UNESCO Response in Jordan
Now in its fourth year, the Syria crisis has severely affected the domestic situation in Jordan.
Jordan has shared significantly in bearing the brunt of the crisis and in shouldering its burden on behalf of the international community, by maintaining an open border.
In the first months of 2013 there was a dramatic increase of Syrian refugees - since then there has been a small but stable increase in refugee population. In July 2015, the refugee population has reached close to 656,000.
Approximately 79 per cent of refugees reside in urban settings, and 21 per cent in camps, placing a considerable burden on the public finances of the Government, and on host communities, and aggravating existing challenges in the most impacted sectors.
The upsurge in population has had a significant implication on the country’s limited resources, including water and energy; and, particularly in the hosting communities, on the provision of main social services such as health, education and municipal facilities and on social cohesion.
The protracted conflict is threatening to unravel many of the hard won development gains Jordan had achieved over the past several years
UNESCO is an active player within the context of the international efforts to support Jordan in its response to the impact of the Syria conflict.
Adapting to the rapidly evolving development and humanitarian emerging challenges, UNESCO engaged “on an accelerated pace” in mid-2013 at different programmatic levels in support to Jordanian stakeholders, both within the humanitarian activities (Regional Response Plan 6) and the National Resilience Plan.
In Jordan UNESCO has been playing a prominent role in the education sector at a strategic level in both the humanitarian coordination mechanism and in the resilience-based aid architecture, namely the “Host Community Support Platform”.
UNESCO has also been promoting access to informal education, non-formal education and life skills for Syrian refugee children and Jordanian youth and enhancing the capacity of teachers and supervisors and Ministry of Education officials to respond to challenges faced at the school level with the influx of Syrian students. In addition, we have also been providing analytical support to the Ministry of Education in developing it sector management tools in the context of the crisis.
In the Communication and Information sector UNESCO is leading two major projects promoting access to critical information for Syrian refugees, mainly youth and women, while at the same time training Jordanian youth reporters on community radio techniques and approaches.
The Organization has also initiated a joint programme with UN Women, focused on providing job opportunities to rural women and linking this to cultural heritage in the north of Jordan, in one of the most affected areas by the influx of Syrian refugees.
Finally, UNESCO has been active in addressing the issue of illicit trafficking and looting of Syrian cultural artifacts by implementing advocacy and awareness-raising activities to safeguard heritage at risk and improve regional and international cooperation.