This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka
Sara Ferrer Olivella from the UN Development Programme participated as panelist in the session on the Situation Analysis of Syrian Refugee Influx during the ERF conference on The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy. The session is based on Dr. Caroline Krafft and Dr. Maia Sieverding’s Policy Brief on The Wellbeing of Syrian Refugees: Shifting from Humanitarian to Developmental Response in Jordan.
In her opinion, one of the most important evidence that the Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey 2016 brings into discussion on the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, is that the refugee influx is not the only burden on the Jordanian economy, but there are quite a few other crises that continue to challenge the government’s resilience. At the same time as the civil war in Syria, the entire Middle East region witnessed region-wide political and social instability that had negative implications on all countries of the region in the form of decline in economic relations with a wary rest-of-the-world. The Jordanian economy suffered exponentially from the regional uncertainty in the form of decrease in tourism, trade, and foreign direct investment, which was only exacerbated by the large influx of fleeing refugees from Syria.
So the key issue for Ms. Ferrer Olivella is to look beyond bettering the livelihoods of Syrian refugees, but actually devise plans to promote sustainable economic growth so that both Jordanians and Syrians -as well as other refugee populations living in Jordan- can productively participate in a growing healthy economy. This -she recommends- can be done through negotiating more pro-growth rather than mere relief aid that would help the government channel funds into the most vulnerable sectors in order to improve the opportunities and welfare of both Jordanians and non-Jordanians.
The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.