The humanitarian response
As the Syria crisis enters its eighth year, civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict marked by unparalleled suffering and destruction. Over 13 million people require humanitarian assistance, including close to 3 million people trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.
Over half of the population has been forced from their homes, and many people have been displaced multiple times. Children and youth comprise more than half of the displaced, as well as half of those in need of humanitarian assistance.
Despite enormous challenges, the UN and its humanitarian partners continue to deliver lifesaving assistance to an average of 7.5 million of people across the country every month. The UN mandate is to ensure humanitarian assistance and protection for everyone who needs it, in accordance with the long-established principles of independence, impartiality and neutrality which have been endorsed by all the Member States of the UN.
Through the UN’s humanitarian response plan and its strategic objectives, UN agencies work closely with national and international partners in one humanitarian country team to provide life-saving food and medical assistance. They also work to support and sustain essential services including water, education, medical services, shelters for the displaced, and livelihoods.
The assistance that is provided from within Syria is complimented with cross border assistance from Turkey and Jordan to hard-to-reach locations, as per Security Council Resolution 2393 of 2017; authorizing the delivery of aid across borders and conflict lines, under a monitoring mechanism to ensure its humanitarian nature.
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan
The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) sets out the framework within which the humanitarian community will respond to humanitarian and protection needs in Syria throughout 2018. Based on humanitarian assessment data, the plan prioritizes strategic objectives and presents urgent funding requirements to address needs.
The plan serves as a technical and operational humanitarian document, and should not be interpreted as a political document. The primary objective of the document is the timely and adequate delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need in accordance with international law, including A/RES/46/182, and the UN Charter.
In accordance with international law, the United Nations is committed to deliver humanitarian assistance to people affected by the crisis in Syria, and to implement the response plan with full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of the Syrian Arab Republic and in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The United Nations is committed to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 2139 (2014), 2393 (2017), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015) and 2332 (2016).
The humanitarian organizations working under this plan are: the United Nations (UN) agencies, funds and programmes, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and the humanitarian international and national non-government organizations (NGOs). They are committed to providing needs-based humanitarian assistance, in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence and to providing assistance without discrimination to people in need.
HRP 2018 Strategic objectives
The UN and humanitarian partners are striving to contribute to the achievement of three key objectives in the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan:
Efforts under this objective will focus on people living in areas with high severity of needs and where access to basic goods and services is limited. These areas are likely to include significant numbers of displaced people, a high concentration of overburdened communities, and in some instances spontaneous returnees. Taking into account the different profiles and needs of these groups, people living in these areas are likely to share a need for live-saving health support and basic relief items that cuts across all sectors. People facing food insecurity and whose nutritional status and coping mechanisms are negatively affected will likewise be prioritized under this objective.
Efforts under this objective aim to enhance the prevention and mitigation of risks and to respond to protection needs by promoting international law, and through providing principled assistance. This objective recognizes that many families, having now exhausted most options, are increasingly resorting to harmful coping strategies, that particularly impact women and children, as well as the elderly and persons with disabilities. This objective includes efforts to strengthen inter-sectoral cooperation to improve protection monitoring. The objective will aim to mitigate a number of key concerns such as child labour and recruitment, early marriage, gender-based violence, lack of civil status documentation, and housing, land and property issues.
Increase resilience and access to services
Efforts under this objective aim to increase resilience through enhanced livelihood opportunities, for the most vulnerable people, and improved, sustained and equitable access to basic social services, particularly in areas with high severity of needs. This objective reflects the need to scale-up actions aimed at preventing further deterioration of the situation, and reducing aid-dependency amongst the most vulnerable individuals and communities. This objective also looks to strengthen early prevention mechanisms and promote social cohesion.
Across all areas and interventions, the HRP aims to reach the most vulnerable populations and communities; according to the following six broad population groups:
- People living in UN-declared besieged and hard-to-reach areas where freedom of movement and access to services remain extremely limited and challenging.
- People exposed to high intensity of hostilities and living in areas contaminated with explosive hazards.
- Internally displaced people (IDPs) living in last resort camps, sites and collective shelters; with limited access to core services, and where freedom of movement might be limited.
- Newly-displaced populations who are often fleeing hostilities, and are therefore likely to face immediate and acute needs during their initial stages of displacement.
- Spontaneous/self-organized returnees, often requiring specific and dedicated assistance to avoid secondary displacement, or resorting to harmful coping strategies as a foundation for their return.
- Over-burdened communities, where, due to the large number of IDPs and/or spontaneous returnees, the entire population (including both host communities and IDPs) is exposed to increased challenges in accessing services, livelihoods, and economic opportunities.