The Syrian crisis has had a profound humanitarian, socio-economic, and environmental impacts on the population in both Syria and its neighbouring countries, pushing millions to move and putting host countries and communities under great pressure. Although some moved to camps, most (85 percent in Lebanon and 83.3 percent Jordan) settle in cities, often in informal communities. Unfortunately, due to lack of planning and resources to respond to this large influx, many find themselves in communities that lack basic infrastructure and services, of which water challenges are seen as a major problem, often leading to health and livelihood issues and social unrest, as most displaced work in the agriculture depending heavily on water. Moreover, the majority of DPs from Syria live under the poverty line and lack legal residency making it difficult for them to secure income.
Hence, the scale and nature of the Syrian crisis and climate change repercussion on the Mashreq region requires a shift in development approach - a need for better and more effective regional, national and local programming focused on addressing natural resources scarcity in cities exacerbated by both urban displacement and climate change impacts. There is enough evidence that water challenges will likely grow for urban areas hosting displaced communities in Jordan and Lebanon in the future due to climate change impacts. There is also a clear link between influx of Syrian DPs and increasing pressure on water resources in these areas. Both challenges are coupled with adaptation challenges in both countries. Common adaptation challenges for the two countries include financial constraints to implement climate action, lack of awareness at the community level, weak coordination between relevant authorities and limited spending on research and capacity building to apply low-cost innovative solutions.
In response, the aim of this project is to support the development of a comprehensive regional response framework to climate change, combined with the Syrian crisis, especially in an urban context. This is done by identifying effective approaches and best practices to build urban resilience, focused on actions that address water challenges that benefit both DPs and host communities, and especially women and youth. The project will focus on cities under widespread stress from displaced persons – which significantly impacted the overall absorption capacity, including urban systems and services such as water supply (exacerbated by climate change), sanitation, education, and health services. The framework is not only developed for the project target areas, but also for areas with similar contexts.
The project will focus on supporting a sustainable water management approach by reducing the use of unsustainable water sources and limiting water losses on one hand and increasing water use efficiency through supporting water harvesting and promoting the use of other non-conventional sustainable water resources. The approach also includes building the capacities of national and local governments on forward-looking and pro-active urban land use planning and sustainable water management to strengthen the planning for future influx of people and climate change impacts in an integrated manner. The project will raise the communities awareness of how to operate, sustain and replicate innovative, low cost and sustainable adaptation techniques such as small-scale upstream river, flood water and rooftop rainwater harvesting systems as well as decentralised waste water treatment and reuse facilities to irrigate agriculture land and efficient water use options and permaculture
This project is aligned with the 3RP Regional, Refugee and Resilience Plan to the Syrian crisis, co-led by humanitarian and development partners, to build synergies among partners drawing on their comparative advantages to ensure that response is more coherent and with collective outcomes filling knowledge and policy gaps in protracted crisis response. This initiative is expected to develop a regional’ urban risks and vulnerabilities assessment, integrated planning and management approach model focused on addressing water challenges in cities, exacerbated by both the influx of DPs and climate change impacts. The model can be replicated in similar context and feed into 3RP programming.