In an exceptional response to the ongoing crisis In Syria, the Republic of Armenia in the past seven years has offered protection to an estimated 22,000 Syrian Armenians, including access to nationality prior to their departure from Syria. This response was also characterised by a strong focus on full integration in the Armenian economy, on a par with resident citizens and the early integration of the displaced population in services provided through the state budget.
The report states that this approach seems to have been an effective choice for achieving refugee self-reliance, although its success has to be seen in the context of today's adverse economic climate in Armenia. The authors argue that state support, full access to rights, and well-thought-through donor and UN policies have facilitated the success of the approach, but a number of challenges remain, the main one of which is finding the ways to tap into the potential of the part of the displaced population that has not yet managed to create sustainable livelihoods.
The study presents a number of recommendations on future interventions including:
- Approach various sub-demographics among Syrian Armenians in tailored ways and ensure that their economic potential can be fully leveraged;
- Design and encourage innovative policies, financial instruments and concrete donor/government interventions to access affordable housing and finance:
- Address the psychological trauma of the refugees and loss of assets that are still owned by this population in Syria;
- Create opportunities for Syrian Armenians to transfer their valuable know-how and skills to the Armenian market;
- Use the experiences of the Armenian response in international policy and advocacy work on economic integration of refugees in other contexts.
This study was commissioned and funded within the framework of the “Private Sector Development South Caucasus” regional programme and the sector programmes for “Flight and Migration” implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).