dignified life in safety, and the opportunities to engage productively in the economy.  Just as remarkable is the fact that the people of Jordan continue to support refugees with three out of four Jordanians still viewing the presence of refugees favorably, according to research undertaken by the Pew Research Centre.

The Global Refugee Compact calls for sustained support to refugee hosting countries, as part of a global approach to burden sharing.  The Jordan Response Plan being launched today is a representation of the enormous efforts required to live up to this premise of the Global Compact, and to ensure that the humanitarian needs of refugees, whether they live in urban areas or the camps, continue to be met as part of an integrated approach to support Jordanian host community and key sectors of Government investment.   Over the years, the Response Plan has served as the principal framework to highlight critical funding gaps, and to support effective prioritization across competing needs.

Jordan has taken many important steps in facilitating access by refugees to the labour market, education and health care. Indeed, successive Response Plans have been an enabler of refugee success: for the hundreds of thousand refugee children who continue to access education, for the refugees who secured work permits and are able to support themselves and their families, and for the entrepreneurs in the refugee community who have set up Home Based Businesses, an area of activity particularly important for women.  Perhaps one of the most encouraging examples is the recent confirmation by the Ministry of Health that all refugees, including non-Syrians will have access to health care at the non-insured Jordanian rate.  This progressive inclusion of refugees in national systems has shaped the refugee response to become increasingly aligned with national development priorities.  It is our hope that we will be able to realize further avenues to include refugees in national schemes for social protection, and to explore new opportunities to apply the experiences gained in the refugees response such as green energy or IT for education which has proven to be so very critical during the lockdown.

Just as the Jordan Refugee Response Plan was completed under the able leadership of MOPIC, the Corona pandemic emerged. We are deeply grateful that the Government has included in its National COVID Response Plan all populations inside its borders. This clear policy stance has been critical in containing the spread of the virus and in protecting Jordanians and refugees alike.  While we are still grappling, across the world, with the devastating human toll of Corona and its overwhelming economic impact, the validation of the JRP in times of this unprecedented global crisis shows clearly that the response must follow an integrated approach, if we are to help both Jordanian nationals and refugees to regain their livelihoods.  The global pandemic is put resilience back at the core of the crisis response, and underlines the importance of addressing vulnerabilities at individual, household and community levels.

I firmly believe that the strong response by the Government of Jordan to the Corona crisis holds important lessons how we work together to address the mid- to long-term needs of refugees and their host communities, especially at a time when prospects for return to Syria appear not be imminent.  A continued dialogue and ever closer coordination between humanitarian and development agencies and partners is essential, if we are to unlock additional growth opportunities and international investment. This will transform what today is a humanitarian crisis into a development opportunity for all.

I thank you for your attention.