Funding shortfalls continue to place a major constraint on response efforts in Syria
ISSUED JUNE 2020
This product aims to provide insights into humanitarian funding gaps as projected over the next four months – July to October 2020 – based on programmatic priorities and current funding levels by sector, as well as the status of commodity pipelines from selected UN agencies. Achieving the objectives of the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and COVID-19 plan in full will require comprehensive funding; only immediate and critical gaps are described in detail here. Given the dynamic context, donors are urged to program funds in an unearmarked and flexible manner.
• Syria remains one of the largest and most complex humanitarian emergencies in the world today. Overall, an estimated 11.1 million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in 2020, including 4.7 million people in acute need. Economic shocks coupled with the direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 stand to further increase the number of people in need during the remainder of 2020 and beyond.
• As of 18 June 2020, 26.4 per cent or US$906 million of the US$3.4 billion required under the 2020 HRP was funded according to the Financial Tracking System (FTS) . Moreover, only 16.2 per cent or US$62 million of the additional US$384 million requirements for the COVID-19 response was funded.
• Funding shortfalls continue to place a major constraint on response efforts, with partners having to divert resources from existing humanitarian programmes to meet sudden onset needs, including those related to COVID-19. US$1.85 billion is urgently needed over the course of the next four months to sustain critical levels of the HRP and COVID-19 response, including US$477 million to avoid UN pipeline breaks.
• The COVID-19 outbreak and its broad consequences have resulted in temporary delay or adjustments of humanitarian programmes. The volatility of the Syrian Pound is impacting direct implementation and local procurement of goods and services, the prices of commodities and the overall cost of providing humanitarian assistance are expected to continue to increase as a result. Additional support and timely flexibility from donors regarding existing and future funding agreements are needed to enable swift and efficient adjustments to continue to meet people’s needs.
• Humanitarian partners must be able to make full and complementary use of different response modalities, including from ‘within Syria’ (areas accessed from territory controlled by the Government of Syria, including large areas of north-east Syria, not under Government control), and cross-border from neighbouring countries, to access all populations in need across Syria and provide assistance and services. Cross-border pre-positioning exercises for north-west Syria have accelerated funding consumption, necessitating replenishment of cash flows.
• Disproportionate funding to some sectors at the expense of others compromises the ability of humanitarian partners to provide a comprehensive response to multi-faceted needs in a highly complex operating environment.
• The Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund and the Syria Humanitarian Fund have only US$0 and US$17.3 million available respectively, as of 21 June. These are the most flexible, quickest mechanisms for funding – especially in a dynamic environment such as Syria. Donors are encouraged to urgently provide additional funding through the country-based pooled funds.
• Donors are encouraged to provide direct funding to NGOs operating cross-border in north-east Syria; the UN does not channel funding to these partners since the UN Security Council passed its Resolution 2504.
• While there was a period of relative calm in north-west Syria, the emergency response for some 840,000 people who remain displaced in north-west Syria following escalations of hostilities between December 2019 and early March 2020 is ongoing. The threat of renewed violence will further strain response capacity.