Ambassador Joachim Rücker, Special Representative of the Federal Government for the Middle East Stability Partnership, issued the following statement today (12 December) prior to his departure for Jordan:
Jordan is facing enormous challenges with the Syrian refugee crisis – for its economy and, above all, for cohesion in the country. Over 650,000 Syrian refugees are registered in the country with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Jordan is tackling this challenge and is undertaking immense efforts that deserve our greatest respect. We too are offering our active support as one of the largest donors. For us, it is important to open up prospects for refugees and Jordanians alike. Alongside humanitarian assistance, we are therefore especially committed to education, training and employment.
At the beginning of this year, we agreed to the so-called Jordan Compact at the London conference on Syria – an important agreement whose implementation is in full swing. Jordan has opened up its employment market and has provided around 34,000 work permits for Syrian refugees to date. With Germany’s support, the Jordanian Government has increased the number of schools operating double shifts to two hundred. This is enabling a further 50,000 Syrian refugee children to gain access to schooling. We are also doing our part to build and extend schools and want to offer all children, be they Syrian or Jordanian, a good education with the help of UNICEF’s No Lost Generation programme.
However, is is also important to consider the Jordanian host communities offering the refugees protection. The people there need our support. With the Middle East Employment Offensive that we launched at the London conference on Syria, some 11,046 people have been given at least temporary employment in Jordan alone – as teachers, on construction sites and in the recycling industry. Over 52,000 job opportunities have been created throughout the region. We are also promoting cooperative partnerships between German municipalities and Jordanian communities. Moreover, we have lobbied hard for trade liberalisation measures at EU level to ensure that Jordan is in a stronger position economically – an important step that will create more jobs for Jordanians and, by extension, also for Syrian refugees.
We want to help people to have more confidence in the future. It is important in this regard that companies in Jordan seize the opportunities that arise from facilitated access to the EU internal market.
Talks with representatives from the Jordanian Government and various UN and non-governmental organisations, as well as a visit to aid projects for Syrian refugees, including the Zataari refugee camp and a Cash-for-Work project in the area of waste disposal and recycling, are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday (13 and 14 December).
During his visit to the region, Ambassador Rücker intends to gain a first-hand impression of the Syrian refugees’ living conditions, take stock of the implementation of the Jordan Compact agreed at the London conference on Syria and hold discussions with partners on the ongoing support measures.
Germany is the second-largest bilateral donor in Jordan and the second-biggest donor of the UN’s regional aid programme supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan, too.