Middle East

2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - Middle East

| Overview |

UNHCR 2015 Middle East subregional operations map

Conflict and indiscriminate violence has plagued large areas of the Middle East in 2014, creating unprecedented protection and humanitarian needs for people of concern to UNHCR. The lack of prospect for peace or stability in the region in the near future offers little hope of the situation improving in 2015.

Home to several overlapping crises and humanitarian emergencies, the Middle East is likely to witness further internal and external displacement, with vast numbers of existing refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) requiring direct humanitarian support.

As the war in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) enters its fourth year, a return to widespread violence in Iraq threatens to affect millions, and Yemen's fragile political transition risks sparking renewed internal clashes further affecting the lives of extremely vulnerable IDPs and refugees.

In an increasingly volatile and dangerous environment for both people of concern and local/international humanitarian actors, maintaining its presence and preparedness to assess and reach affected populations will be a major challenge for UNHCR.

While the international community struggles to effectively address multiple crises, and their implications beyond the Middle East, UNHCR's immediate priority will be to maintain the most favourable protection environment for people of concern, through active advocacy and support to the affected national and local entities.

Encouraging conformity with international standards will take into account the generosity already shown by many hosting countries and the growing challenges of ensuring peaceful coexistence between refugees and local populations.

In terms of basic services and essential needs, UNHCR will need to maintain considerable resources for the distribution of emergency relief to millions. While the majority of refugees and IDPs in the region will continue to live in local communities, those camps already in existence or due to be built in 2015 will require significant funding. Meanwhile, supporting people outside camps will need greater monitoring to ensure the most vulnerable are reached, wherever there may be.

UNHCR will maintain overall coordination of the humanitarian community's refugee response and lead in the areas of IDP protection, camp coordination and camp management (CCCM), as well as shelter and non-food item distribution. This inter-agency coordination is essential in order to maintain the ambitious humanitarian strategies made necessary by the scale of the region's challenges and needs.

The organization and its partners, particularly WFP, UNDP and UNICEF, as well as civil society organizations, will pioneer ways to bridge the critical link between the humanitarian refugee response and refugee-hosting countries' need for resilience and stabilization in a context of protracted regional turmoil.

The organization will also build on the important contributions of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and encourage their further leadership of and support for resource mobilization and fundraising. Moreover, in an extremely fragile and volatile context where durable solutions for refugees and IDPs are scarce, continued burden sharing through the offer of resettlement and humanitarian admissions will remain a priority for the most vulnerable.

| Response and implementation |

Operations in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, with budgets of USD 25 million and more, are presented in separate country chapters. For other countries in the subregion where UNHCR operates, please see below.

In Israel, UNHCR will work with the Government and civil society actors to address the identified protection needs of asylum-seekers and refugees. Key activities will include: providing advice and assistance to individuals of concern; contributing to community projects; monitoring conditions in detention facilities, including Holot facility; and advocating laws and policies that protect the asylum-seeker community.

The GCC countries are host to millions of migrant workers, many originating from refugee-producing countries. Strict immigration and labour laws result in many overstaying their visas or becoming irregular as a result of changes in their employment or sponsorship. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers cross into Saudi Arabia illegally through Yemen.

Since last year, GCC countries have cracked down on irregular migrant workers in a drive to regularize labour and increase employment of nationals. Accordingly, UNHCR will continue its multi-faceted approach to protection, including capacity building, advocating non-refoulement, and finding durable solutions for beneficiaries, in close coordination and partnership with competent GCC actors. Certain populations of concern to UNHCR, such as Syrians and Rohingyas, can be given exceptional treatment, such as access to education and health care.

From its Regional Office in Saudi Arabia (which covers Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates), as well as its offices in Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, the organization will build on recent financial contributions to emergencies from GCC governments, national institutions and private entities, in order to foster greater coordination and participation towards more effective humanitarian delivery.

UNHCR will continue to raise awareness about its mandate, strategies, objectives, appeals and operations, and to promote a culture of transparency and shared responsibility, with the aim of mobilizing sustained resources for its field operations.

| Financial information |

UNHCR's financial requirements for the Middle East have increased dramatically in recent years, from USD 506.4 million in 2011 to a revised 2014 budget of USD 1.6 billion, as a result of needs arising from the crisis in Syria. In 2015, these financial requirements have increased again to USD 1.7 billion due to growing needs chiefly stemming from developments in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

In light of the evolving situation in the region, any changes in requirements will be presented separately, mainly in the 2015 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) and the 2015 Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) for the Syria situation and in a supplementary appeal for the Iraq situation.

UNHCR 2015 budgets for the Middle East (USD)
Operation 2014
Revised budget
(as of 30 June 2014)
Total 1,563,691,679 1,285,348,911 3,897,994 35,763,788 381,075,716 1,706,086,409
1. As from 2015 Kuwait is reported under Saudi Arabia Regional Office.
Iraq 311,967,182 136,096,621 2,045,988 35,763,788 56,629,011 230,535,408
Israel 2,934,409 3,207,939 0 0 0 3,207,939
Jordan 352,882,579 404,432,393 0 0 0 404,432,393
Kuwait[1] 5,000 - - - - -
Lebanon 471,872,116 555,537,603 1,242,275 0 0 556,779,878
Saudi Arabia Regional Office 4,266,486 4,577,895 320,000 0 0 4,897,895
Syria Regional Refugee Coordination Office 17,425,583 20,537,705 0 0 0 20,537,705
Syrian Arab Republic 320,223,482 52,557,990 179,730 0 309,778,397 362,516,117
United Arab Emirates 3,372,493 2,890,951 110,000 0 0 3,000,951
Yemen 56,726,371 44,869,802 0 0 14,668,309 59,538,111
Regional activities 22,015,977 60,640,011 0 0 0 60,640,011

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update



Statistical Snapshot*
from [2]
in [2]
* As at June 2015
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Bahrain 373 277 0
More info 377,747
Refugee figure for Iraqis in the Syrian Arab Republic is a Government estimate. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 23,500 Iraqis at mid-2015. The refugee population in Jordan includes 32,800 Iraqis registered with UNHCR. The Government of Jordan estimated the number of Iraqis at 400,000 individuals at the end of March 2015. This included refugees and other categories of Iraqis.
288,035 3,962,142
Israel 962 38,500 0
Jordan 1,767
More info 664,102
Includes 32,800 Iraqi refugees registered with UNHCR in Jordan. The Government estimated the number of Iraqis at 400,000 individuals at the end of March 2015. This included refugees and other categories of Iraqis.
Kuwait 978 593 0
Lebanon 4,329 1,172,388 0
Oman 31 122 0
Qatar 21 133 0
Saudi Arabia 629 211 0
State of Palestine
More info 97,241
Refers to Palestinian refugees under the UNHCR mandate only.
0 0
Syrian Arab Republic 4,194,554
More info 149,200
Refugee figure for Iraqis in the Syrian Arab Republic is a Government estimate. UNHCR has registered and is assisting 23,500 Iraqis at mid-2015.
United Arab Emirates 93 424 0
Yemen 5,832 263,047 1,267,590