At the invitation of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, a Board member of the United Nations Foundation, the organization’s Board of Directors visited Jordan earlier this week to hold its bi-annual meeting in Amman, and learn more about how the country and United Nations agencies are working to address the needs of people affected by the crisis in Syria.
While in Amman, Board members met with government and UN officials, as well as refugees and Jordanians in urban community centers. They also visited a UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) registration center, observed programs at the Queen Rania Family and Child Center, and met with local entrepreneurs. A group also visited the Zaatari camp for refugees.
According to UNHCR, Jordan has the second highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world – mainly Palestinian and Syrian, but also Iraqi, Libyans, and others. UNHCR has registered some 660,000 refugees from Syria alone, with Jordanian official estimates as high as 1.3 million. The vast majority of Syrian refugees do not live in camps, but in mainly urban areas, among local communities.
Members of the UN Foundation Board released the following statement recognizing Jordan’s contributions in supporting refugees and urging international solidarity in meeting the needs of displaced people.
“In Amman, we saw Jordanians and Syrians living, working, and playing together – a powerful reminder of our common humanity. We commend the people and leadership of Jordan who have shown great compassion and vision in their efforts to create an inclusive society for refugees and their community hosts. With most refugees living outside camps, community cohesion is essential.
“We also extend our gratitude for the lifesaving work of United Nations agencies on the front lines of helping people in their time of greatest need. We have been impressed by the practical impact of initiatives – such as solar power and water recycling in refugee camp settings to art therapy and skills training in urban areas – that show UN agencies coming together to deliver innovative solutions that put people first.
“Our shared humanity demands a shared response to help the world’s most vulnerable people. We acknowledge the generosity of donors at the recent UN-EU conference on ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’ in Brussels, but we note the UN’s humanitarian response plan for the Syria crisis in 2018 remains underfunded. As UN Member States negotiate Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration, we urge them to adopt more ambitious approaches on the issue of shared outcomes for refugees and host countries like Jordan. We also encourage donors to support UN agencies and other partners so refugees and their host communities can survive and thrive together, including through innovative approaches that help countries create employment opportunities.
“The UN Foundation will continue to support the work of the UN and its partners in their vital efforts. We stand with the more than 65 million people around the world who have had to flee their homes because of conflict, violence, and persecution. Now is the moment for all of us to choose courage and compassion over intolerance and indifference.”
More than 5.6 million people have fled Syria since the crisis began, with most refugees staying in bordering countries.
Members of the UN Foundation Board who visited Jordan include: Founder and Chairman Ted Turner (United States); Valerie Amos (United Kingdom); Fábio Barbosa (Brazil); Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway); President and CEO Kathy Calvin (United States); Narayana Murthy (India); and Muhammad Yunus (Bangladesh). They were hosted by Her Majesty Queen Rania.
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.