Projects will support the most affected municipalities in the region, agricultural livelihoods and food security, school construction, the upgrading of waste-water systems in areas with high refugee concentration, as well as refugee protection, research and advocacy. The newly adopted assistance package brings the overall amount of projects committed under the Trust Fund to €1.2 billion.
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: "The actions adopted today by the EU Trust Fund will substantially boost local service delivery and economic development for refugees and host communities in the region. With €223 million mobilised by the Trust Fund for Lebanon and Jordan this year alone, the European Union continues to demonstrate its resolve to respond to the needs arising from the Syria conflict, and stand side by side with the refugees and the countries hosting them under difficult conditions".
The assistance package was adopted today at the EU Trust Fund Board meeting. The board brought together the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, EU Member States and representatives of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the World Bank to support Syrian refugees and host communities in the region.
The new €150 million aid package includes the following actions:
Since its establishment in December 2014, an increasing share of the EU's support to help Syrian refugees and support Syria's neighbouring countries cope with the refugee crisis is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis. The Trust Fund reinforces the integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer term resilience and early recovery needs of Syrian refugees and host communities and their administrations in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
The Trust Fund is a key instrument to deliver the EU's pledges for the crisis made at the London conference on Syria in 2016 and the Brussels conference in April 2017, and also underpins the special EU Compacts agreed with Jordan and Lebanon to assist them in the protracted refugee crisis. With the new package adopted now, the Fund has delivered in 2017 a total of €132 million for Lebanon and €91 million for Jordan, more than initially foreseen.
Overall, €1.3 billion have been mobilised and pledged from the EU budget and contributions of 22 EU Member States and Turkey. Of the total volume of funds, €1.2 billion have now been committed (86%) and €544 million have been contracted by the Trust Fund with implementing partners for 29 projects on the ground.
Including the new decisions, the Fund's budget has been allocated to programmes supporting basic education and child protection, training and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved water and waste-water infrastructure, as well as support to resilience, women empowerment and fighting gender based violence, economic opportunities and social inclusion. The scope of the Fund also includes support to internally displaced persons in Iraq fleeing from the interlinked Syria/Iraq/Da'esh crisis, and to provide support in the Western Balkans to non-EU countries affected by the refugee crisis.