Regional Development and Protection Program (RDPP)

The conflict in Syria has forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians to seek refuge in neighboring countries, confronting the concerned governments, host communities, and the refugees themselves with tremendous challenges. Switzerland, first by the Secretariat for Migration and now by SDC, supports Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to address these challenges and mitigate the impact of forced displacement on host communities through a combination of protection with livelihood approaches. SDC is well positioned to further the labor market integration of refugees and other vulnerable migrants due to its long-standing experience on labor migration issues in the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
MENA Regional
Human rights
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Protection, access & security
01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021
CHF  5’000’000

As the duration of the displacement due to the Syria crisis lengthens and becomes increasingly protracted, the depletion of refugees’ resources over time requires a mix of approaches, combining humanitarian with longer-term development responses (the so-called “nexus” approach). Social cohesion in displacement affected communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq is slowly eroding due to a perceived competition for jobs and services and a deterioration of work conditions for everyone. The negative trends in social cohesion, use of negative coping mechanisms and general negative policy environment lead to additional protection needs. The refugee crisis has accentuated pre-existing structural deficiencies and compromised prospects for stability, peace and prosperity in the region.

Supporting capacities and addressing the needs of vulnerable population groups are challenging tasks, both for national actors and the international community. There is no quick-fix for the complex situation, and innovative and flexible approaches are direly needed.


The strategic objective is to ensure (i) that refugees, other migrants and host populations living in displacement-affected communities access their rights, are safe and self-reliant, and (ii) that refugees and other migrants in Jordan, Lebanon and Northern Iraq are able to avail themselves of a durable solution. 

RDPP contributes to the prevention of secondary refugee movements within and from the Middle

Target groups

Target groups are Syrian refugees, other migrants (refugees from other countries in the region, internally displaced persons, and vulnerable economic migrants), and vulnerable host communities. A focus will be on urban refugees, which are estimated to comprise 80-90% of Syrians in Jordan and Lebanon.

Taking into account human rights based principles, women and youth will be targeted as sub-groups with a focus on migrant domestic workers, refugee women, rural women and women belonging to ethnic minorities. On youth, the focus will be on economically disenfranchised groups. Regarding countries, RDPP will focus on Jordan, Lebanon, and Northern Iraq.

Medium-term outcomes
  1.  Improvement of access to safe and sustainable livelihood opportunities for displacement-affected populations, in support of durable solutions.
  2. Expansion of protection space for vulnerable refugees and host communities.
  3. Creation of a more conducive environment for durable solutions.

GPMD will make sure that the experiences and good practices generated through the program will be fed into consultative processes in the region (Abu Dhabi Dialogue) and beyond (IGAD-facilitated migration dialogue, Global Forum on Migration and Development). It will also facilitate and support the replication of promising innovative initiatives and interventions in other world regions (Horn of Africa).


Expected results:  

Output 1.1: Transferable employability skills of displacement affected population are enhanced.

Output 1.2: Capacity of national partners to create jobs and mainstream decent work is improved.

Output 2.1: Capacity of national actors enabling vulnerable rights holders to enjoy rights and access protection services is enhanced.

Output 2.2: Social cohesion is improved and tensions in displacement affected communities are reduced.

Output 3.1: High quality and relevant research is used by stakeholders

Output 3.2: Policies and programming towards durable solutions is informed by evidence-based advocacy on different levels.

Results from previous phases:  

SEM has co-financed the Swiss contribution to RDPP’s Phase 1, which an evaluation has found to be very relevant to the context. SEM is not able to further co-finance RDPP due to budget constraints and a change of the program’s thematic focus. SEM welcomes GPMD’s funding of a second phase of the program.

RDPP hit the right momentum for an engagement on protracted displacement in the Middle East that combines humanitarian with longer-term development approaches. Jordan’s partial opening of its labor market allowed RDPP to fully capitalize on the changed policy environment. Among other things, 56 business partnerships involving both Syrian and Jordanian nationals were initiated in phase 1. The second phase will build on these partnerships to further the integration of refugees in local labor markets.

In line with the new Swiss Strategy for the Middle East 2019-2022, a localization of project implementation is foreseen in phase 2. Switzerland’s value-added in this program concerns the longstanding experience of the GPMD in working on labor migration issues in the Middle East, and Switzerland’s unique comprehensive approach to migration.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North

Other partners
Governments, private sector, unions, migrants’ organizations, civil society.
Coordination with other projects and actors

Projects: GPMD’s Decent Work for Migrants ME and SA; KNOMAD

Actors: SEM, AMS, other SDC entities (HH, South Cooperation, etc.); Denmark, EU, Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, Ireland.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’500’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.12.2018 - 31.12.2021   (Current phase)