AMMAN, 10th November, 2015 (WAM) — The head of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has said that the traditional response to crises of ‘relief first and development later’ is not tenable in a protracted crisis like Syria, where the conflict is now well into its fifth year, and urged all stakeholders to be engaged at the earliest stage in restoring basic services and supporting livelihoods.

“The nature, scale, and length of the crisis means that developmental responses which aim to build the resilience of people and communities are needed alongside humanitarian responses,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in her opening speech, ‘Resilience-based Approaches to the Syria Crisis,’ to the two-day Resilience Development Forum, convened by UNDP and hosted by the Government of Jordan on the shores of the Dead Sea.

“A resilience-based approach to the Syria crisis will also hold important lessons for responding to crises elsewhere – including in Yemen, Libya, and beyond,” Miss Clark told the forum.

Her agency brought together key humanitarian and development stakeholders, including UN agencies, international financial institutions, donors, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector alongside senior representatives of governments in the immediate sub-region affected by the situation, to collectively consider a new vision of the response to the protracted crisis.

Also attending the forum was UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, whose agency has reported that Syrians made up more than half of the 788,007 refugees and migrants who crossed the Mediterranean for so far this year.

“The insecurity generated by the crisis has reversed years of development gains in Syria, and made it harder for the neighbours most impacted to move ahead,” Miss Clark noted.

With 13.5 million people in urgent need of assistance inside Syria, four out of five Syrians are living below the poverty line, 6.5 million people are displaced inside Syria, and more than 4 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.