A girl walks with her school backpack
Part two: Inter-Agency Coordinated Appeals

Regional Refugee Appeals

Amman, Jordan

An 11-year-old Syrian refugee walks to school in Amman. Her family fled Homs in 2013. Due to their dire financial situation, she had to take on household duties. Despite this, her resilient spirit enables her to excel at school: she is top of her class, rejects the idea of early marriage and aspires to be a pilot when she grows up. Every morning she changes her baby brother’s nappy, makes breakfast and gets her other two brothers ready. She then cleans the house and leaves for school. Four hours later, she comes home to the same responsibilities. Her mother works most mornings cleaning houses and her father is bed-bound due to physical and psychological effects of three years’ imprisonment and torture. UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

In 2021, UNHCR will continue to develop Regional Refugee Response Plans (RRPs) in multiple contexts to respond to various refugee crises, including mixed refugee-migrant displacement situations.

The 2021 RRPs cover the inter-agency response in 33 refugee-hosting countries, articulating protection and solutions and describing the needs of refugees and other persons of concern, as well as host communities impacted by crises. Response activities support the objectives stated in the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and they ensure appropriate linkages with the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).

Recognizing the importance of the whole-of-society approach, the 2021 RRPs are developed with joined-up interventions for the delivery of predictable refugee and host-community responses over the immediate and medium-term. A broad range of actors, including the United Nations, other international and national organizations, civil society, faith-based and refugee-led organizations, development and financial institutions and the private sector, will continue to establish synergies with host Governments. These will ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and support sustainable development, ensuring that no one is left behind.

Graphic

Regional Refugee Response Plans: Overview of appeals (2021)

As unified inter-agency plans, the RRPs build on different partners’ comparative advantages, comprising detailed strategies aimed at responding to displacement situations with regional implications. In 2021, the RRPs will integrate new health and socioeconomic needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic within ongoing humanitarian responses. The inter-agency plans incorporate a solutions-based approach by building self-reliance and resilience through a strong overarching vision and coherent engagement of partners and host Governments in the pursuit of protection and solutions for refugees, migrants and impacted members of host communities.

Burundi Regional

RRP
People in need
0.55 million
People targeted
0.55 million
Requirements (US$)
240.8 million
Countries covered
DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda
Refugees and returnees
313,000 people
Host communities
237,000 people

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

Despite heightened tensions in Burundi during the May 2020 elections, there was no major forced displacement inside the country or across borders. The new Government of Burundi has urged refugees who had fled the country, including Government critics and human rights activists, to return home. Since August 2020, an increasing number of voluntary returns have been facilitated from Tanzania and Rwanda, as well as from DRC. UNHCR will continue to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees who express their wish to return, but it remains crucial to provide international protection to refugees who are not seeking to return at this time and to fully respect their right to asylum.

The majority of the refugee population remain dependent on humanitarian assistance. They live in densely populated camps with inadequate shelter, health services and WASH infrastructures, coupled with food ration cuts in several countries due to underfunding. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the situation.

Burundian refugees face multiple protection risks, particularly SGBV, including survival sex and early marriage, due to limited access to livelihoods, school closures, overcrowded shelters, lack of domestic energy supply and reduced humanitarian assistance. Refugee children make up over 50 per cent of the refugee population and are exposed to particular risks. The situation of unaccompanied and separated children is particularly concerning, as many suffer neglect. Adolescents have increasingly resorted to negative coping mechanisms.

Projected situation in 2021 and beyond

In the context of the refugee response, RRP partners will continue to prioritize support to children, women and persons living with disabilities or with other specific needs and consolidate community-based protection mechanisms. Psychosocial and mental health support will be scaled up.

There is an urgent need to create better conditions to promote the self-reliance of refugees in asylum countries. This can be done through increased livelihood opportunities, the expansion of cash-based interventions promoting refugees’ financial inclusion and contribution to the local economy, and stronger socioeconomic inclusion of refugees (particularly in the areas of health, education and jobs). RRP partners will aim to integrate the refugee response with development plans and efforts to promote socioeconomic growth by scaling up livelihood interventions in refugee camps, hosting districts and urban areas, and ensuring the inclusion of refugees within national systems and services. Partnerships with the private sector will be strengthened to enhance refugees’ work opportunities through advocacy and policy efforts.

The projected voluntary repatriation of some 141,000 Burundi refugees in 2021, mainly from Tanzania (93,000) and Rwanda (40,000), requires the reinforcement of counseling, registration and departure centres, the renovation and/or construction of transit facilities, and the recruitment of additional qualified staff to carry out pre-departure formalities and logistical support. COVID-19 testing must be organized for all departing refugees, requiring further upgrading of health and WASH facilities.

Response priorities in 2021

The 2021 Burundi RRP outlines the multi-agency response strategy and financial requirements of 35 partners supporting host Governments. The strategy provides protection and assistance to Burundian refugees across the four main asylum countries, assists impacted members of the host communities, and supports refugees returning to Burundi. The updated plan developed in accordance with the Refugee Coordination Model takes a comprehensive and solutions-oriented approach and includes the impact on host communities. The 2021 RRP for the Burundi situation envisages stronger engagement with development and peacebuilding partners to enhance services and infrastructure in refugee-hosting and return areas. An inter-agency 2021 Joint Refugee Return and Reintegration Plan is being developed to enhance the absorption capacity and reintegration opportunities in return areas in Burundi, complementing the RRP. This is in light of increasing numbers of refugee returns to Burundi since August 2020, and the continued high number of voluntary repatriations anticipated in 2021.

DRC, Rwanda and Uganda have developed refugee responses in line with the GCR, granting the right of movement to refugees, providing refugees access to national social services and supporting the goal of self-reliance. Efforts towards greater autonomy of refugees are, however, severely hampered due to many constraints on the ground, including inadequate resources, lack of economic opportunities, poor infrastructure and security-related challenges. Tanzania maintains an encampment policy and restrictive livelihood environment.

In 2021, RRP partners will continue to preserve access to asylum and ensure reception, protection and assistance for Burundian refugees, including new arrivals, with targeted assistance for persons with specific needs using a community-based approach. Refugees will be registered and issued with documentation (national ID cards, birth and marriage registration). Moreover, RRP partners will intensify activities to enhance peaceful coexistence and social cohesion between host communities and refugees, including through the protection of the environment. COVID-19 prevention and response activities will also continue throughout 2021, and critical gaps in the WASH sector will be prioritized.

Further reading

Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional

RRP
People in need
1.7 million
People targeted
1.7 million
Requirements (US$)
594.5 million
Countries covered
Angola, Burundi, Rep. of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia
Refugees and returnees
816,000 people
Host communities
842,000 people

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

In 2020, the complexity of the DRC crisis continued as the security situation progressively deteriorated due to ongoing inter-ethnic conflicts and armed attacks in South Kivu. This situation was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurrence of an Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces. Since 2019 and throughout 2020, increased violence combined with other root causes, such as major socioeconomic challenges, structural deficiencies, and the dynamics around governance and mineral resources, have given rise to the massive internal displacement of almost 5 million people, making it the largest IDP situation in Africa.

The majority of displaced people remain within DRC, but tens of thousands of new refugees have fled across borders since the beginning of 2020. Refugees continued to flee mostly from eastern areas of North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces to Uganda and other Great Lakes countries, and from Haut Katanga and Tanganyika to Zambia and other southern African countries. Some host countries in the region experienced reduced outflows, while other countries, especially Burundi and Angola, reported a net reduction in the Congolese population attributed to spontaneous returns, suggesting a general stability in some areas of origin.

Congolese refugees’ needs in the region remain significant, and the precarious situation of most of the countries hosting refugees amid the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of bringing humanitarian and protection assistance closer. COVID-19 prevention measures resulted in increased protection risks for DRC refugees with specific needs. Reports of GBV increased, and measures such as the closure of schools and the suspension of child-friendly spaces and sports activities led to increased child neglect, and adolescent engagement in negative coping mechanisms. In Zambia, a significant reduction in the attendance of girls in schools has been recorded since the lockdown. Furthermore, the prolonged periods of lockdown measures to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 had a negative impact on refugees’ economic situation, as they were unable to engage in their usual livelihood activities.

Projected situation in 2021 and beyond

The 2021 DRC RRP brings together 70 partners. It aims to address the needs of new arrivals of Congolese refugees in the region and those in protracted situations, and to assist impacted members of host communities. Protection and assistance will be provided to Congolese refugees and asylum seekers by all humanitarian and development partners involved in the DRC RRP. There will be an increased focus on developing sustainable livelihood opportunities in line with the Global Compact on Refugees for both refugees and the host population, thereby fostering peaceful coexistence. UNHCR and partners will continue advocacy with the host country authorities for the inclusion of humanitarian responses in national system services, mainly in the areas of education, health, water and social services.

Response priorities in 2021

In 2021, child protection priorities will include strengthening child protection networks and continued case management, and the monitoring and follow up of unaccompanied and separated children. Family tracing and reunification will also be facilitated. In education, the response will aim to provide remedial/catch-up lessons for pupils unable to follow distance learning programmes and for important classes linked to examinations.

Through the RRP, partners will aim to strengthen livelihoods and the resilience of DRC refugees and host communities. In Zambia, partnerships will be strengthened with pre-identified financial institutions to enhance access to financial services, financial literacy training, basic entrepreneurship skills training, business capital provision, and market information access to individuals and community micro savings and lending groups. In ROC, agencies will fund income-generating activities of mixed groups (host population and refugees/asylum seekers) in order to promote a peaceful coexistence between the two populations. Partners will continue to organize capacity-building workshops to develop skills in managing small business projects. In Burundi, some of the main actions proposed for young and adult refugees are vocational training and internships in local enterprises, training and financial support of income-generating activities, and support in agriculture techniques and materials.

In 2021, RRP partners will continue to work on environmental projects, such as those established in Rwanda. There will be continued engagement with the Ministry of Emergency Management in projects that will benefit refugees and host communities under International Development Association funding from the World Bank.

Response programmes in Southern Africa have been adapted to observe social distancing and other COVID-19 mitigation measures. In 2021, RRP partners will continue to focus on risk communications to spread information about COVID-19 prevention and services. Additional handwashing facilities will be installed, and additional soap will be distributed to continue good hygiene practices and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. To respond to refugees’ multiple health needs, partners will increase health-care access. COVID-19 case tracing will be strengthened, and additional qualified health professionals will be employed.

Voluntary repatriation operations will resume in 2021, providing conditions are conducive for a sustainable return. In ROC, approximately 5,000 refugees and asylum seekers from DRC have expressed their intention to return. Their voluntary repatriation will be organized, providing that resources are made available. Local integration will be supported for those who wish to remain. RRP partners will continue processing vulnerable cases of DRC refugees who need resettlement.

Further reading

South Sudan Regional

RRP
People in need
4.2 million
People targeted
4.2 million
Requirements (US$)
1.2 billion
Countries covered
DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda
Refugees and returnees
2.4 million
Host communities
1.8 million

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

Conditions are not yet conducive for facilitating safe and dignified voluntary repatriation to South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict and human rights violations. This is despite the signature of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) by the warring parties in September 2018 and the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020. Some South Sudanese refugees have spontaneously returned to their country, but large-scale forced displacement continues within the country, and new refugee influxes have been registered in all asylum countries in 2020.

RRP partners in all countries are working with host Governments to promote the inclusion of refugees in national systems and ensure their access to basic services alongside host communities. However, considerable challenges remain. The majority of South Sudanese refugees in the region are hosted in relatively remote, underdeveloped and economically underserved areas. Host communities often find themselves in a precarious socioeconomic situation, impacted by food insecurity and malnutrition. They can suffer from limited access to basic social services and economic infrastructure, as well as scarce livelihood opportunities. The presence of refugees could further exacerbate their situation by increasing competition over limited social services, livelihood opportunities and natural resources. These development-related challenges need to be addressed urgently to prevent tensions between refugees and host communities, which could negatively impact the protection and safety of refugees. The COVID-19 pandemic and severe floods in some countries in the region have exacerbated the already dire situation.

South Sudanese refugees face serious protection risks, particularly SGBV, due to harmful traditional practices, loss of income and livelihood opportunities, school closures, overcrowded shelters, lack of domestic energy supply and reduced humanitarian assistance. Refugee children make up 65 per cent of the population and are exposed to particular risks. The situation of tens of thousands of unaccompanied and separated children is particularly concerning, as many suffer harassment, exploitation, neglect and abuse. Large numbers of refugee children are out of school because of the pandemic and because high poverty levels compel some children to work instead.

As a result, many children are exposed to child labour, early marriage and onward movement, including smuggling and trafficking. Effective identification, assessment and targeted support to children at risk remain limited and are compounded by the lack of specialized child-protection services, particularly in remote areas.

Projected situation in 2021 and beyond

RRP partners will strengthen national child-protection systems, including birth registration, prioritize family reunification and alternative care placement, and enhance access to quality education. RRP partners will also intensify SGBV prevention and response, prioritize support to persons with specific needs, consolidate community-based protection mechanisms and scale up psychosocial and mental health support.

RRP partners will continue to reinforce the response and to meet the life-saving needs of South Sudanese refugees, while strengthening national protection and resilience mechanisms in asylum countries. There is an urgent need to create better conditions to promote the self-reliance of refugees in asylum countries through increased livelihood opportunities, expansion of cash assistance and socioeconomic inclusion of refugees, particularly in the areas of health, education and jobs. It is essential to increase freedom of movement and refugee access to markets including small-scale farming to address chronic food insecurity due to repeated ration cuts. RRP partners will aim to integrate the refugee response with development plans and efforts to promote socioeconomic growth.

Response priorities in 2021

The 2021 South Sudan RRP outlines the multi-agency response strategy and financial requirements of 94 partners, supporting host Governments to provide protection and assistance across the five main asylum countries. The updated plan, developed in accordance with the Refugee Coordination Model, takes a comprehensive and solutions-oriented approach and includes the impact on host communities. The 2021 RRP for South Sudan envisages stronger engagement with development and peacebuilding partners. It recognizes the need to move beyond emergency assistance to strengthen the resilience and self-reliance of South Sudanese refugees, and to support host communities to strengthen a peaceful coexistence.

DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda have developed refugee responses in line with the GCR, articulating prioritized multi-stakeholder responses. The establishment of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Support Platform, launched at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2019, coupled with the pledges made by South Sudan and the five RRP countries, will contribute to an integrated protection and solutions strategy for South Sudanese refugees.

The RRP will facilitate refugees’ participation in peacebuilding initiatives, promoting social cohesion between refugee and host communities and national reconciliation efforts in South Sudan. Interventions are also foreseen to promote sustainable energy and prevent or reverse environmental degradation linked to refugee sites. COVID-19 prevention and response activities will continue, and critical gaps in the WASH sector will be prioritized throughout 2021.

Further reading

Syria Regional

3RP
People in need
10.1 million
People targeted
10.1 million
Requirements (US$)
5.8 billion
Countries covered
Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey
Refugees
5.5 million
Host communities
4.5. million

Analysis of the context, crisis and needs

The Syrian crisis remains the world’s largest refugee situation, with some refugees approaching nearly a decade in displacement. Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt continue to collectively host over 5.5 million refugees. Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees in the world, while Lebanon and Jordan have among the world’s highest concentration of refugees per capita. Despite the efforts of host Governments, strongly supported by the international community for many years, the multilayered crises across the region continue to have a profound impact on host countries, vulnerable host communities and refugees. This has exacerbated socioeconomic conditions, further exposing underlying vulnerabilities and increasing protection risks.

The impact of COVID-19 has made a difficult situation even more challenging for Syrian refugees. While poverty rates were already high, refugees have lost their livelihoods. They are taking on debt and are increasingly unable to meet their basic needs including food, education, health and rent due to the impact of COVID-19. Over 60 per cent of refugee households reported the loss of jobs and entire incomes due to the pandemic in some 3RP countries. Food consumption has been reduced. Some 35 per cent of children are out of school, while over 20 per cent of children cannot continue education through distance learning. Protection risks are also prevalent with the risk of trafficking; limited freedom of movement; lack of documentation; housing, land and property issues; SGBV; and child protection challenges set to persist and, in some cases, increase in 2021.

Projected situation in 2021 and beyond

The hardship facing vulnerable host communities has long been severe and is now worsening. COVID-19 has accelerated poverty and unemployment. Food prices have increased by nearly 100 per cent in some countries over the last year. Many host-community members, including female-headed households, work in the informal sector and are often missed by national safety nets. Youth employment is approaching 50 per cent in some countries. Host countries also confront unparalleled macroeconomic challenges. After nearly a decade of hosting some of the world’s most vulnerable people, these Governments are now hard hit by worsening economic conditions and mounting financial pressures. This places new and severe strains on national and local institutions’ abilities to sustain services for all, risking social cohesion and threatening to roll back hard-won development gains. These trends will likely continue into 2021 and beyond.

Response priorities in 2021

In 2021, over 150 3RP partners, in line with the GCR and the implementation of the SDGs, will continue to support host Governments in their efforts to promote resilience for all, to ensure no one is left behind, and to ensure the needs of Syrian refugees, host communities and other vulnerable populations can be met.

The 3RP response in 2021 will comprise programmes and activities that, taken together, will seek to make progress in the following four areas in close coordination with national stakeholders, and with actors such as International Financial Institutions:

Protecting people: Protection of people is at the centre of the 3RP response to ensure that no one is left behind. This approach informs all aspects of advocacy and programming. Key programmes and activities in this area include support for access to protection, non-refoulment, registration, strengthening the protection space, prevention from and response to violence and exploitation, case processing, facilitation of referrals, legal assistance and information dissemination.

Promoting durable solutions: Refugees continue to require access to territory, international protection, and support in countries of asylum. Given the protracted situation, opportunities for durable solutions are urgently needed to enable refugees to look to the future with hope and dignity. Key programmes and activities in this area include resettlement and complementary pathways, support for people who take a voluntary and informed decision to return to Syria, as well as the promotion of local opportunities.

Contributing to dignified lives: The crisis continues to impact the socioeconomic well-being of vulnerable populations due to a range of factors, addressing the multiple deprivations facing refugees and vulnerable host populations. Supporting enabling conditions and opportunities for all to lead a dignified life is a priority for all 3RP partners across a range of sectors. Key programmes and activities in this area relate to multipurpose cash-based assistance, livelihoods opportunities, support to education, health and WASH services, systems for refugees and vulnerable host communities, and shelter support for camp-based refugees.

Enhancing local and national capacities: Broadening the capacity of institutions and systems helps to provide protection and essential social services, foster social cohesion, and increase opportunities for impacted communities to realize dignified lives. Key programmes and activities in this area include capacity-building and training for public institutions at all levels, support to local infrastructure and services, technical support, and strengthening policy and other partnerships with a wide array of local actors.

Further reading

References

  1. These people in need and people targeted figures include refugees and returnees, as well as impacted members of host communities, they are however provisional and subject to ongoing operational planning for 2021. The financial requirements are preliminary, and pending finalization and approval by partners.
  2. The people in need and people targeted figures include refugees, as well as impacted members of host communities. They are, however, provisional and subject to ongoing operational planning for 2021. Financial requirements are preliminary, and pending finalization and approval by partners.
  3. The people in need and people targeted figures include refugees, as well as impacted members of host communities. They are, however, provisional and subject to ongoing operational planning for 2021. Financial requirements are preliminary, and pending finalization and approval by partners.
  4. The people in need and people targeted figures include refugees, as well as impacted members of host communities. They are, however, provisional and subject to ongoing operational planning for 2021. Financial requirements are preliminary, and pending finalization and approval by partners.