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Jordan to propose new support strategy at London meeting

By Khetam Malkawi - Jan 30,2016 - Last updated at Jan 30,2016

AMMAN — With world leaders meeting in London for the “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference 2016” at the end of this week, Jordan has renewed its call on the international community to adopt a new approach to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis, said Mohammad Momani, the minister of state for media affairs and communications.

The new strategy should not be based on humanitarian relief alone, but should also include economic development goals, for the Kingdom to be able to continue carrying the burden of hosting the refugees, said Momani, who is also the government's spokesperson, on the eve of the London conference.

"We appreciate what the international community has provided, but we have reached our limits," stressed Momani, adding that the international community’s support to Jordan was not enough to cover the needs of some 1.26 million Syrian refugees living in the country, mostly in host communities.

Therefore, the Kingdom will call this year for adopting a new funding approach of sustainable solutions, according to Momani.

He told The Jordan Times that investing in regional and host countries’ stability by adopting a new sustainable approach to deal with the refugee crisis is the most feasible and effective way to serve individual countries and the world’s stability and security.

“If we don’t help Syrian refugees inside Syria and in host countries, it will be inevitable that the entire world will feel the consequences of their tragedy ... Just like we have seen in the heart of Europe lately,” explained Momani.

Pledges for the 2015 Jordan Response Plan by donors covered only 36 per cent of the required funding, estimated at $2.9 billion in total, while funding for host communities across the Kingdom covered only 8 per cent. This has placed pressure on the Kingdom’s infrastructure, services and budget, officials have said.

Funding required for the 2016-2018 Jordan Response Plan is estimated at around $8 billion — $2.5 billion for humanitarian needs, $2.5 billion in financial support to host communities and $3 billion to compensate the Treasury for the burdens it will bear. 

According to the minister, “immediate support to the country’s infrastructure, particularly the vital sectors of education, water and health”, is needed.

Creating new job opportunities through industry, trade and investment is an essential part of the holistic approach, now and for the future, said Momani.

“If the world wants us to be able to help Jordanians affected by the Syrian crisis and Syrian refugees, then the national economy must be helped to provide economic and employment opportunities for Jordanians as well as Syrians,” he added.

“This cannot be done given the huge burden on the Jordanian economy unless this economy grows sustainably and sufficiently... we want access to their [donors’] markets and ease of access to the rules of origins,” the minister explained.

 

The “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference 2016”, which will take place on February 4 in London, is co-hosted by the UK, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations.

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