Humanitarian Financing & Resources
This working paper seeks to document and analyse collaboration mechanisms between local authorities and humanitarian actors in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis in urban and peri-urban settings in Lebanon. It outlines existing mechanisms of collaboration, analyses their potential strengths and weaknesses, and derives lessons and recommendations for improving refugee responses in Lebanon, and potentially in other national settings.
The entry of Syrian refugees into Lebanon and Jordan has resulted in unprecedented social and economic challenges to both countries. These are felt on a day-to-day basis by all Lebanese and Jordanian citizens whether through higher rents and declining public service availability, or through health and education infrastructure that is stretched beyond its limits. There is no doubt that both host countries have been incredibly generous to refugees, particularly at the societal level.
Since the Syrian conflict began in 2011, 11 million people have been internally displaced or have fled to neighboring states. This has put an incredible strain on the hosting societies, particularly in Lebanon,Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. The international community has dispatched more than $17 billion in funding to Syria Response Plans, 300 organizations have implemented projects, and thousands of people have been activated to assist both host communities and refugees themselves to cope with the circumstances.
The private sector has long been a major contributor to humanitarian action. At the community level, businesses frequently use their materials and resources to aid people affected by crises. As local markets recover and supply chains are repaired, crisis-affected people are once again able to access basic goods and, in some cases, resume livelihoods.
The humanitarian aid system is growing and expanding, and so surely its capacity to meet these challenges should also be growing. Yet despite the enormous resources, in the more complex, less high-profile and difficult contexts, MSF teams in the field have seen that humanitarian responses to displacement emergencies have not occurred in a timely and effective way. This is especially the case in conflict areas. These observations have prompted MSF to conduct this review, to better understand how the humanitarian system is responding to acute displacement emergencies.
Introduction: the challenges of an unprecedented refugee crisis in Lebanon
According to UNHCR, “over 2 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, making this one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history with no end yet in sight. The refugee population in the region could reach over 4 million by the end of 2014”.