Statement by Anders Pedersen on the launch of the 2018 Jordan Response Plan

Remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan, Mr Anders Pedersen at the Jordan Response Platform for the Syria Crisis meeting.

Your Excellency Prime Minister of Jordan Dr. Hani Al-Mulki

Your Excellency Minister of Planning and International Cooperation

Mr. Imad Fakhoury


UN and NGO colleagues

Ladies and gentlemen

Good morning,

Many thanks for your words Minister. Like you I am excited by the challenges to come and feel we are in a good position to tackle these head on.  It is reassuring to know that the Government of Jordan and international community share similar goals and have a shared sense of priority. The international community will continue to work in close partnership with the Government of Jordan reinforcing its efforts to respond to the needs of vulnerable households, whilst maintaining its political, economic and social security. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Against any number of measures the JRP has been hugely successful. Since 2015 it has mobilized $4.1 billion of which $1.7 billion was mobilized in 2017 alone. Since it was introduced the JRP has annually assisted in the region of 130,000 vulnerable households through more than 1,100 different projects delivered by some 200 partners working across 12 different sectors. It has provided essential support to vulnerable refugee and Jordanian households, and reinforced state systems and services as appropriate. Generating this level of funding and support is pretty much unprecedented and demonstrates the strength of the partnership between government and the international community, and the continuing impact and value of the work delivered through the Jordan Compact.

However, but as things change so must we. Crises evolve over time, and 2018 presents a fresh set of challenges that are consistent with a protracted displacement crisis. Indeed, it stands to reason that the response in its seventh year is likely to be different from that delivered in the first few years. To ensure we continue to best serve those in need, at the same time as enhancing national plans and processes, it is entirely appropriate, even necessary, that we periodically review the systems and procedures we employ to respond to the crisis. We should not fear change but embrace and guide it. Reviewing the workings of the JRP should be part of this.

2018 has the potential to usher in a new dawn, and our approach going forward should more closely reflect the strategic and policy approaches presented in the Government of Jordan’s Vision 2025, as well as the operational intent outlined in its Executive Development Programme (EDP). Essentially, we will review and refine our approach; taking a closer look at the planning, budgeting and resource mobilization functions of the JRP, and ensuring our future better reflects the government’s vision and developmental aims. With the operationalization of the 2018-2022 UN Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF), we also as the UN in Jordan have an opportunity to review and adjust our strategic and operational posture and thereby ensure we are delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals; the UN Secretary General’s reform agenda and the various bilateral and multilateral partner plans currently under discussion and implementation.

So, what might this mean in practise? Does it mean working differently and, if so, how? In looking forward it might be helpful to reflect on the recent past. Since Syrian refugees started arriving in Jordan in great numbers in 2012 and 2013, our response has prioritized the provision of short-term humanitarian assistance, and in many ways it still does. Given the scale of the crisis and the pace with which it unfolded from 2012 onwards, it was entirely appropriate that our collective response focused, first and foremost, on responding to urgent needs, and providing lifesaving emergency assistance.  But the situation has changed. The longer-term partnership approach outlined in the Jordan Compact, and the subsequent operationalization of the UN promoted and World Bank coordinated Global Concessional Financing Facility, requires us to rethink how we respond to both short and longer-term needs.

Our approach going forward needs to recognize this. Assistance must be delivered on the basis of a clear and objective assessment of need, and look to utilize and reinforce national structures and services as appropriate. Not only the structures and services of government but also of civil society: the very national and local responders we committed to working with and through at the Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. We might also look to further develop a way of working already evident across a number of sectors, notably education and health, where issues of vulnerability are addressed through national systems and services, rather than through parallel mechanisms. With the support of the international community, the Government of Jordan has taken the bold and courageous step of enabling Syrian refugees to access its schools and health centres. This has been recognized and applauded, and in partnership with the Government of Jordan we will explore ways this type of mutually reinforcing support might be extended to other sectors, noting the very real financial and social costs associated with protracted displacement.

In terms of next steps, I have initiated a dialogue across the UN family and beyond, including with you Minister Fakhoury, in an effort to determine how we as the UN best adapts to some of the changes suggested above. At best, others may as well find this inspirational. Going forward the UN’s approach is broadly captured in our recently launched five-year plan, the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework with its particular emphasis on people, institutions and opportunities. This Framework has been formally endorsed by the government, it is co-signed by Minister Fakhoury and myself. We will continue discussions with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, as well as engaging other line ministries and bilateral and multilateral donors on its implementation. In partnership with MOPIC, we are looking at developing a plan of action that looks at the practical steps required to reconcile the various planning and budgeting processes behind a nationally owned and led system, be it the EDP or something similar. However, harmonizing activities around a nationally owned planning and budgeting process will take time and we should be realistic in our ambition. For this reason, the excellent work of the JRP will need to continue until we have identified and agreed on a more developmental mechanism through which to channel assistance. The investigation of this developmental alternative will be part of an ongoing transition to ensure the response remains attuned to the needs that exist, and consistent with the broader security and development aims of Jordan. I look forward to the UN and the wider international community working closely with MOPIC and the Government of Jordan in further refining the JRP, and shaping its successor.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me some final words of thanks. Jordan has been at the cutting edge of the response environment for the past seven years. It has been highly innovative, and already been used as a model for other countries and regions. Jordan justifiably won global recognition and worldwide praise for its role in hosting more than 1.3 million Syrians, and for providing them with both assistance and opportunity. But such generosity comes at a price, and has potentially far-reaching consequences for national security, the economy and social protection. The job is not yet done however, and I can reassure you Prime Minister and Minister of Planning, that the UN and the wider international community will continue to stand should to shoulder with the Government of Jordan in ensuring the needs of vulnerable households, including Syrian refugees are met.

Jordan has provided a sanctuary and safe space for those fleeing violent conflict and through its commitment at the London Conference in 2016, and in Brussels a year later, the international community has pledged to maintain its support to Jordan. I trust this will be proven at the upcoming Brussels Conference by end April this year. The deepening of the partnership between government and the international community is critical, and must continue to focus on enhancing Jordan’s stability, whilst promoting its economic and political security. We must ensure that collective action reinforces national capacities, and complements and aligns to the country’s development agenda. 

We have a fantastic opportunity to introduce real change in how we respond to the crisis in Jordan. To ensure that the response going forward delivers greater impact and better value for money, and continues to make a meaningful difference to the lives of those we are seeking to support. A rationalized multi-sectoral response that reinforces the workings of government and civil society and benefits from greater private sector engagement. A response that proposes innovative solutions to complex and protracted issues, and ensures that we maximize our resources and work together as one in supporting Jordan’s future.

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
International Maritime Organization
International Organization for Migration
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 Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Food Programme
World Health Organization