Needs Assessment Review of the Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Jordan


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Executive Summary

· The Syrian crisis has had a large negative impact on Jordan, especially on the most vulnerable segments of the population in the northern part of the country, in different ways:

o Increased pressure on public finance, further trade deficit and losses to key sectors

o Increased vulnerabilities of the poorest segments of the Jordanian population

o Deterioration of access to quality basic services in the most affected governorates

· The food security status of the poorest segments of society will be further impacted by the current upward pressure on rental prices, increased dependence on potable water from private vendors and potential price increases in other necessities, in addition to the loss of livelihoods in agriculture and trade and increased competition for employment

· Deficiencies in the supply and availability of medication, health equipment and specialist physicians in health facilities have been evidenced

· Various policies and actions need to be taken by the government to mitigate impact of crisis

Key Findings

Macro-Economic and Fiscal Implications

· While GDP growth was reduced by 2% in 2013, additional expenditures of USD 251 million were spent by the government in 2012 to provide subsidies and current expenditures for Syrians, partially offset by donor contributions and grants

o This spending is believed to have contributed to the 2012-2013 budget deficit upsurge

o The government is forced to further shift capital investment to current expenditures

· The crisis affected Jordan’s trade balance with high exports prices and rise in imports

Employment, Livelihoods and Poverty

Employment and Labor

· Syrian labor activity has put downward pressure on wages, mainly in the informal sector

· There is a high risk of crowding out of Jordanian labor in specific localities, in particular the working poor, for low paying unskilled jobs

· Jordanian women, mostly in the home-based informal sector “are losing their jobs and income-generating opportunities to Syrian women”

Livelihoods, Poverty and Vulnerabilities

· Poverty is concentrated in the Governorates hosting the largest numbers of refugees (Amman, Ibid, Zarqa and Mafraq)

· As Jordan’s population grew, so did the total number of poor households with their level of poverty intensifying. Competition has thus risen within the poorest segments of host communities over informal charitable and relief services and employment opportunities

Agricultural Livelihoods

· The crisis has led to a disruption in agriculture and food trade which has led to a 25% decline in agricultural exports and a 30% decline in agricultural imports from Syria

· Small farmers and breeders are being “forced to sell animals or seek alternative unskilled work in urban areas”due to poor conditions e.g. increased cost of feed and reduced availability of water

· “Trans-boundary animal diseases and crop diseases and pests are a subject of concern”

Food Security

· Increasing pressure on prices of locally produced food supplies poses a real challenge to poorest segments of the society

Social Protection

· Increased pressure on already over-stretched family protection services

· Cash assistance and social security contribution schemes were further strained by the crisis

Social Services

Education

· The crisis has resulted in a high overcrowding in schools and raised concerns about declining quality with the enrollment of Syrian children in public schools. Attendance to double shifted schools has increased contrary to initial strategy to reduce the number of such schools

Health

· Jordan is unable to generate sufficient financial resources to cover healthcare costs despite having one of the highest rates of public health spending in the region

· The refugee influx has overwhelmed the capacity of the sector to deliver quality services to all

Local Governance

Institutional Capacities and Municipal Finances

· The pressure on fragile municipalities to meet increasing demand with the same level of available resources has increased; the performance of municipal services was also impacted

· Municipality funds were shifted from investment projects to recurrent budget

· The tension between decentralization and centralization dynamics has heightened due to the urgency to have a rapid executive response to the pressing needs of host communities

Delivery of Municipal Services and Urban Management

· The increased population is stretching the struggling municipal service delivery system. The capacity of municipal staff to monitor and control development has become increasingly difficult

· Unplanned settlement growth is promoting unsustainable sprawl and informal settlements while shortfall in maintenance and building roads has been exacerbated

Infrastructure and Energy

Water and Sanitation

· The influx of Syrian refugees has widened the gap between available water and demand

· The pressure has increased on sewage systems and communal waste facilities posing risks to the aquifer in the absence of proper wastewater management practices

Housing

· The Syrian refugee influx has translated into an immediate demand for housing estimated at around 86,000 units, on top of the average annual need of 32,000 units. Existing supply is not well aligned with the demand, in particular for lower income groups. Furthermore, increased demand has inflated rental prices up to 200%-300% compared to pre-crisis values

Energy

· While the Syrian refugee influx has exacerbated levels of residential energy consumption, disruptions to the flow of natural gas from Egypt have led to declining gas imports by up to 70%. Jordan had to shift to crude oil imports from GCC which led to a rise in energy costs making up approximately 20% of GDP

Recommendations

Employment, Livelihoods and Poverty

Employment and Labor

· Support to employment generation and training in host communities

· Improvement of labor migration management and greater formalization of the informal economy

· Development of an effective wage policy

Livelihoods, Poverty and Vulnerabilities

· Immediate support targeted at hardship cases in the affected governorates

· Immediate support to absorb unemployment among unskilled Jordanian workers in the affected governorates

· Value chain development support for vulnerable Jordanian households and those who live immediately below the poverty line

Agricultural Livelihoods

· Surveillance and control of trans-boundary animal and crop diseases and pests

· Crop diversification and intensification and income-generation through community-based “climate-smart” agriculture technologies

· Capacity development of the Ministry of Agriculture and other stakeholders to implement and monitor crisis response options

Food Security

· Support to the development and implementation of the national food security strategy (underway) and initiation of medium to long-term food security support programs

· Support to household food security monitoring

· Support to improved food security stakeholders coordination

Social Protection

· Strengthening and expanding the capacity of Government and service providers to meet the needs of the most vulnerable groups

· Increasing the outreach of cash assistance programs to respond to the additional caseload

Social Services

Education

· Scaling-up and expanding ongoing interventions in host communities, including through direct financial support, teacher training, equipment and infrastructure support

· Expanding the absorption capacity of schools, either through expansion or construction

· Support to teacher development programs to safeguard education quality

Health

· Direct and indirect support to reduce the financial gap resulting from additional caseload

· Physical expansion of health infrastructure facilities

· Strengthen MOH Preventive Programs and emergency services capacity

Local Governance

Institutional Capacities and Municipal Finances

· Provide immediate budget and capacity development support to municipalities and governorates

· Revision and/or completion of needed local development planning frameworks

· Support to emergency preparedness and response capacity of the local governance system

· Support to municipal administrative and service delivery processes for efficiency gains

Delivery of Municipal Services and Urban Management

· Provide immediate budget support and equipment to municipalities

· Broaden the range of innovative solutions and partnerships for Solid Waste Management and develop and implement improved plans at municipal level

· Enhance the capacity of affected municipalities to better handle urban development and management and support the capacity of municipal Local Development Units

· Support elaboration of basic Local Economic Development plans and/ or revalidate and update existing strategies and plans

Infrastructure and Energy

Water and sanitation

· Support to water conservation through water efficiency gains (network rehabilitation, leakage control, improved rationing distribution)

· Support to improved water quality and quantity

· Support to increase sanitation coverage and waste water treatment efficiency

· Support to capacity development and institutional reform

· Support to water and sanitation infrastructure in schools and other public institutions

Housing

· Support to housing analysis and monitoring

· Support to policy formulation and revision of the National Housing Strategy

· Support to government investment to boost housing supply

Energy

· Expanding the supply of electricity to households through new capacity in the grid

· Securing extra supplies of Liquefied Petroleum Gas for basic household cooking needs

· Devise and implement strategies for efficiency gains as a source of new power capacity to address the expanded demand

 

Report Name

Date

Timeline

Needs Assessment Review of the Impact of the Syrian Crisis on Jordan

November 2013

Undefined

Author

Supporting Donor

Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation

United Nations

Sector

Lead Ministry

General

Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation

Key Topics

Agriculture – Decentralization – Education – Energy – Expenditures – Healthcare – Housing – Food Security – Labor – Municipal Services – Poverty – Public Debt – Sanitation – Syrian crisis – Trade balance – Water

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