Middle East

Operational information on the Middle East subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

| Bahrain | Iraq | Israel | Jordan |Kuwait | Lebanon | Oman | Qatar | Saudi Arabia| Syrian Arab Republic | United Arab Emirates | Yemen |


Subregion: Middle East


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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Middle East

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2018 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[1445.38803915,1767.45606157,1956.138243929,1911.753328647,2030.943688046,2243.50849637],"expenditure":[961.25416817,1099.48857212,1059.45956475,1212.9320557,1089.34285307,1127.37769918]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[1060.74997701,1071.29315117,1171.649811879,1074.174511887,1079.942153164,1120.2262255],"p2":[3.74482986,3.83262054,3.89799389,2.28713136,1.61649358,1.31344453],"p3":[27.30414868,39.59885527,35.76378805,26.70785472,146,259.2],"p4":[353.5890836,652.73143459,744.82665011,808.58383068,803.385041302,862.76882634]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[691.76318386,712.10525101,715.5914882,751.4589796,715.37560334,697.42488086],"p2":[1.35669238,3.0784008,2.16809421,1.48631248,0.96258046,0.86427745],"p3":[14.49497183,10.53576239,11.32961956,1.89021959,4.84129756,29.36963591],"p4":[253.6393201,373.76915792,330.37036278,458.09654403,368.16337171,399.71890496]}
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People of Concern - 2018

[["Refugees",2235702],["Refugee-like situation",16917],["Asylum-seekers",156099],["IDPs",10131470],["Returned IDPs",1078558],["Returned refugees",211013],["Stateless",370757],["Others of concern",12979]]
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Response in 2018

The Middle East sub-region continued to be characterized by multiple armed conflicts. In 2018, 10.5 million people were internally displaced from conflicts in Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Yemen; three of the largest humanitarian and displacement crises in the world. In addition, 7.2 million refugees and asylum-seekers were displaced in countries across the region and further abroad.
In Iraq, rays of hope for stabilization became more visible in 2018 as the Government continued to consolidate control over areas formerly held by terrorist groups. Despite such positive developments, the protection environment for civilians remained precarious due to continuing insecurity and extensive destruction caused by years of conflict. While efforts are underway for rehabilitation and reconstruction for Iraq, it has not been a smooth or fast-moving process. Despite 4.1 million IDPs returning home by the end of the year, some 1.8 million people remained internally displaced. Continued secondary displacement of returnees was prevalent given the high level of destruction and lack of access to services in many parts of the country. Protection challenges also remained, which could result in further displacement, inter‑communal violence and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Meanwhile, there were some 277,830 Iraqi refugees and asylum-seekers in neighbouring countries (Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt) at year end.
By the end of the year, some 6.2 million Syrians remained internally displaced and over 5.6 million refugees hosted in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and across North Africa. The situation inside Syria remained complex throughout 2018. Relative stability emerged in a number of areas, such as southern Syria, following the end of large-scale military operations. Against this backdrop, some 1.4 million internally displaced people to return to their area of origin in 2018 and some 210,950 refugees returned to Syria. Conversely, the security situation in other areas remained challenging, with large-scale internal displacement being reported throughout 2018, including in Idlib. Across the  country,  access  to  basic  services and  socio-economic  opportunities  remained  challenging,  particularly  in  areas  recovering from the impact of fighting. According to intention survey results, the majority want to return to Syria. However, concerns of safety and security, limited access to services, livelihoods opportunities and access to shelter among the main factors impacting decision-making.
Despite security and operational challenges, UNHCR and partners reached approximately 2.3 million people inside Syria with protection services, over 2 million people with core relief items and close to 457,000 people with emergency, long-term or permanent shelter support, including through cross-border interventions from Jordan and Turkey.
UNHCR’s refugee response in Middle East was designed in accordance with the Grand Bargain commitments and the principle of burden- and responsibility-sharing, which is at the core of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). UNHCR and UNDP continued to lead the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan in response to the Syria crisis (3RP), which is built around government-led national plans, cost-effective and innovative programming, and carried through a coalition of over 270 partners. In 2018, 3RP partners, in support of national efforts, reached over three million Syrian refugees and members of the host community with health and nutrition services, enrolled more than 1.2 million children in education, provided 2.6 million people with basic needs assistance, assisted more than 2.7 million people with food, and provided over 600,000 children with child protection and psycho-social support programmes.

In Yemen, some 22.2 million people – over three quarters of the country’s population – remained in need of humanitarian assistance, including 11.3 million people in acute need of urgent assistance. Fighting continued during 2018, escalating dramatically in late-May when frontlines in Al-Hudaydah began to advance towards the city’s edge. The blockade on importation of critical goods placed further strain on humanitarian response capacity. With clashes recorded across multiple governorates in 2018, a long-awaited ceasefire agreement concluded in December has yet to have the desired impact. While conflict continued to force people to flee their homes in 2018, an unexpected number of people attempted hazardous returns to their areas of origin.

Operations in Middle East in 2018

In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), UNHCR continued its advocacy and resource mobilization activities throughout 2018. The operating environment was challenged by currency fluctuations and regional political instability, due to the on-going conflict in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates saw significant increases in the number of asylum-seekers in 2018, rising from approximately 100 to over 2,000 in Saudi Arabia and from 2,500 to 6,500 in the United Arab Emirates, with Syria and Iraq the largest countries of origin, respectively.
In 2018, Qatar enacted a political asylum law following its accession to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The League of Arab States (LAS)’s development and adoption of the “Arab declaration on belonging and legal identity” was achieved following years of advocacy by UNHCR and partners to reduce the percentage of undocumented children across the region, and represents a significant commitment for the region towards addressing statelessness. The Declaration calls for all children to be able to enjoy their right to a legal identity, and reaffirmed the shared commitment of LAS Member States to promote gender equality in their nationality laws.

Operational Environment

The Middle East subregion continues to be characterized by armed conflict and the large-scale displacement followed by it. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) system-wide, Level 3 emergency declarations for Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Yemen remain in effect, with all three emergencies deteriorating further in 2017 – a trend that will likely continue into 2018.
In Iraq, the security and protection environment remains fluid, with serious protection risks for displaced Iraqis, IDP returnees and refugees. Despite the success in retaking Ninewa Governorate in August 2017, over 833,000 people remain displaced due to the Mosul crisis and are in need of protection and assistance. The country continues to face multiple humanitarian crises with the ongoing military operation in west Anbar Governorate and continued violence in disputed territories. Although there is an increased interest in returns, the protection environment for civilians remains precarious due to continuing security risks, extensive destruction of properties and critical infrastructure, fear of pro-government armed groups and risk of attacks for those perceived to have family affiliations with extremists. UNHCR will continue enhancing protection space in camps and urban settings, providing assistance to the vulnerable, and seeking solutions for all groups of concern.
In Israel, despite some limited forms of protection for Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers, the protection environment is anticipated to decline further, with the sustained implementation of policies and legislation intended to encourage departures.
Syria is the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis in the world today. The conflict is in its seventh year, with 6.15 million people internally displaced. Over 1.3 million people were newly displaced during the first half of 2017. A total of 13.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access remains critical. As of September 2017, more than 5.1 million Syrian refugees were registered in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Despite the fluid security situation in Syria, some areas of relative stability are emerging. An estimated 600,000 IDPs and more than 30,000 refugees spontaneously returned home in the first half of 2017. However, conditions for return in safety and dignity are not yet in place and UNHCR does not promote, nor facilitate, the return of refugees to Syria at this time. UNHCR is enhancing protection and assistance in Syria for those IDPs and refugees who may voluntarily and spontaneously return, as well as continuing its programmes for IDPs and those newly displaced.
In countries of asylum, the UNHCR-led Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) continues to be the regional coordination and planning tool to address the protection and resilience needs of Syrian refugees, in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In 2018, the 3RP will continue to focus on pursuing innovation and to encourage efficiency, while promoting synergies between resilience and humanitarian programming.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsened during the course of 2017, compounded by the threat of famine and a major outbreak of cholera. The pace of airstrikes and armed clashes escalated significantly, resulting in new displacement, scores of civilian casualties and an acute protection crisis.  
The continuous and deepening decline of Yemen’s economic situation, the disruption of basic services and destruction of infrastructure, has impacted civilians the most, with 20.7 million people now in need of humanitarian or protection assistance – an increase of almost 2 million since the end of 2016. Humanitarian access continued to be challenged by ongoing insecurity, delays and interferences in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In 2018, the situation in Yemen is expected to remain characterized as a protracted, complex emergency with unprecedented humanitarian needs.
Almost two million civilians remain internally displaced, 84 per cent of whom have been displaced for over a year. Some 950,000 IDPs returned to their locations of origin, sometimes under precarious conditions. UNHCR and partners observed increased protection needs, with more people than ever resorting to negative coping mechanisms, particularly amidst spreading food insecurity and ongoing conflict.
Yemen is also host to more than 280,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Somalia, and who are suffering from the escalation of the conflict, inadequate basic services and a shrinking economy that has weakened the protection environment. Despite war and insecurity that make conditions in Yemen not conducive to asylum, there were an estimated 60,000 new arrivals to Yemen during 2017. UNHCR is therefore engaged in widening the scope of a regional information campaign, to spread awareness about the risks of crossing from the Horn of Africa to and through war-stricken Yemen.
Within this context, UNHCR started implementing a programme to assist Somali refugees in Yemen voluntarily returning to Somalia, and in 2018 will continue to support refugees through this programme.
In the framework of the IDP response, UNHCR being a lead of Protection and Shelter/NFI/CCCM Clusters, will continue assisting all people of concern including IDPs, IDP returnees and members of the host community. UNHCR will continue leading the protection and multi-sector response for refugees and asylum-seekers in urban settings and in Kharaz refugee camp, with the aim of maintaining the current asylum space.

Response and Implementation

Operations in IraqIsraelJordanLebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen are presented in separate country chapters. For other countries where UNHCR operates in the subregion, please see below.

In the context of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries, UNHCR will work with Governments, national institutions and the private sector to expand asylum and protection space for people of concern, promote expanded multilateral engagement and carry out advocacy initiatives aimed at informing public discourse. In parallel, the Office will cooperate closely with civil-society organizations, through the Civil Society Network for Displacement, as well as regional organizations including the League of Arab States (LAS) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to explore areas of collaboration aimed at addressing displacement challenges in the region. 

2018 Budget and Expenditure in Middle East | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Iraq Budget
Israel Budget
Jordan Budget
Lebanon Budget
Saudi Arabia Regional Office Budget
Syrian Arab Republic Budget
Syrian Regional Refugee Coordination Office Budget
United Arab Emirates Budget
Yemen Budget
Regional activities Budget
Total Budget

2018 Voluntary Contributions to Middle East | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Middle East overall
Holy See 5,000000 5,000
Private donors in Brazil 76,947000 76,947
Private donors in Canada 0007,770 7,770
Private donors in Egypt 000304 304
Private donors in Kuwait 33,333008,826 42,160
Private donors in Lebanon 480036,416 36,464
Private donors in Oman 48001,164 1,212
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 0001,153 1,153
Private donors in Switzerland 000311,610 311,610
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 00049,513 49,513
Russian Federation 300,000000 300,000
Slovenia 00047,790 47,790
United States of America 0004,300,000 4,300,000
Middle East overall subtotal 415,377004,764,546 5,179,923
Belgium 1,165,5010284,4140 1,449,915
Canada 0003,396,226 3,396,226
China 1,164,667000 1,164,667
European Union 97,307000 97,307
Finland 0001,851,852 1,851,852
France 987,2240250,0000 1,237,224
Germany 13,636,364020,255,6820 33,892,045
Japan 4,000,088015,000,0000 19,000,088
Kuwait 7,390,0000050,000 7,440,000
Liechtenstein 00101,5230 101,523
Luxembourg 000523,013 523,013
Private donors in Brazil 003,1590 3,159
Private donors in Italy 009070 907
Private donors in Qatar 002,100,3030 2,100,303
Private donors in Sweden 00050,225 50,225
Private donors in Switzerland 00011,452 11,452
Qatar 003,000,0003,000,000 6,000,000
Republic of Korea 0001,200,000 1,200,000
Spain 00370,3720 370,372
Sweden 0001,776,650 1,776,650
Switzerland 001,016,2600 1,016,260
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 269,376000 269,376
United States of America 26,000,00000102,800,000 128,800,000
Iraq subtotal 54,710,526042,382,620114,659,418 211,752,564
UNAIDS 00050,000 50,000
Israel subtotal 00050,000 50,000
Australia 3,776,435000 3,776,435
Austria 184,049000 184,049
Belgium 1,592,122000 1,592,122
Canada 10,566,038000 10,566,038
Cyprus 11,377000 11,377
Czech Republic 1,895,735000 1,895,735
Denmark 350,663000 350,663
Estonia 41,816000 41,816
European Union 13,699,967000 13,699,967
France 1,897,944000 1,897,944
Germany 52,059,659000 52,059,659
Ireland 857,143000 857,143
Italy 1,990,489000 1,990,489
Japan 4,700,000000 4,700,000
Netherlands 5,780,346000 5,780,346
Norway 5,952,776000 5,952,776
Private donors in Australia 316,598000 316,598
Private donors in Canada 46,548000 46,548
Private donors in China 637000 637
Private donors in Egypt 4,625000 4,625
Private donors in Germany 00022,753 22,753
Private donors in Italy 59,012000 59,012
Private donors in Kuwait 22,678000 22,678
Private donors in Lebanon 225,3710035,066 260,437
Private donors in Oman 13,218003,815 17,033
Private donors in Qatar 5,000,448000 5,000,448
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 15,727008,796 24,523
Private donors in Spain 12,270000 12,270
Private donors in Switzerland 376,820000 376,820
Private donors in the Netherlands 2,734,500000 2,734,500
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 478,810000 478,810
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 6,684000 6,684
Private donors in the United States of America 1,230,050000 1,230,050
Saudi Arabia 90,694000 90,694
Spain 41,411000 41,411
Switzerland 0001,016,260 1,016,260
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 423,720000 423,720
United States of America 80,456,175003,000,000 83,456,175
Jordan subtotal 196,912,555004,086,690 200,999,245
Australia 4,526,600000 4,526,600
Belgium 1,592,122000 1,592,122
Canada 13,584,906000 13,584,906
Cyprus 22,753000 22,753
Estonia 47,790000 47,790
European Union 22,467,198000 22,467,198
France 2,822,880000 2,822,880
Germany 53,053,977000 53,053,977
Italy 3,726,708000 3,726,708
Japan 2,500,000000 2,500,000
Monaco 118,483000 118,483
Netherlands 6,431,277000 6,431,277
Norway 10,143,773000 10,143,773
Private donors in China 6,372000 6,372
Private donors in Egypt 2,57700844 3,421
Private donors in Germany 117,925000 117,925
Private donors in Indonesia 400,000000 400,000
Private donors in Italy 175,1530070 175,223
Private donors in Kuwait 547,7590014,996 562,755
Private donors in Lebanon 194,632000 194,632
Private donors in Oman 2,630001,806 4,436
Private donors in Qatar 5,004,648000 5,004,648
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 17,8230018,569 36,391
Private donors in Singapore 3,750000 3,750
Private donors in Spain 3,472000 3,472
Private donors in Switzerland 956,390001,506 957,896
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 59,6360010,093 69,729
Private donors in the United States of America 67,9000014,641 82,541
Republic of Korea 1,000,000000 1,000,000
Saudi Arabia 3,604,516000 3,604,516
Slovakia 000113,766 113,766
Spain 2,862,218000 2,862,218
Switzerland 1,648,260000 1,648,260
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1,804,020000 1,804,020
United States of America 138,185,600002,600,000 140,785,600
Lebanon subtotal 277,703,748002,776,290 280,480,038
Regional activities
Italy 118,230000 118,230
Regional activities subtotal 118,230000 118,230
Saudi Arabia Regional Office
Kuwait 00039,490 39,490
Saudi Arabia Regional Office subtotal 00039,490 39,490
Syrian Arab Republic
Belgium 1,165,501000 1,165,501
Bulgaria 0092,0250 92,025
Canada 007,473,8420 7,473,842
Common Humanitarian Fund Sudan 006,525,5920 6,525,592
European Union 004,705,1280 4,705,128
Finland 001,234,5680 1,234,568
France 000580,720 580,720
Germany 00024,864,592 24,864,592
Italy 00478,1500 478,150
Japan 004,341,8691,040,000 5,381,869
Lithuania 00047,574 47,574
Norway 006,376,7385,120,877 11,497,614
OPEC Fund for International Development 0500,00000 500,000
Private donors in Austria 0001,394 1,394
Private donors in Germany 000144,718 144,718
Private donors in Italy 00012,077 12,077
Private donors in Qatar 001,302,9070 1,302,907
Private donors in Switzerland 007560 756
Private donors in the Netherlands 001,179,6550 1,179,655
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 00120,375102,230 222,605
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 007,0520 7,052
Private donors in the United States of America 0001,000,000 1,000,000
Republic of Korea 0001,000,000 1,000,000
Russian Federation 00500,0000 500,000
Saudi Arabia 005,000,0000 5,000,000
Spain 0081,8710 81,871
Sweden 003,172,5890 3,172,589
Switzerland 001,016,2600 1,016,260
UNICEF 0096,8620 96,862
United States of America 6,200,000072,800,00032,300,000 111,300,000
Syrian Arab Republic subtotal 7,365,501500,000116,506,23866,214,181 190,585,921
Syrian Regional Refugee Coordination Office
Common Humanitarian Fund Sudan 003,701,8740 3,701,874
European Union 001,122,3780 1,122,378
Germany 0002,124,044 2,124,044
Japan 001,598,1310 1,598,131
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 160,500000 160,500
United States of America 001,500,0005,000,000 6,500,000
Syrian Regional Refugee Coordination Office subtotal 160,50007,922,3837,124,044 15,206,927
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates 000100,000 100,000
United Arab Emirates subtotal 000100,000 100,000
Canada 0001,178,319 1,178,319
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) 005,970,5990 5,970,599
Common Humanitarian Fund Sudan 2,403,50104,345,5050 6,749,007
European Union 003,496,5030 3,496,503
Finland 0001,234,568 1,234,568
France 0001,296,864 1,296,864
Japan 1,972,29504,527,7050 6,500,000
Kuwait 007,000,0000 7,000,000
Private donors in Germany 000549,916 549,916
Private donors in Lebanon 0001,483 1,483
Private donors in Oman 000300 300
Private donors in Qatar 000543,949 543,949
Private donors in Saudi Arabia 000465 465
Private donors in Singapore 0015,6710 15,671
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 000746 746
Private donors in the United States of America 00600,010171,405 771,415
Republic of Korea 250,000000 250,000
Saudi Arabia 7,425,000027,992,1190 35,417,119
Slovakia 00236,9670 236,967
Sweden 0002,538,071 2,538,071
Switzerland 0001,016,260 1,016,260
United Arab Emirates 7,425,000023,336,1200 30,761,120
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 2,677,87704,669,4930 7,347,370
United States of America 00013,900,000 13,900,000
Yemen subtotal 22,153,673082,190,69222,432,345 126,776,711
Total 559,540,110500,000249,001,933222,247,005 1,031,289,048
Latest contributions
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