Second area of intervention

Stabilising the host regions

The Al Quds School in Amman, Jordan

The majority of refugees find refuge in the countries bordering their home countries. Very often, these countries are developing countries. About 84 per cent of all refugees remain in their region of the world. In host countries, most of them live in towns and communities together with local people, and not in refugee camps. Countries that are hosting particularly large numbers of people include Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Uganda, Ethiopia, Jordan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Kenya.

In the host countries, it is often difficult for refugees and internally displaced persons to find employment. There are only few countries that give them work permits and, thus, a chance to make a living through regular employment. In addition, they often do not have adequate access to education programmes or health services. When people feel that they have no future and that they are socially excluded, they can develop serious emotional disorders. Many have been traumatised and need targeted assistance in order to become able to take their lives into their own hands again.

Often, refugees and internally displaced persons have no choice but to stay in their host communities for many years. The situation they have left behind only improves very slowly, if it improves at all.

And the arrival of very large numbers of people within a short space of time is often a huge challenge for host countries: there is a lack of housing and employment opportunities and of teachers and schools; food and water start to run low. Health posts and hospitals, too, are often hopelessly overstretched. In particular, conflicts can arise between refugees and local communities over access to water and fertile land.

Thus, our development cooperation focuses on

  • giving refugees and internally displaced persons better opportunities in the host countries, and
  • assisting host regions and communities in their effort to meet the enormous challenges.

Through development projects that improve job creation, education or health care and that benefit both displaced people and locals in the host communities, it is possible to foster the integration of displaced people in their new environment and help reduce social tensions.

In order to help stabilise the situation in host communities, Germany is also investing in infrastructure on the ground, for example water supply systems, and in income-generating measures (see also Cash for work: Job campaign gives people new opportunities). Host countries' government institutions and non-governmental organisations also receive support, so that they can maintain or even enhance their services for refugees and host communities.

Displaced people usually have not only lost everything they ever owned – many have also been subjected to violence, humiliation and exploitation. Germany is a vocal advocate for the rights of displaced people, also funding measures designed to alleviate the suffering caused by the traumatic events the refugees have experienced.

Germany also tries to facilitate dialogue between new arrivals and local communities. The aim of all these interventions is to help displaced people become integrated, avert conflicts and ensure that everyone has access to the basic necessities.

Spotlight on Syria

Installation of a water meter for a new drinking water supply network in Mafraq, Jordan

About 5.5 million Syrians have fled to other countries to escape the civil war in their country – most of them to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan (as at December 2016). In Lebanon alone, there are now more than a million Syrian refugees. In other words, one in six people in Lebanon is a refugee from Syria.

It is becoming less and less likely that Syrians who have fled to a neighbouring country will be able to return home in the near future. Nor are there any signs at present of an end to the exodus of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Displacement is a long-term problem: two thirds of all refugees under UNHCR's mandate have been in exile for more than five years. More and more new crises are developing worldwide. As a result, international agencies, host countries and donor countries are now reaching their limits after years of assisting refugees and providing humanitarian aid. At the Syria conference in London in 2016, Germany had made the largest single pledge, 2.3 billion euros for the period of 2016 to 2019. At the Brussels Syria conference in 2017, the German government pledged 1.17 billion euros in additional funding for 2017 and the following years.

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