Operational information on the Middle East subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:
By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.
Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Middle East
People of Concern - 2020 [projected][["Refugees",2314049],["Asylum-seekers",139793],["IDPs",10089688],["Returned IDPs",1945752],["Returned refugees",275020],["Stateless",364530],["Others of concern",3343]]
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Operational environmentThe situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) continues to drive the largest refugee crisis in the world. The crisis is now in its ninth year, with more than 6.2 million Syrians remaining internally displaced (as of August 2019) and at least 5.6 million more registered as refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and North Africa.
The scale, severity and complexity of people’s humanitarian needs in Syria remain extensive. There are significant protection risks due to continuous hostilities in localized areas, new and protracted displacements, increased self-organized returns and the erosion of communities’ resilience without enhanced international support. In neighbouring countries, which are generously hosting refugees, infrastructure, services and local economies remain under immense strain.
Between January 2016 and September 2019, more than 209,000 Syrian refugees spontaneously returned from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. As of September 2019, the number of refugee returns stands at around 75,500, surpassing the total number verified throughout 2018 (55,248). Furthermore, an estimated 341,000 IDPs returned to their areas of origin in the first nine months of the year, according to OCHA. Intention surveys indicate that more than three quarters of the Syrian refugee population hope to be able to return one day.
The number of IDPs in Iraq has gradually declined since 2014, with some 1.55 million people still internally displaced, according to the Displacement Tracking Matrix of IOM in September 2019. Many of the 4.3 million IDP returnees face difficulty in accessing basic services, while still contending with ongoing insecurity, a lack of shelter and livelihood opportunities, and explosive hazards. These challenges have led to instances of protracted and secondary displacement and re-admittance to camps where return was not possible or sustainable. Meanwhile, at least 257,000 Iraqi refugees are registered with UNHCR in neighbouring countries, and almost 32,000 more people live in camps in the Al-Hasakeh Governorate in Syria without any form of registration.
In 2020, UNHCR protection efforts within the Syria and Iraq situations will focus on advocating access to territory, protection from refoulement, registration, preservation of the protection space and available solutions, and protection from violence and exploitation. UNHCR will call on States to increase their resettlement quotas for vulnerable refugees and strengthen other legal pathways for admitting vulnerable refugees, such as through humanitarian visas, private sponsorship or complementary pathways. Despite insecurity and constrained access, UNHCR will continue to strengthen its presence and emergency response capacity to provide millions of refugees and IDPs in the region with life-saving, multi-sectoral assistance. At the same time, it will seek to strengthen strategic partnerships with governments, development actors, international financial institutions, UN agencies, civil society, academia and the private sector for a whole-of-society response. UNHCR will also continue to lead the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), with UNDP in response to the Syria crisis, coordinating the work of more than 270 partners in the five main countries hosting Syrian refugees.
In Yemen, the five-year conflict continues to exact a brutal toll on the civilian population. There are 24.1 million people in need of humanitarian assistance—more than 80% of the country’s entire population. Increasing food insecurity and partial blockades that hamper aid delivery continue to point towards a threat of famine. In 2019, there were nearly 4 million IDPs in Yemen, with 1.2 million returnees across 22 governorates. More than 440,000 of the most vulnerable IDPs lived across more than 1,500 sites that were ill-equipped to meet the multi-dimensional needs and protection of people of concern. In addition, some 276,000 refugees and asylum-seekers were hosted across the country with some confronted by anti-migrant rhetoric that led to a rise in arrests, detentions and restricted movements, particularly in the northern governorates.
UNHCR will be faced with ongoing operational challenges in the region as the conflict continues to evolve. UNHCR will address growing humanitarian needs with multi-sectoral assistance to people of concern, including protection services, shelter, basic relief items, multi-purpose cash and health support. It will also advocate for a sustained protection space for refugees.
The political and security situation in Yemen is expected to remain tense in 2020 amid complex regional dynamics, while rival factions in Yemen compete for effective control across multiple governorates – creating new frontlines and detrimentally impacting civilians. Protection needs remain high, but insecurity and restricted humanitarian access will continue to affect UNHCR’s ability to deliver assistance across Yemen. It will nevertheless work to effectively coordinate with the Government in the south and the authorities in the north to improve humanitarian access to people of concern.
OperationsIn the context of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, UNHCR will enhance its collaboration with both national and regional bodies towards strengthening protection for people of concern. Multi-lateral engagement will be expanded alongside advocacy initiatives to inform public discourse in favour of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons. Finally, UNHCR will foster partnerships in the GCC, including regional organizations, to cultivate growing interest from Gulf states in engaging in UNHCR programmes and appeals.
2020 Budget for Middle East | USD
|Other operations in the Middle East||0||0||0||44,765,553||44,765,553|
|Saudi Arabia Multi-Country Office||11,284,686||178,167||0||0||11,462,853|
|Syrian Arab Republic||46,968,149||198,640||317,833,049||220,617,302||585,617,140|
2020 Voluntary Contributions to Middle East | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 1
|Middle East overall|
|United States of America||0||0||0||1,300,000||1,300,000|
|Middle East overall subtotal||0||0||0||1,300,000||1,300,000|
|Private donors in Brazil||0||0||183||0||183|
|Private donors in Italy||0||0||33||0||33|
|Private donors in Kuwait||0||0||333,164||48||333,213|
|Private donors in Lebanon||0||0||0||310||310|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||0||0||0||52||52|
|Private donors in the Netherlands||0||0||55||0||55|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||0||0||0||2,129||2,129|
|Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)||2,299,210||0||0||0||2,299,210|
|Private donors in Canada||0||0||0||4,171||4,171|
|Private donors in Egypt||9,139||0||0||1,727||10,866|
|Private donors in India||21||0||0||0||21|
|Private donors in Italy||0||0||0||17,203||17,203|
|Private donors in Kuwait||16,197||0||0||9,252||25,450|
|Private donors in Lebanon||53,914||0||0||61,215||115,130|
|Private donors in Oman||8,724||0||0||2,161||10,885|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||33,326||0||0||7,588||40,914|
|Private donors in Switzerland||0||0||0||136,026||136,026|
|Private donors in the Netherlands||65,735||0||0||0||65,735|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||743,234||0||0||72,261||815,495|
|Private donors in the United States of America||4,534||0||0||0||4,534|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||11,585,366||0||0||0||11,585,366|
|Private donors in Egypt||9,151||0||0||1,727||10,877|
|Private donors in Italy||0||0||0||467||467|
|Private donors in Kuwait||16,357||0||0||9,252||25,610|
|Private donors in Lebanon||246,480||0||0||61,215||307,695|
|Private donors in Oman||9,482||0||0||2,161||11,643|
|Private donors in Qatar||5,000,100||0||0||0||5,000,100|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||33,703||0||0||7,588||41,291|
|Private donors in Spain||0||0||0||26,461||26,461|
|Private donors in Switzerland||0||0||0||60,060||60,060|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||99,202||0||0||0||99,202|
|Other operations in the Middle East|
|Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)||0||0||12,600,000||0||12,600,000|
|United States of America||0||0||0||29,026,663||29,026,663|
|Other operations in the Middle East subtotal||0||0||12,600,000||32,376,663||44,976,663|
|Syrian Arab Republic|
|Common Humanitarian Fund Sudan||0||582,865||0||0||582,865|
|Private donors in Lebanon||0||0||19,242||0||19,242|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||0||0||20,681||0||20,681|
|United States of America||0||0||0||8,873,337||8,873,337|
|Syrian Arab Republic subtotal||0||582,865||39,923||25,846,816||26,469,604|
|Common Humanitarian Fund Sudan||0||0||6,034,668||0||6,034,668|
|Private donors in Canada||0||0||0||1||1|
|Private donors in Egypt||0||0||0||238||238|
|Private donors in Kuwait||0||0||1,000,164||0||1,000,164|
|Private donors in Lebanon||0||0||0||928||928|
|Private donors in Oman||0||0||0||568||568|
|Private donors in Qatar||0||0||25,000,290||0||25,000,290|
|Private donors in Saudi Arabia||0||0||0||213||213|
|Private donors in the United Arab Emirates||0||0||0||2,796||2,796|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||0||0||0||317||317|
|Private donors in the United States of America||0||0||0||20,000||20,000|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||1,046,963||0||1,201,711||0||2,248,675|
|United States of America||0||0||0||8,500,000||8,500,000|