A War on Development: 2nd Report on Impact of Syria Conflict

30 October 2013
A War on Development: Second Report on Impact of Syria Conflict


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and the Syrian Center for Policy Research and with important support from the European Union (EU), has issued the second in a series of quarterly socioeconomic monitoring reports on the crisis in Syria. 

War on Development examines social and economic indicators and developments from April to June 2013. It describes the catastrophic impact of the ongoing armed conflict, now more than 2 years old, on the lives, livelihoods and environments of people in Syria. 

More than a third of the country’s population have fled their homes and neighbourhoods, and more than half live in poverty. Among Palestine refugees, over half of the 529,000 registered in Syria have been displaced, either within the country or outside its borders. 

The economic impact of the conflict has compounded people’s suffering. Almost half the workforce is unemployed, with over 2.33 million jobs lost. Syria is rapidly de-industrializing; agriculture now accounts for 54 per cent of GDP, and since March 2011, the economy has lost US$ 103.1 billion. Fiscal management is stretched to the limit. 

The ongoing conflict continues to hinder the human development of people in Syria. Young people have been particularly vulnerable, with half of all school-age children no longer in school and many schools closed due to violence, instability or damage. The health system is nearing collapse: 40 per cent of public hospitals are out of service and 63 per cent have been damaged, while over half of the 23 UNRWA health centres have been closed. Doctor-patient ratios have plummeted sixfold, even as more than 2 per cent of the population has been killed, maimed or wounded in the conflict. 

This series of quarterly reports, made possible by funding through the EU Instrument for Stability (IfS), is an important tool by which to measure the growing impact of the conflict. Support from the IfS has also been crucial in enabling UNRWA to provide and maintain humanitarian, educational, health and microfinance interventions in Syria. As the conflict continues, UNRWA services represent an increasingly important source of support. 

Read the report here


Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy & Strategic Communications
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267
Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)258 90724
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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