Recent Turmoil in the Arab World Imperils Progress Towards Achieving the Anti-Poverty Targets Known as the Millennium Development Goals

The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ...

The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of UN. Target date: 2015 http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceFoodNews says recent turmoil in the Arab world imperils progress towards achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region, stated a United Nations report released today.

The report, launched by the UN Development Group (UNDG) along with the League of Arab States and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), comes as Secretary-General convened a special event at UN Headquarters on achieving the MDGs, which world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.

It noted that while the Arab region has made progress towards many of the Goals since 2010, progress has slowed since then and the major cause is the widespread impact of the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“The crisis in Syria is a crisis for development across the Arab region,” <“http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/09/23/syria-crisis-a-crisis-for-arab-development.html“>said Sima Bahous, Chair of the UNDG in the Arab States Region and Director of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States.

“The impact goes far beyond even the tragic and terrible widespread death and destruction in that country: it is also slowing the region’s progress on development,” she stated in a news release.

In addition to claiming the lives of over 100,000 people, displacing millions and causing widespread damage and destruction, the crisis in Syria is also having a major impact on human development across the country, according to the report.

It pointed out that the crisis has pushed at least three million of Syria’s 22 million people into poverty, while the country’s extreme poverty rate has climbed at least back to 8 per cent after having been virtually zeroed by 2007.

School enrolment rates have plunged and access to health care has also significantly reduced, added the report, which comes in advance of a more detailed UNDP study to be released in October showing the impact of the Syrian crisis on development in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Also, the report stated that the overall climate of instability and insecurity in the Arab region is dragging on progress more broadly across the region.

Economic activity has been slowed in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – countries which since 2011 have been pursuing complex political transitions. Over five million people across the Arab region have been pushed into unemployment since 2010.

“In the case of Yemen, this slowdown comes atop already high poverty rates and deep challenges across the entire spectrum of development,” the news release stated. Over 10 million people in the country, nearly half of the total population, may be food insecure, according to the report.
Instability also complicates an already dire degree of water scarcity, the report added. Yemen suffers from chronic shortages and may be the first Arab country to run out of water, possibly as early as 2015. As of June 2012, 12.7 million Yemenis lacked access to safe water or sanitation.

The report also showed that many Arab countries are “off the path” to reach many important MDGs. Overall, the region lags behind on key targets, particularly those related to nutrition, food security, access to water and sanitation, and child and maternal mortality.

Today’s report comes as world leaders gather in New York to discuss not only progress towards the MDGs but also a new global development agenda which will come after the Goals expire in 2015. The discussions will include options for reflecting the importance of peace and security in a new development framework.

“The experience of the Arab region makes the linkage clear,” said Ms. Bahous. “Where there is no peace, there is no development; where there is no development, there can be no peace.”

 

#acenewsservices, #arab, #arab-states, #arab-world, #jordan, #lebanon, #millennium-development-goals, #syria, #united-nations, #united-nations-development-programme, #yemen

#Syria Urgently Requires a Robust Development Response to Complement Ongoing Humanitarian and Refugee Efforts in the Region #Peace

Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

Coat of arms of Syria — the “Hawk of Qureish” with shield of vertical tricolor of the national flag, holding a scroll with the words الجمهورية العربية السورية (Al-Jumhuriyah al-`Arabiyah as-Suriyah “The Syrian Arab Republic”). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The crisis in Syria urgently requires a robust development response to complement ongoing humanitarian and refugee efforts in the region, senior United Nations officials today said at the start of a meeting in Jordan.

“A comprehensive development response to complement our humanitarian efforts in Syria and its neighbours is overdue. We are determined to change that,” <” http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/11/02/the-united-nations-a-scaled-up-development-response-to-the-syria-crisis-is-critical-now/“>said Sima Bahous, Chair of the Regional UN Development Group, which is hosting the meeting, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

The meeting of the Regional UN Development Group, is expected to close with a plan focused on development in Syria and its immediate sub-regional context and how to put that response to action, according to a UNDP news release.

Regional directors and representatives of more than 20 UN agencies, including UNDP, are in the Jordanian‘s capital of Amman to discuss means to harmonize UN responses to the conflict which has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes within Syria and into neighbouring countries.

Almost 97 per cent of Syria’s refugees are hosted in the immediate surrounding region, with around one million in Lebanon, followed by Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

“The spillover of the crisis into its four neighboring countries is impacting economic and human development outcomes in those countries at the national and local levels,” UNDP said in a news release.

Key sectors including investment, tourism, trade and local production are affected at varying levels of intensity, according to the UN agency. The crisis also is raising concerns over possibilities of triggering tensions between refugees and local populations in those countries.

Syria

Syria (Photo credit: Yishac – Isaac Alvarez i Brugada)

Recent impact assessments in the two countries most affected by the crisis – Lebanon and Jordan – raise concerns that the crisis may be seriously compounding the deterioration of their economies, which were already under stress, with direct impact on incomes and poverty levels especially among the most vulnerable populations.

A joint World Bank-UN assessment in Lebanon estimates that over the period of 2012- 2014, the Syrian conflict may cut real GDP growth by 2.9 percentage points annually, leading to a cumulative loss in wages, profits, taxes and investment of up to $7.5 billion.

The number of Lebanese who are living in extreme poverty could rise from 1 million to 1.17 million and the unemployment rate could double to above 20 percent.

According to UNDP, official assessments in Jordan indicate that the Government has incurred over $251 million during 2012 to provide and maintain services and basic needs of Syrian refuges and estimate that additional costs needed to continue hosting them may reach $1.68 billion, excluding the additional costs for the camps.

This burden has stifled efforts to recover economic growth in the Jordan from 8.15 per cent in 2005 to 2.3 per cent in 2010. According to the cited figures, the national unemployment rate rose to 13.1 per cent from 12.7 per cent.

 

#amman, #iraq, #jordan, #lebanon, #syria, #turkey, #undp, #united-nations, #united-nations-development-programme

UN: Today has Agreed to Launch a Concerted Effort to the #Syrian Economic Crisis #Peace

Save #Syrias ChildrenSenior United Nations development officials have agreed to complement ongoing humanitarian efforts in Syria and its neighbours with support for increased demands on basic services and to help the countries recover from economic downturns.

“While we continue to provide essential humanitarian support, we must as well attend to development needs in a manner that is complementary, simultaneous and urgent,” <“http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/11/03/building-resilience-to-save-the-future-un-agencies-to-scale-up-their-development-response-to-the-syria-crisis.html“>stressed Sima Bahous, Chair of the Regional UN Development Group, which is hosting the two-day meeting.

UNDP “We must safeguard present gains in development and arrest potential roll-back, and at the same time, strengthen recovery and nurture innate capacities for development planning and delivery, so that people –supported by their local institutions— can cope with the ongoing crisis and build back their lives, better,” added Ms. Bahous, who is also the Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

Regional directors and representatives of more than 20 UN agencies, including UNDP, have met in the Jordanian capital of Amman since Saturday to discuss means to harmonize UN responses to the conflict which has killed more than 100,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes within Syria and into neighbouring countries.

Almost 97 per cent of Syria’s refugees are hosted in the immediate surrounding region, with around one million in Lebanon, followed by Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

“The spillover of the crisis into its four neighbouring countries is impacting economic and human development outcomes in those countries at the national and local levels,” UNDP has said.

Key sectors including investment, tourism, trade and local production are affected at varying levels of intensity, according to the UN agency. The crisis also is raising concerns over possibilities of triggering tensions between refugees and local populations in those countries.

The outcome response plan has three main aspects. The first, to support governmental efforts at national and sub-national levels to ensure the provision of quality housing and related services, such as water, sanitation, energy and waste removal, and to rehabilitate and reconstruct the social economic infrastructure.

The agencies will also strengthen technical and managerial capacities of municipal governments. That includes, according to UNDP, promoting peaceful coexistence within conflict-affected communities.

Turning to livelihood opportunities and sustainable employment, the plan will focus on improving access to markets and financial services, stimulating productive investments, and formulating pro-poor policies to promote private sector engagement.
The Regional UN Development Group also agreed to support development inside Syria, by addressing root causes of the conflict and restoring basic services, where possible, in areas of relative peace, and provide support to livelihood activities.

The UN agencies also explored means to optimize partnerships and funding mechanisms between national and local authorities and among donors, international cooperation agencies and the Organization in order to support the proposed resilience-based development response.

“Today, we have made an excellent start on a long journey,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, Sub-regional Coordinator of the Development Response, and “As of today, we are rolling our sleeves up” he said.

#amman, #jordan, #lebanon, #local-government, #regional-un-development-group, #syria, #syria-news, #turkey, #un-agencies, #un-development-programme, #undp, #united-nations, #united-nations-development-programme

British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British teachers form partnerships with Lebanese and Jordanian schools to provide support for Syrian refugee children.

British secondary school pupils will help Syrian counterparts who are refugees affected by the crisis, through a twinning initiative announced today by International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

The scheme, run through the British Council, will partner UK schools with Lebanese and Jordanian schools teaching Syrian refugee children. British school children will get the chance to link up with refugee children and hear first-hand about the reality of life from those who have been affected by the situation in Syria.

Under the initiative, British teachers and educators will form partnerships with schools in the region and provide support to their counterparts on a range of issues such as:

  • specially tailored teaching and learning resources to show schoolchildren in the UK the impact of the Syria crisis;
  • Syrian, Lebanese and British children sharing their experiences through Skype and letter writing; and
  • opportunities for teachers to share ideas, lesson plans and to work on joint projects together.
Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Li...

Coat of arms of Lebanon Deutsch: Wappen von Libanon Español: Escudo de Líbano עברית: סמל לבנון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scheme will focus initially on schools in Lebanon, which currently hosts more than a quarter of a million Syrian refugee children, an even higher number than there are Lebanese children. The scheme plans to expand to other schools in Jordan and more widely across the region.

Justine Greening said:

“Syrian secondary school children should not miss out on an education because their country is at war. We must do all we can to prevent a lost generation of Syrian children, and I want to give their UK counterparts and teachers the chance to play their part in our support.

Teachers in Syria’s neighbouring countries are working tirelessly to ensure that everyone in their classroom has the chance to learn, no matter where they are from. But they are under tremendous pressure from cultural and language differences and the sheer weight of numbers of refugee children.

“This initiative will give British teachers and educators the chance to make a direct difference. It will also pave the way for British school children and Syrian refugee children to build friendships, share their experiences and gain a better understanding of the wider world they are all growing up in.”

The initiative will build on the Connecting Classrooms programme that the British Council already runs, drawing on existing partnerships with 20 schools in Jordan and Lebanon. In particular, it will work with schools in Lebanon where 20-30 per cent of pupils are refugees, in order to identify areas where support is most needed. The UK is already working with partners in Lebanon to identify the particular needs of schools there and how best to respond to these.

Over the next two months, the British Council will run a recruitment drive to find new UK schools to partner with 16 Lebanese partner schools already looking for links with the UK. It will also prioritise UK-Lebanon/Jordan links for future school partnership application rounds (25 October 2013 and February 2014), with a focus on those schools in Lebanon and Jordan particularly affected by high numbers of refugee pupils.

#peace-acenewsservices, #british-council, #international-development-secretary-justine-greening, #jordan, #justine-greening, #lebanon, #refugee-children, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #secondary-school, #secretary-of-state-for-international-development, #syria, #the-british-council

UK Support for Jordan’s – Hard-Pressed #Syrian Refugees

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to ensure essential public services keep running as Syrian refugee numbers continue to grow

Jordan will receive urgently needed support to keep essential public services running and prevent tensions between local people and growing numbers of Syrian refugees, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today.

The UK will provide £12 million over the next two years to ensure that local Jordanian municipal governments can meet the needs of both host communities and refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria.

Competition for jobs is increasing, houses built for refugees require electricity and water, and rubbish is piling up. British support will help to maintain road construction and maintenance, waste collection, street lighting, pest control and water supplies. It will focus on areas with high numbers of refugees, particularly in northern Jordan.

Justine Greening said:

The people of Jordan have been incredibly generous in opening their doors to Syrians in desperate need. But with around 250,000 refugees arriving in 2013 alone, the Syrian crisis is placing a huge strain on communities and services.

Some neighbourhoods now have twice as many people living there as before, so it makes sense to invest in schools, health and other basic services to help everyone who has been flung together through no fault of their own.

Our support is vital for refugees, the host communities and for Britain too, because a region able to absorb refugees in the short or medium term is resolutely in our interests.

More than 520,000 refugees have now fled to Jordan to escape the fighting in Syria, around half of them children. Although many are in camps like Za’atari, more than two-thirds are staying in towns and cities where they share space, resources and services with their Jordanian hosts.

The Government of Jordan estimates the financial impact of providing public services at about $250 million for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 and municipalities have struggled to maintain services in the face of rapidly growing numbers of users.

The rising demand and lagging supply of housing has led to significant increases in rental costs, especially in northern towns, and renting suitable and affordable housing has become harder for Jordanians. Investors have been constructing new housing, which has resulted in the establishment of new neighbourhoods needing roads, street lighting and connections to electricity, water and sewage networks.

Rubbish is piling up in many urban centres. In cities like Irbid and Mafraq, waste has doubled by some accounts, leading many municipalities to overwork their waste collection fleets.

In addition, high unemployment has highlighted the need for municipalities to take on a more active role in promoting local economic development and creating job opportunities.

This new funding commitment is in addition to the £500 million that the UK has now committed in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the largest ever response from the UK to a single crisis. This is providing support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people in Syria and the region.

Notes to editors

  1. The new funding comes from the Arab Partnership Economic Facility and will be channelled through the World Bank-managed Jordan Emergency Services and Social Resilience Programme.
  2. The funding commitment was announced by the International Development Secretary in Washington today, at a World Bank-run event which was also attended by the Jordanian Minister for International Co-operation, Dr. Ibrahim Saif.
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/world/syria

#peace-acenewsservices, #demographics-of-jordan, #international-development-secretary-justine-greening, #jordan, #justine-greening, #mafraq, #refugees-of-the-syrian-civil-war, #secretary-of-state-for-international-development, #syria, #syrians

#syria crisis latest update on aid #peace

How the UK is responding to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighbouring countries – and how you can help.

The crisis in Syria is gravely concerning. Hundreds of people are being killed or wounded every day and millions have been forced to flee.

Video: See how UK aid is helping Syrians who have fled the fighting

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The UK has committed £500 million to help those affected by the conflict. This is the UK’s largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. It will provide support including food, medical care and relief items for over a million people including those affected by the fighting in Syria and to refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

#peace-acenewsservices, #humanitarian-aid, #humanitarian-crisis, #iraq, #jordan, #lebanon, #syria, #syrian-people, #turkey