Yesterday, The Guardian and Refugees Deeply published articles looking at the progress being made in implementation of the Jordan Compact (an international aid agreement under which Jordan has been offered concessional loans and preferential trade terms in return for opening its labour market to Syrian refugees), as the push to provide jobs for refugees confronts reality in Jordan and Lebanon.
In October 2015, Foreign Affairs published an article by Professor Alexander Betts (then RSC Director) and Professor Sir Paul Collier (of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government) proposing a new approach to the Syrian refugee crisis: the establishment of special economic zones in Jordan where displaced Syrians could work. This approach, they argued, could provide Syrians with jobs, education and autonomy while advancing host-country development. The idea gained political traction, and the Jordan Compact was agreed in 2016.
As Betts comments in the articles, in practice the Jordan Compact has had a ‘mixed record’. “I think the achievements in Jordan are positive albeit that they haven’t yet reached the initial targets,” he says. “And I think it’s an extraordinary pilot from which there will be many lessons about how to engage business, about how to create jobs for refugees and it’s having an impact on policymaking around the world.”
Read the articles here:
The Guardian – Can Jordan get a million Syrians into work?
Refugees Deeply – The Compact Experiment: Push for refugee jobs confronts reality of Jordan and Lebanon
Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error
Jordan’s refugee experiment: a new model for helping the displaced in Jordan
Help refugees help themselves: let displaced Syrians join the labor market