The international community needs to get serious when it comes to its commitments to helping countries that host refugees, Jordan's prime minister said Thursday. With the second-highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world and struggling economic growth, the Levantine kingdom needs sustained support in order to keep up what it sees as a vital humanitarian mission.
"When certain countries look across their borders and see waves of refugees coming, they need to make a decision on opening their borders on a pure humanitarian basis, but they need to understand that there will be global support, and that it will not be subject to donor fatigue quickly," Prime Minister Omar Razzaz told CNBC's Hadley Gamble during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"Because the countries that are receiving the refugees are experiencing host country exhaustion, not fatigue. So we need a long term structure for helping countries like Jordan be able to help refugees invest in their own human capital, education, health and skills, and one day help them repatriate in their countries."
Jordan, long seen as an island of stability in a highly volatile neighborhood, has been hit hard economically by an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees since that country's civil war began in 2011, according to data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It also is home to some two million Palestinian refugees, many of whom have integrated into society, though several hundred thousand remain in refugee camps. Government estimates put the cost of absorbing Syria's refugees into Jordan at $10 billion.