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|2020 year-end results|
|53,309||households received COVID-19 cash assistance|
|53,121||people of concern received legal advice or assistance|
|33,000||households received monthly cash grants|
|15,229||primary and 6,229 secondary and tertiary healthcare referrals were provided to non-Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians. 304,424 primary and 14,186 secondary and tertiary health consultations were provided to Syrian refugees|
|5,497||best interest assessments were conducted for children at risk|
|1,552||survivors of gender-based violence received psychosocial counselling|
|2021 planning figures|
|60,000||individuals will receive legal assistance|
|38,700||households will receive monthly multipurpose cash assistance|
|36,000||people of concern will be referred to secondary and tertiary medical care|
|5,900||refugee children will benefit from best interest determination|
|1,600||survivors of gender-based violence will receive psychological support|
People of Concern
Operational contextThe COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected refugees and Jordanians alike. In 2020, new unforeseen humanitarian needs emerged. While UNHCR has been able to address the most critical vulnerabilities, it could not reverse increasing poverty levels.
A World Bank/UNHCR study released in December 2020 found that since the start of the pandemic, poverty had increased by 38% among Jordanians and by 18% among Syrian refugees, who were already experiencing higher poverty rates.
Against this backdrop, UNHCR continued advocating for refugee access to asylum and for their inclusion in national systems. The Government of Jordan granted refugees access to COVID-19 healthcare on a par with Jordanian citizens. Refugees were also included in the country’s national vaccination programme, making Jordan one of the first countries to vaccinate refugees against COVID-19.
In 2020 UNHCR continued operating in the camps and urban settings, and staff remained on the ground to deliver assistance and services to refugees. By adjusting to remote working, UNHCR ensured uninterrupted assistance to refugees.
Population trendsThe number of refugees hosted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan remained stable at 702,506 and 4,870 asylum-seekers. Out of the total registered population, 82% (575,108 refugees) lived in urban settings. Of the 127,373 Syrian refugees living in camps, 78,679 were registered in Zaatari camp, 42,174 in Azraq camp, and 6,520 in the Emirati-Jordanian camp. Most Syrians registered in Jordan originated from southern Dara’a (39.9%), followed by Homs (16.2%), Aleppo (11.4%) and Rural Damascus (11.3%) Governorates.
Movement into and out of Jordan was slowed by restrictions imposed to tackle the pandemic. Returns took place from January to mid-March 2020, then resumed as of October 2020 when the Jaber-Nassib border crossing to the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) reopened. In 2020, 3,452 returns to Syria were recorded.
In 2020, access to asylum was constrained both by the pandemic and by the Government’s decision in January 2019 to pause the registration of people entering the country on specific visa types.
- Winter cash support was provided to refugees of all nationalities, reaching 12,293 non-Syrian and 54,416 Syrian refugee families.
- To address the operational challenges linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR used innovative and remote working methods in almost all protection functions. With the successfully developed hybrid methodology of document distribution, 199,218 asylum-seeker certificates were renewed and 94,558 new ones issued. The hybrid approach entailed remote as well as in-person services in adherence with the evolving COVID-19 regulations. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, refugee status determination procedures were carried out without interruption.
- Health programmes could not be expanded to cover actual needs from the beginning of the year due to funding limitations and increasing needs linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- There was insufficient funding to tackle major deficiencies in camp infrastructure, particularly shelter maintenance, equitable access to energy, and road maintenance.
- The limited budget also constrained UNHCR’s work in education, child protection and gender-based violence response for all refugees, with specific limitations for non-Syrians for which the budget is even more restricted.
Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)UNHCR Jordan is grateful to donors for providing flexible funding. This allowed UNHCR to swiftly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to address critical needs by reinforcing interventions such as, but not limited to, cash assistance and health services.
Working environmentJordan has a strong tradition of generosity towards refugees, from neighbouring countries and beyond. Since the onset of the Syria crisis, the pressure on Jordan’s resources and infrastructure has been mounting; this has the potential to undermine the harmonious coexistence between refugees and hosting communities. While Jordan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, an MoU covers cooperation between UNHCR and the Government of Jordan on refugee and asylum-seeker issues.
The challenge of maintaining asylum space in a complex political context remains. In 2020, there will be a greater focus on the social inclusion of refugees, the sustainability of programmes and their alignment with national social protection schemes. UNHCR continues to coordinate the refugee response with the Government. In 2020, the Government will continue to lead the Jordan Response Plan (JRP) with close support from UNHCR. Due to the evolving situation in Jordan along the humanitarian development nexus, there is a recognized need to make the JRP more inclusive and complementary to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Jordan’s National Plan, which aims to leave no one behind.
UNHCR’s assistance to people of concern will focus on protection, cash assistance, livelihoods, health care, camp management and community mobilization, with an emphasis on vulnerability-based targeting. UNHCR’s multipurpose cash assistance strategy will be a key component of the comprehensive protection response for those living in urban areas. UNHCR will strengthen its partnerships with national actors, while shifting to more comprehensive community-based protection interventions including mobile helpdesks, mobile registration, communication groups.
UNHCR will continue to support the Government as it works to achieve the objectives set out by the Jordan Compact in February 2016, focusing on education and coordinating stakeholders’ efforts in the livelihood sector, advocating increased flexibility when issuing work permits and providing space for refugees to be economically active. UNHCR will also facilitate durable solutions through traditional resettlement opportunities and expanding complementary pathways where possible, despite challenges in the global resettlement environment.
- Advocating access to territory, the right to seek asylum, the principles of non-refoulement, family unity, and access to livelihood opportunities.
- Supporting the Government to provide security and protection to people of concern, in accordance with international refugee protection principles, through capacity-building initiatives.
- Providing multi-sectoral assistance to refugees in camps; promoting access to primary healthcare and referrals for urban refugees as well as multi-purpose cash assistance for the most vulnerable.
- Advocating and employing the “one refugee” approach in programming.