Remarks by Anders Pedersen on the Renewed Resilience Commitment

Welcoming remarks by the Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr Anders Pedersen in a High Level Meeting for a Renewed Resilience Commitment.

Dear Colleagues,

Many thanks for affording me the opportunity to open this meeting and offer some initial remarks on where we stand in terms of reinforcing resilience here in Jordan. This is a timely opportunity to highlight the impact and value of our collective work on resilience, and the importance the UN family places on reinforcing resilience at the individual, household, community, societal and institutional levels.

However, before I get onto that let me start by welcoming Sarah Poole to Jordan and the region. Her presence at today’s event is a clear demonstration of the importance UNDP together with other Agencies places on promoting resilience in Jordan, and we are eager to take advantage of her knowledge and experience. Sarah joins us at an important time as we move forward with increased commitment to operationalise the humanitarian to development nexus.

Many of you are aware, that over the past few months the UN in Jordan has been working in close cooperation with the Government, bilateral and multilateral partners, civil society and a wide number of INGOs, in reviewing our collective response. It seems to me and many others that we’ve been so busy in the past responding to the immediate needs of refugees and poor Jordanian households, that we’ve had too little time to actually explore how continuously adapt our response to evolving circumstances. An element of this is to look more systematically on how we might move the response towards a more developmental approach that better utilises national structures and services, bearing in mind that a continuation of today’s robust humanitarian response to the immediate impact of the Syria crisis on Jordan will be necessary for the foreseeable future.

In my view, this is long overdue with the situation in Jordan in 2018 markedly different to that experienced in 2015, or even 2012 when international machinery struggled – albeit successfully – to support Jordan in tis response to the arrival of large numbers of Syrian refugees. But, in Jordan, as elsewhere, as the situation changes, so must the response. On the basis of experience and learning, we therefore need to continue to adapt and evolve what we do to ensure the resources we allocate, and the programmes and services we deliver, continue to make a real difference to the lives of Jordan’s most vulnerable communities.

As we all know the term resilience can be interpreted, or misinterpreted, in many ways. Indeed, one person’s resilience is another person’s sustainability or someone else’s early recovery! But I think what we’re ultimately referencing is an individual, household, community or institution’s ability to anticipate and adapt to changing circumstances. In relation to the Syria crisis, how do we assist and protect those fleeing conflict, and how do we ensure that the communities, services and systems that receive those displaced are sufficiently reinforced to respond to this additional caseload?

I’m prepared to go out on a limb a little here and share what I think resilience means in Jordan, eight years into this response. At an institutional level, it means reinforcing national structures and services, primarily those of government and civil society. It means strategically investing in government and civil society and bolstering their capacities and capabilities to ensure that, over time, national actors will take on greater ownership and leadership of the humanitarian to development response. With a remit to judiciously invest in government, and strengthen its capacities and competencies, UNDP Jordan’s planned Joint Support Programme will be a key component of this. The desired end state is a more nationally-owned and nationally-led process, with sharper more cost-effective programmes and services, that are increasingly delivered by and through government and civil society.

At an individual, household or community level we are keen to provide well-targeted, multi-sectoral and cost-effective assistance to those in need, and marry these forms of material assistance with real education, employment and livelihoods opportunities that enable those in need to acquire skills, earn a living, provide for their families and contribute to society. Where possible we are looking to reach people through established social protection and welfare mechanisms. At a societal level we are looking to equalise assistance and opportunity, making sure No One is Left Behind, advancing the role of women, girls and youth, and increasing opportunities that maintain the fabric of society and contribute to enhanced social cohesion. 

With this in mind, the past six months has been a particularly busy period with the UN actively engaging the government, donors and INGOs in discussions that consider our approach eight years into this response and, perhaps more importantly, explore ways in which to achieve the vision set out in the Government’s Jordan 2025 approach. The vision of Jordan delivering appropriate, impactful and cost-effective programmes and services to ALL vulnerable households, including refugees, is a vision shared by the UN’s Agenda 2030, the SDGs. We have therefore drafted a series of discussion papers that have examined the situation, and presented suggestions for working and doing things somewhat differently. These papers prompted extensive and often vigorous debate across the community, and is expected to result in a Plan of Action that serves to operationalise a set of agreed principles, or what might better be described as a set of collective outcomes. We are currently working with the government, donors and partners in exploring how we make these collective outcomes a reality. I say this with a significant degree of humility, in no way suggesting that we as the UN are the first and only ones to review how collectively best respond to current development needs and challenges in and for Jordan. But I do believe that if all of us as members of the international community, guided by the Government of Jordan’s vision and priorities, can agree on a joint way forward based on common principles and key actions, our support will be even more effective and efficient.

This is why I believe an emphasis on collective results and joint approaches is appropriate. The New Way of Working agreed in Istanbul in 2016 challenges us to “provide a coherent approach and reduce the vulnerabilities of refugees and host communities”. It calls upon us all to reinforce the resilience of vulnerable communities by “harnessing the respective expertise of humanitarian actors, leveraging international financial institutions and the private sector” and effectively engaging with government.  This is precisely what we are looking to do here in Jordan.  

All this said, we are acutely aware of the challenges that lay ahead. Important work rarely comes easily, and we are keen to share our experience with colleagues from across the region, and similarly keen to learn from other responses. The 3RP’s regional coverage will allow us to do this and has given us the platform from which to launch some of the different ways of working I’ve mentioned. The 3RP has highlighted the importance of promoting more resilient outcomes, as well as the value in recognising the spectrum of needs that exist in Jordan, not simply those of Syrian refugees. As we continue on this journey we move together as One UN family in Jordan with all our partners, and in in line with the resilience aims of the 3RP and the long-term Vision of the Government of Jordan.

I thank you.

Speech by
Anders Pedersen
UN Resident Coordinator and
Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan
RC Pederson
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Food Programme
World Health Organization