Statement by Anders Pedersen on the launch of the 2019 Jordan Response Plan

Speech by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan, Mr Anders Pedersen, on the launch of the 2019 Jordan Response Plan.

Your Excellency Prime Minister of Jordan, Dr. Omar Razzaz,

Your Excellency Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Dr. Mary Kawar and all ministers here present,

Ambassadors, Representatives of International and National NGOs, United Nations Colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen

Let me start by joining Minister Kawar in praising the strong partnership between the Government of Jordan and the international community that has grown through various iterations of the Jordan Response Plan since it started in 2014.  We have come a long way from what started as providing lifesaving emergency assistance, to a partnership that reinforces the resilience of vulnerable communities, while responding to the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees.

Today, we are witnessing challenges that are largely consistent with any protracted displacement crisis. Unfortunately, conditions for safe return to Syria are not yet present. The vast majority of the Syrian refugees will most likely stay in Jordan for the foreseeable future.  Hence, as an international community we fully endorse the conclusion from last year’s Brussels Conference and as stated in the 2019 JRP in front of us, i.e. “The Syria crisis has and is still adding strain on the country’s economy and infrastructure and has put pressure on all sectors including education, health, housing, water, municipal services and electricity supply.”

Your Excellency, Prime Minister, with this in mind allow me once again to commend the Government of Jordan for its unprecedented efforts and commitment for continuing to provide a secure environment for all refugees, especially but not exclusively those from Syria. It has been said so many times, but it remains equally true. Jordan exemplifies a model of hospitality and inclusiveness despite the burden this is placing on the country and its people. We collectively thank you.

Equally unprecedented is the support that has been provided by the international community, a truly dedicated group of partners and friends of Jordan.  The level of funding still remains exceptional in global comparison and we witness continuously a very strong commitment to assist Jordan in the response and, increasingly, in building its resilience. But let’s make no mistake.  The daily crisis facing many Syrian refugees in Jordan remains as critical as ever.  As an international community, we need to intensify our efforts   to ensure that  these vulnerable people, and the communities in which they live,  have a dignified life. 

Moving forward though, and in light of last year’s significant developments in Southern Syria and its impact on Jordan as the opening of the Jaber-Nassib border crossing exemplifies, this year, 2019 we have an opportunity – and an obligation I would argue - to evolve further our response to the Syria crisis and how it impacts on Jordan.

As stated in the JRP 2019, and in line with the 2018 Jordan Partnership Paper endorsed at last year’s Brussels conference, we are called upon to have a more development-oriented approach to build resilience and reduce Jordan’s dependency on humanitarian assistance over time.  This requires working towards strengthening capacities of overburdened national systems and institutions and working through them to absorb and respond to the increasing demands of today and in the future.  Empowering people and providing opportunities for participation and engagement, especially of women and the youth, are key. Humanitarian and development-oriented responses and support have to go hand-in-hand, within an integrated and seamless approach.

To harness our multiple strengths and resources in a more comprehensive fashion, we lean upon the excellent partnership built over the last 8 years. This partnership and our collective response fall squarely into realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is also consistent with the 2018 Global Compact for Refugees to which Jordan is a signatory.

The fact is that Jordan largely has the instruments it needs to chart its path towards sustainable development.  Under the leadership of you Prime Minister, the government has started to implement a series of legal, social, political, economic, and environmental reforms, to enhance economic productivity, support the creation of decent jobs, strengthen the rule of law, promote broad participation in political decision-making, and address inequalities and inequities among the people.

Taking these efforts forward, it is now about bringing all these instruments together. As members of the international community we welcome the recently launched Renaissance Plan and the soon-to-be-launched Economic Reform Matrix. We commit to secure that we align our disparate activities within one comprehensive, government-led and utilized, partner-supported planning process and framework that delivers substantive, sustainable results in the humanitarian and development spheres alike.

Eventually, though, it is about us, the members of the international community and close partners of Jordan, to enable Jordan to do the right thing by providing our support in such a way that all needs and vulnerabilities of people living in Jordan are assessed equally and, independently of legal status, being a refugee or not.

Let 2019 be the year when we make it happen. The year when Jordan accelerates its momentum towards a sustainable and resilient Kingdom where no one is left behind. The year when Jordan is set on a trajectory to realize sustainable development, essential for its own prosperity and stability, and for it to be able to continue to provide a global public good indispensable to regional security. The year when Jordan, with the support of all of us, once again can demonstrate what an unprecedented strong global partnership can achieve.

As often as it has been said, it remains true. Jordan has in so many ways provided all of us with a moral compass on how to do what is right despite exceptional challenges. We are now entering a new phase of our partnership, a phase where we have to ensure we have the instruments and processes in place that allow us to look beyond the crisis of today into the future. A future Jordan governed by the Rule of Law and deep-rooted solidarity with people in need, towards realizing Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals and a national renaissance for Jordan.

In closing, I wish on behalf of all members of the international community in Jordan very sincerely to thank you Prime Minister, and on a very personal note, you Minister Kawar and all your colleagues at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, for your leadership and partnership.

Thank you.

Speech by
Anders Pedersen
UN Resident Coordinator and
Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan
RC Pederson
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees