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MPs probe UK aid to countries hosting refugees

17 June 2022

The International Development Committee is to hold an inquiry into UK support for countries which host large numbers of refugees. The focus will be on the case studies of Jordan and Lebanon, both of which have hosted large numbers of Palestinian refugees since 1948 and refugees from Syria for more than a decade.

Background

The number of people forced to flee conflict, violence, human rights violations and persecution has now crossed a milestone of 100 million for the first time on record, propelled by the war in Ukraine and other deadly conflicts, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

The UK funds programmes supporting host governments and host communities. However, some of this funding to the Middle East has already been cut since 2020 as part of the reduction in aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of UK national income. More reductions in aid to refugees may be coming.

For example, the government’s wide-ranging planning document on aid, the International Development Strategy, published last month, said that aid to multinational organisations (a definition that would include the UNHCR) is to be reduced as a proportion of overall aid.

In addition to this, the UK’s 2015 aid strategy committed to: providing assistance to countries in the middle east hosting Syrian refugees; stabilising the region; and tackling drivers of irregular migration. The International Development Strategy makes no such commitments.

Chair's comments

Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP said:

“It is depressing to know that, as it stands today, a 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes – mostly because of conflicts, but increasingly due to climate change. The U.K. has a proud history of supporting refugees, but what do we do to prevent the reasons they flee, or support them to return home?"

Submitting written evidence

The committee welcomes evidence to inform its inquiry from a wide range of people. These may include experts, stakeholders, government leaders and officials - but we welcome contributions from anyone with insights. In this instance we will be gathering written information until a deadline of 23.59 HRS on Friday 29 July 2022.

For information on how to submit written information to us, and how we then use that information, please see here. As well as taking written evidence the committee will hold question and answer sessions. These sessions will take place in public and will be announced in advance on our website.

Scope of the inquiry

The committee is particularly interested in receiving evidence addressing one or more of the following questions:

  • How should the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office adapt its assistance to the changing needs of refugees and host communities over the short, medium and long term?
  • What opportunities and support do refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon need (eg. access to sustainable livelihoods, healthcare, nutrition, education)?
  • What support do the authorities in Jordan and Lebanon need to ensure refugees’ long-term needs are met and where can the UK add the most value?
  • What challenges have arisen as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, or economic and political instability in Lebanon?
  • Does the UK fund the most appropriate actors to meet refugees’ needs (eg. multilateral organisations, International Non-Governmental Organisations, civil society organisations, local authorities)?
  • How can the UK work most effectively with international partners to maximise the impact of UK and international aid?
  • How has UK aid supported refugee populations in Jordan and Lebanon since 2015?
  • How effectively does the UK use its aid funding to combat the drivers of migration (including from conflict affected and fragile states)?

Further information

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