Helping Jordan Cope with Effects of Syrian Crisis

June 16, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Jordan today to announce that Canada will help Jordan cope with the tremendous burden it bears as a result of the civil war raging in neighbouring Syria.

“From economic to social to security questions, the challenges facing Jordan are monumental in scope,” said Baird. “Compassion for Syrians fleeing the death and destruction ravaging their homeland cannot be Jordan’s undoing.”

Canada will provide unprecedented support to Jordan of $100 million so it can continue to temporarily house the thousands of refugees streaming across its borders each day. Canada is also ensuring that Jordan’s own citizens have the basics they need.

“Canada remains committed to saving lives and addressing the most critical needs of those affected by the Syrian crisis,” said the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation. “Canada commends Jordan and Syria’s other neighbours for their generosity in welcoming those seeking safety within their borders.”

Today’s announcement of reliable funding for the next three years will, among other things, help protect Jordanians against chemical and biological weapons attacks, enhance security at Jordan’s sprawling refugee camps and help keep terrorists at bay.

Canada will continue to review the recent United Nations humanitarian appeals, with a view to delivering further humanitarian support for the people in Syria and in neighbouring countries who have been affected by the Syrian crisis.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Support of Jordan

Today’s announcement of $100 million is the latest in a series of announcements Canada has made in recognition of the immense pressures brought to bear by the influx of Syrian refugees over more than two years of civil war.

This latest Canadian support will help Jordan address its development challenges, which have only been compounded by regional political upheaval—and the stream of Syrian refugees in particular. Some $75 million over three years will promote skills development, employment creation, private-sector growth and quality service delivery. Today’s announcement provides a notional allocation in terms of funding. Specific projects will be considered on their merits in the weeks and months ahead.

Added to this development assistance, Canada is committing $25 million for security programming that will assist Jordanian authorities in managing the effects of the Syrian crisis.

Assisting Jordan in Addressing Security and the Influx of Refugees at Refugee Camps

Canada is providing equipment and vehicles to the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) to assist in their efforts to transport Syrian refugees from the border to registration centres. Canada will also provide equipment and infrastructure support to the Public Security Directorate (PSD), the Gendarmerie Forces (GF) and the Civil Defence Directorate, which provide security and other essential services within new and expanding refugee camps.

This support builds upon a previous Canadian contribution of $11.5 million to assist Jordanian authorities in managing the Syrian refugee crisis: $9.5 million in material support was provided to the JAF to respond to initial transportation needs of Syrian refugees coming across the border, and $2 million in material support was provided to the PSD and the GF in their efforts to manage security within Zaatari refugee camp. Today’s announcement will complement and build on previous contributions and will assist the Jordanian authorities, who are still struggling to meet urgent needs on the ground as thousands of Syrian refugees cross into Jordan daily.

Responding to the Threat of WMD Use or Release

Canada is providing critical equipment, infrastructure, technology and training to the JAF, the Civil Defence Directorate, the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries to mitigate vulnerabilities to Syrian weapons and materials of mass destruction (WMD). This will include personal protective equipment, WMD detection equipment, chemical and biological weapons diagnostic and laboratory equipment, crisis management support and related training.

This support builds upon a previous Canadian contribution, announced in December 2012, of $4.75 million to help enhance Jordan’s capacity to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. That contribution consisted of $1.65 million in personal protective equipment and detection equipment to guard against a potential chemical weapons or biological incident arising from Syria, $2 million to strengthen civilian capabilities to respond to an attack, and $1.1 million for the establishment of regional biological risk-management training at the Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Building Jordan’s Capacity to Fight Terrorism

Canada is a committed partner in the global fight against all forms of terrorism and violent extremism, including a number of negative forces currently operating inside Syria. Canadian officials will work with Jordanian authorities to enhance their capacity to run counterterrorism operations through the contribution of equipment and related training. These efforts will complement previous and ongoing initiatives funded by Canada to strengthen Jordan’s capacity to respond to terrorist activity, including programming to help counter the financing of terrorism.