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Brussels IV Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region: Position Paper

Technical Reports and Document

Nearly ten years into the crisis, a variety of factors have placed women and girls at increased risks of GBV and in increased need of related services, including SRH. These include multiple displacements, negative coping mechanisms, change of gender roles within the families, growing tensions with host communities and the now worsening socio-economic situation. Meanwhile, evidence shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated the risks of GBV and increased the needs faced by women and girls and impacted their access to life-saving services.

 

In the lead-up to the Brussels IV conference on supporting Syria and the region, this position paper provides an overview of the evolution of programmes in Syria and the region, highlighting best practices and providing recommendations for the way forward.

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UNFPA Regional Syria Crisis / COVID-19 Response: Overview of 2020 Funding Requirements

Situation Report

The crisis in Syria has been globally recognised as one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. As of 2020, more than 11.7 million people inside Syria are in need, while close to 5.7 million have taken refuge in neighbouring countries throughout the region. Since 2011, UNFPA has been responding to the needs of Syrian women and girls, delivering an integrated package of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) services that meet the continually evolving needs on the ground.  

 

This funding overview provides a snapshot of UNFPA's needs during 2020, including those required to continue delivering life-saving SRH and GBV services as well as funds needed to support UNFPA's COVID-19 response within the context of the Syria crisis.

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Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis — April 2020

Publication

The Regional Situation Report for the Syria Crisis offers a bird’s eye view of UNFPA’s operations within
the context of the Syria Crisis. The report is prepared by the UNFPA Arab States Hub in Amman, Jordan,
and spans operations conducted by UNFPA offices in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, in
addition to operations conducted inside Syria and managed from cross-border Turkey.
In addition to providing aggregated quantitative results for each country, the report also brings stories
from the field that highlight the plight of communities inside Syria and in host countries, in addition to
underscoring the positive impact of the response services provided by UNFPA in the areas of sexual
and reproductive health, gender-based violence, youth, and others. As of February 2020, the report
also covers UNFPA’s efforts to ensure continuity of operations throughout the Syria crisis region during
the COVID-19 pandemic.

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REPORTING ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE DURING PUBLIC HEALTH CRISES

Publication

During pandemics, lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions on movement are deemed necessary preventative health measures that can save millions of lives. For women and girls, however, they are also sources of increased risk of violence and death. Organisations working to
combat gender-based violence (GBV) worldwide have issued an unsettling amount of reports showing that more GBV is occurring against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. These reports have underscored the fact that many of the measures deemed necessaryfor controlling a viral outbreak are not only exacerbating GBV-related risks but also significantly limiting the ability of survivors to shield themselves from their abusers, all the while limiting or severing their access to life-saving support. This has been documented repeatedly during previous epidemics throughout the globe, during which women were also observed to take on additional physical, psychological and time burdens as caregivers.

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Ageing and COVID-19 in the Arab region: Leaving no one behind

Publication

Older persons are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and therefore more likely to re - quire hospitalization when infected. Ageing is commonly associated with morbidities such as hypertension and diabetes, mak - ing older people more susceptible to hos - pitalization and death. 1 In resource-poor settings, limited health care facilities and the lack of ventilators and oxygen supply can significantly add to death rates among older persons with COVID-19.

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Donor Update on COVID-19 - June 2020

Publication

As of 26 May 2020, Syria had reported a total of 121 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported on 23 March 2020, the Government of Syria introduced several measures that remain in place to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission, including movement restrictions between governorates and a daily national curfew between 19:30 and 06:00. Other restrictions that had been in place, such as the closing of public institutions and local businesses, have eased in the last few weeks, under the condition that social distancing and health safety measures are respected. These measures immediately impacted UNFPA’s capacity to deliver and monitor current activities, though remote surge deployments and new modalities of service provision have ensured that critical services have continued to be delivered.

 

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Syria Country Office - COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Flash Update #4 /01 - 31st May, 2020

Situation Report

As of 09 June, 2020, the Syrian Ministry of Health (MoH) has reported 144 COVID-19 cases across Syria: 76 active, 62 recoveries and 6 registered deaths. The first positive case was announced on 22 March 2020, with the first fatality reported on 29 March 2020.                

The movement restrictions which were previously introduced by the Syrian government as part the national COVID-19 response; including, the country-wide curfew were lifted on May 26, 2020.  However, the Syrian government is still taking active steps towards ensuring that precautionary measures are followed in public service facilities and universities. 

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Impact of Public Health Emergencies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights in the Arab Region

Publication

In the last decade the world has experienced many public health emergencies, similar to the current novel COVID19 pandemic (e.g. Ebola, MERS, Cholera, Polio and Zika epidemics). Demand on health care services continued during health emergencies including general health care such as Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), mental health services, immunization programs, as well as SRH services such as family planning (FP) and maternal health (MH)1,2. Although often overlooked, SRH is essential for sustainable development and women’s empowerment3. SRH is a basic human right, which has been captured in many international agreements such as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPDPoA), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially goal 3 on health and goal 5 on gender equality, as well as the commitments made during the World Humanitarian Summit (2016), to name a few. While these international conventions and treaties have been ratified by almost all countries and have called for giving more importance to reproductive health during crises, SRH is still not well prioritized at the level of other needs such as food, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), or shelter.

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Implications of COVID-19 Older Persons : Responding to the Pandemic

Publication

This technical brief was developed by the UNFPA Global Ageing Network to complement the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs' (UN DESA) Issue Brief: Older Persons and COVID-19, which emphasized the humanitarian imperative of addressing older persons' specific needs within preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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UNFPA COVID-19 Humanitarian Response Flash Update #3 - 23rd April - 07th May, 2020

Publication

As of 8th of May 2020, Syria reported a total of 47 COVID -19 confirmed cases: 15 active,  29 recovered and 3 registered deaths1 . Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Syria on March 23rd, the Government of Syria has introduced measures amid fears of a spike of the novel coronavirus. Movement restrictions between governorates, as well as a countrywide curfew from 19:30 until 06:00 are still in place in effort to minimize the risks of COVID-19 infections.  

 

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