As the Syria crisis enters its seventh year, the scale, severity and complexity of needs across the country remain overwhelming. Some 13.1 million people in Syria require humanitarian assistance, 5.6 million of whom are in acute need due to a convergence of vulnerabilities resulting from displacement, exposure to hostilities, and limited access to basic goods and services. Conflict continues to be the principal driver of humanitarian needs, with the civilian population in many parts of Syria exposed to significant protection risks that threaten life, dignity and well-being on a daily basis.
In June 2014, the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF) was initiated after the decentralization of the Syria Regional Emergency Fund, which covered Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The SHF is led and managed by the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) for Syria to support the delivery of country-led response plans. In addition, a country-based pooled fund (CBPF) was created in Turkey, focusing on funding cross-border projects, managed by the OCHA office in Gaziantep and led by the Deputy/Regional HC in Turkey. The Jordan Humanitarian Fund may also fund cross-border projects.
The CBPFs in the region have been designed to support and align a comprehensive response to the Syria crisis by expanding the delivery of humanitarian assistance, increasing humanitarian access, and strengthening partnerships with local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Objectives of the Syria HF
The SHF is primarily aligned to support the delivery of strategic humanitarian response identified under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) while retaining the flexibility to allocate funds to unforeseen events or special requirements. The SHF will reinforce the HC’s leadership-and-coordination role by driving funding to needs-based priority sectors and geographic areas. The SHF will also aim for a more inclusive approach by working with a variety of implementing partners in a complex operational environment.
The SHF has the following main objectives:
- To promote needs-based assistance in accordance with humanitarian principles.
- To respond to critical life-saving needs by allocating 30 per cent of funds to the most critical needs in the most underserved areas, including besieged and hard-to-reach areas.
- To improve the relevance and coherence of the humanitarian response by strategically funding assessed humanitarian action, including as identified in the HRP process.
- To strengthen coordination and leadership, primarily through the cluster/sector system and HC function.
- To support and strengthen priority clusters/sectors and subnational priorities in accordance with assessed needs.
- To allocate 60 per cent of funds to NGOs and Red Cross/Red Crescent societies operating in Syria.
The SHF aims to ensure that humanitarian needs are addressed in a collaborative manner, fostering cooperation and coordination within and between sectors and humanitarian organizations. As such, the SHF contributes to improving needs assessments, enhancing the HRP as the strategic planning document for humanitarian action, strengthening coordination mechanisms, particularly for sector coordination, and improving accountability through an enhanced monitoring and reporting framework.
Interventions supported by the SHF are to be consistent with the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.