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From Slow Boil to Breaking Point: A Real-Time Evaluation of UNHCR’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Emergency

Focusing on Jordan, Lebanon and Northern Iraq


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About this resource

Resource type:Evaluation reports
Keywords:Conflict, violence & peace, Development & humanitarian aid, Protection, human rights & security, Refugees/IDPs, Working in conflict setting
Countries:Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria
Agency:UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Author(s):Crisp, J., Garras, G., McAvoy, J., Schenkenberg, E., Speigel, P. and Voon, F.
Date published:July 2013

In March 2013, UNHCR announced that the number of refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict had reached the one million mark. Since that time, the refugee exodus has continued, the largest numbers of people fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.

Responding to this emergency, the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations (AHCO) requested the Policy Development and Evaluation Service (PDES), to lead a real-time review of UNHCR's response to this refugee emergency, focusing on Jordan, Lebanon and Northern Iraq. In addition to UNHCR staff, two non-government organization (NGO) consortia (ICVA and InterAction) were invited to join the review team.

This report provides a concise summary of the findings and recommendations of the real-time review, based on an 11-day mission to the field in May and June 2013. The review was undertaken in accordance with UNHCR’s evaluation policy and real-time evaluation guidelines. The major constraint confronting the review was the limited amount of time spent in the field in relation to the scale and complexity of the emergency operation. While the team was able to visit Northern Iraq it was not possible for security reasons to visit Baghdad or other parts of the country.

Prior to the publication of this report, the review team provided briefings to senior UNHCR management, as well as the NGO, UN and donor state communities. The review team also prepared a separate paper which was used to structure and inform a one-day strategic planning meeting involving all UNHCR Representatives in the region.

Related resources

Beyond Humanitarian Assistance? UNHCR and the Response to Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, January 2013 – April 2014

Independent Programme Evaluation (IPE) of UNHCR’s Response to the Refugee Influx in Lebanon and Jordan

Evaluation reports


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