ILO Response: Syrian Refugee Crisis

© Tabitha Ross/ILO
The Syrian refugee crisis embodies one of the largest and most protracted and complex humanitarian emergencies of modern times. Since 2011, the bulk of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria have found refuge among host communities in neighbouring states. Among the Arab States hosting Syrian refugees, Jordan and Lebanon already had to contend with difficult socioeconomic conditions before the Syrian crisis, particularly in communities where refugees have now settled.

Host communities in Jordan and Lebanon now face a myriad of socioeconomic pressures stemming from the refugee crisis, including:
  • An increase in labour supply which results in increased employment competition as well as downward pressure on wages, particularly among low-income and low productivity jobs;
  • a rise in market demand which exerts upward pressure on consumer goods;
  • a decrease in access and quality of public services including utilities, infrastructure, healthcare and education.
  • an increase in child labour among refugees and host community residents, including the worst forms of child labour; and
  • rising social tensions and lower social cohesion among refugees and host community residents.

The ILO Response

As the Syrian refugee crisis continues, the evolving nature of the crisis necessitates a response that encompasses humanitarian and development interventions which provide access to livelihoods and decent employment. As part of the wider UN-response to the refugee crisis, the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States has adopted a cross-cutting development-focused strategy in Lebanon and Jordan which supports both refugees and host community residents in order to preserve social and economic stability as well as realise the rights of both to decent work and social justice.

As such, the ILO strategy builds on existing country programmes in both Lebanon and Jordan to implement country-specific interventions that focus on the following areas of response to:
  • Build the resilience of host communities in order to facilitate access to employment and livelihood opportunities;
  • strengthen institutional capacity and coordination mechanisms at local, regional and national levels to combat unacceptable forms of work with a focus on child labour; and
  • support policy development to ensure an employment-rich national response, embedded in the principles of decent work.

What's new

  1. Jordan issues first e-work permit for Syrian refugees in construction

    19 September 2018

    The new electronic system was introduced after 16,000 flexible work permits were issued in the sector in one year, as part of an ILO-coordinated agreement between the Ministry of Labour and the General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU) 

  2. Potential Opportunities for Women’s Economic Empowerment - Potato and Leafy Green Vegetable Value Chains - Akkar, Northern Lebanon

    05 September 2018

    The assessment examines the status of women in the potatoes and leafy green vegetables value chains in the Akkar region in order to highlight potential areas that will increase their visibility as valuable members of both their individual communities and the agriculture sector, as well as to showcase opportunities for women empowerment.

  3. © ILO 2018

    ILO, Jordan to expand green employment project for Jordanians and Syrian refugees

    15 August 2018

    The ILO and Jordan’s Ministry of Agriculture agree to implement the second phase of a project to boost decent jobs through green works and labour-intensive employment in agriculture and forestry.